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March 11. 2014 8:09PM

Souhegan Valley Chamber party will benefit Chaplain's Emergency Relief Fund

MILFORD — Though the party being hosted by the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce tonight is meant to be a good time, the event is about a lot more than just fun.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Harley Sanford Post 4368 VFW hall on Mont Vernon Street, the chamber will be hosting a "Party with a Purpose" to benefit the Chaplain's Emergency Relief Fund.

Tracy Hutchins, executive director of the chamber, said that each year for seven years, the chamber has held a benefit auction to raise money to support veterans and their families. The auction, which is held each April, helps those who served secure the resources they need to live healthy and happy lives.

But in the weeks leading up to the auction, the chamber has hosted a party to give those who can't attend the auction a chance to become aware of the issues facing members of the military and to raise money to help address those issues.

"This year, we partnered with the Chaplain's Emergency Relief Fund," said Hutchins. "What I love about the organization is that it's run by two active duty National Guard chaplains in New Hampshire, and when funds are donated there is no overhead so all of the money goes directly to veterans and active duty members of the military."

Hutchins said the Chaplain's Emergency Relief Fund gives grants to cover a wide range of needs, including helping families make ends meet while a parent is serving overseas and helping veterans pay for medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance. The chaplains who run the New Hampshire branch of the nonprofit agency aren't allowed to promote the organization, she said. Instead, they depend on others to spread the word. And 100 percent of the funds raised on behalf of the Chaplain's Emergency Relief Fund are raised through donations, she said.

"It's kind of a special thing," Hutchins said.

But for current members of the military as well as veterans, asking for help can be a difficult thing to do, even if there are groups like the Chaplain's Emergency Relief Fund there to give it.

"Most of the people who receive grants don't apply to the fund on their own," said Hutchins. "Someone applies on their behalf and then the chaplains reach out to the family or the individual."

In order to throw the party, the chamber connected with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which agreed to donate the space.

The "Party with a Purpose" will include food, a cash bar and a raffle featuring a Roku home entertainment system. Tickets for the event are $10 per person and can be purchased at the door. For more information, contact the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce at 673-4360 or email tracy@souhegan.net.


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