Dining Out for Life food truck pop-up returns Thursday

Food trucks line Locust Street at last year's ActionAIDS Dining Out for Life pop-up. (Image courtesy of Laura Weber)

Food trucks line Locust Street at last year's ActionAIDS Dining Out for Life pop-up. (Image courtesy of Laura Weber)

There are more ways than ever for Philadelphians to support Dining Out for Life Thursday. The daylong fundraising event begins with a food truck pop-up on Locust Street in Midtown Village.

Thursday is shaping up to be a banner day for Philadelphia’s Dining Out for Life as the fourth annual Food Truck Pop Up kicks off at 11 a.m.

More than 8,000 people say they plan to attend, according to the official Facebook invite, and 15 trucks are ready to burn and turn through the hungry crowds.

Julie Crist and The Tot Cart will be among the fleet catering to the crowd. And while it’s Crist’s first year participating in Dining Out for Life, it’s her third year in business. She knows exactly the kind of demand that awaits her on Thursday.

“I love big crowds like this,” Crist said. “It’s a great visibility, and just for that many people to be interested and support ActionAIDS is an amazing thing.”

ActionAIDS was founded in Philadelphia in 1986 and is committed to creating an AIDS-free generation.

Crist and her crew will begin prepping Monday.  They’ll spend the next three days making the beer cheese for their bacon-and-cheese-topped tots — a fan favorite at past events.

In addition to the Tot Cart, other food trucks in the Philly Mobile Food Association will be taking part in Thursday’s event. They include Chef Johnny Bravo’s Surf n Turf;  Chewy’s; The Cow and the Curd; Cupcake Carnivale; Farm Truck; Foolish Waffles; GiGi & Big R Soul/Caribbean Food Truck Philly; Mac Mart; Mama’s Meatballs; Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart; Nomad Pizza; Oink and Moo BBQ; Phoebes BBQ; and Surf n Turf Truck.

At minimum, each vendor will donate 33 percent of the afternoon’s sales to Dining Out and ActionAIDS. Crist is planning to give a little bit more.

“We’re also gonna have an ActionAIDS tip jar, so any tips that get collected will get donated as well,” she said.

Believe it or not, Philadelphians have been “Dining Out for Life” for 26 years. The culinary effort ActionAIDS began in the city in 1990 has now expanded to more than 60 cities across the country and in Canada. 

Proceeds from Thurday’s events will go to fund HIV/AIDS services in the tri-state area. Last year’s efforts in Philadelphia alone raised over $200,000.

More than 200 restaurants in the region also will be participating Thursday in Dining Out for Life. And each of those restaurants will donate at least 33 percent of its profits to the Philadelphia-based cause.

ActionAIDS and Dining Out have also partnered with Yards Brewing Company this year to create an ActionIPA, said Sarah DeLaurentis, ActionAIDS director of development and communications.

“Benefits from a sale of Action IPA, for the month of April, actually come back to us the entire month,” she said.

Check out the Dining Out for Life website to find participating restaurants and those carrying ActionIPA during April.

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