Hundreds turn out for Hungry for Hope in Portsmouth

Michael Buccieri, a server at Ristorante Massimo in Portsmouth, was handing out black mission figs with ricotta during the Hungry for Hope event Monday evening, Aug. 5, 2019, in Portsmouth.

PORTSMOUTH — Hundreds of people turned out Monday night to celebrate the recovery community and raise money to help people stay sober.

In its fourth year, Hungry for Hope was set to raise $100,000 for Safe Harbor Recovery Center on Islington Street in Portsmouth, according to event organizer John Akar. He is the co-owner of Cava Tapas & Wine Bar on Commercial Alley.

“We’re definitely on the right track. I don’t want to jinx anything but I can say that as of right now, because what has been donated prior to even being here, we’ve beaten last year,” Akar said as participants milled around trying different food and drinks from 25 different restaurants, six local wine vendors and seven local breweries.

Last year, the event raised $76,000 for the recovery center.

Renee Plummer is the vice president of marketing at Two International Group. She also organizes the annual event and says this is an example of what people in New Hampshire do — put the community before themselves.

Many of the restaurants that had tables at the event are in the height of their busy summer season, Plummer said.

“People, if they want to come to New Hampshire, if they want to come to Portsmouth, they better understand community before they get here,” Plummer said.

“Don’t you dare think of yourself first in the Granite State. It doesn’t work.”

Portsmouth Mayor Jack Blalock was in the crowd. He owns Old Ferry Landing.

Blalock said addiction doesn’t affect just people in the restaurant industry, but he was happy to see so many restaurants helping to raise money for local people in recovery.

“It makes me very proud,” Blalock said. “It’s a community problem. It affects every industry.”

Every year, Safe Harbor Recovery Center works with about 4,000 people as they try to rebound from addiction.

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