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HOPE launches drive for $145K

MIDDLEBURY — For the second year in a row, Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects, commonly known as HOPE, has launched a special fund-raising campaign in order to meet the growing demand for services by Addison County residents still weathering tough economic times.
Jeanne Montross, executive director of HOPE, said her organization is seeking to raise $145,000 in donations and another $6,700 through special events — including a fashion show this fall to be called “Model Citizens.”
This year’s goal of $145,000 in donations is more ambitious than the roughly the $130,000 the agency raised last year. HOPE has routinely sent out a mailing soliciting small donations. But Montross explained that last year was the first time HOPE had launched a supplemental donation driven, an action taken in light of surging demands for food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities by a needy population that has yet to rebound from the recession.
“There is a lot more need out there right now, and it is going to be there for quite some time,” Montross said.
Montross is optimistic HOPE will be able to meet its fund-raising goal, thanks to some imaginative mailings, a series of creative events and an energetic board of directors with many new members who have recruited additional donors.
One of the more creative offerings will be “Model Citizens,” a fashion show at the Town Hall Theater on Nov. 20 that will see locals sporting clothes, jewelry and other accessories sold at area businesses.
“We are deep into the planning for that event, and we are hoping it brings in a lot of money,” said HOPE board member Andrea Solomon. “We want to come up with a signature event, and we hope this will be that signature event to get the community involved, which increases awareness.”
Montross and Solomon also want citizens to be aware that HOPE, which has a $1.16 million annual budget, has streamlined its operations substantially during the past few years.
“We have fewer (employees) and are seeing more people with need — bigger needs — and we need to raise money to bridge that gap,” Montross said. She added more people are being sent to HOPE in wake of recent cuts to state human services budgets.
HOPE, during the past two years, has reduced its services division by one full-time-equivalent position (to the current four full-timers).
Anyone interested in donating to the HOPE fund-raising campaign should call the agency at 388-3608.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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