PORTSMOUTH — The goal of this year’s Hungry for Hope event in Portsmouth is to raise $100,000 for Safe Harbor Recovery Center on Islington Street.
Celebrating its fourth year, Hungry for Hope is the brainchild of John Akar, co-owner of Cava Tapas & Wine Bar on Commercial Alley, and Renee Plummer, vice president of marketing at Two International Group. Last year, they were able to raise $76,000 for the center, which provides programming and support for people who struggle with alcohol and/or drug abuse.
Akar said last week that the funds collected last year helped Safe Harbor with its work program, which helps prepare people in recovery to re-enter the workforce after treatment.
This year, Akar is hoping to raise enough money to help people get into sober living facilities.
“When people are in recovery, they’ll reach out and want to get sober, and they need to get into a sober house. They’re not cheap,” Akar said.
Heather Blumenfeld is Safe Harbor’s director. She said the money raised at Hungry for Hope is critical to Safe Harbor’s mission. Annually, the organization works with about 4,000 people.
“Every year, state funding has been cut little by little,” Blumenfeld said. “The support from Hungry for Hope, and its incredible community support, has been really crucial to the programming we’ve been able to provide.”
Blumenfeld explained why money to help people afford sober housing is so important.
“Twenty-eight days in a treatment center is not long enough, but these sober houses provide accountability with peers,” Blumenfeld said. “Most people in recovery don’t have the support of their family and they don’t have healthy friends they can rely on. Having a safe roof over your head is critical to recovery.”
There are 15 sober living facilities in the state, including two for men in Dover and two for women in Somersworth, Blumenfeld said.
Hungry for Hope will take place Aug. 5 at 1 Harbour Place. Food will be provided by up to 20 local restaurants.
General admission is $95 and VIP tickets are $150. Tickets can be purchased at hungryforhopeharvest.com.