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Racines is a Dining Out for Life lifer!

Start counting your pennies -- and your calories. Dining Out for Life is a week from today, and you'll definitely want to dine out early and often on Thursday, April 25.

Over 300 Denver area restaurants will be participating in Dining Out for Life, an annual fundraiser for Project Angel Heart that raises almost 15 percent of the annual budget for this organization, which provides life-sustaining meals for Coloradans suffering from illnesses. Each of those restaurants will donate 25 percent of the day's food sales to the cause. It's a massive effort, and quite a contrast to how the event started two decades ago. See also: - Racines Vietnamese vegetarian sandwich hits the lunchtime spot - Chef and Tell with Mike Adams of Racines - Second Helping: Racines

Racines, which will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary on December 27, 2013, has been working with Project Angel Heart from the beginning. "We gave them their first pan of lasagna, with salad and bread," remembers co-owner Lee Goodfriend. "It may not have been the healthiest, but that's how they got started."

Racines donated food once a month for a couple of years, until Project Angel Heart got its own kitchen and Dining Out for Life became a major fundraiser for the organization. Racines signed on for the first event, and its late siblings, Goodfriends and Dixons, also always participated. "People like it, and it's good for the community," Goodfriend says. "It's good for Racines, too."

The restaurant, which moved into its new building at 650 Sherman Street almost a decade ago, is already anticipating big groups booking tables on April 25 -- offices coming over for breakfast and lunch meetings, friends supporting the cause later in the day. "It's important to them," Goodfriend says. "We do a lot of business, so it's thousands of dollars. It's nice to know when you're eating out that a lot of it goes to charity."

Where will you be eating during Dining Out for Life? Post your suggestions below. And for a complete list of those participating in this year's event, go to the Project Angel Heart website.