Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


April 15, 2014

Folks attend weekend fundraiser for H.O.P.E.

JACKSONVILLE — It was an evening fit for royalty, as supporters of the Helping Others Pursue Enrichment (H.O.P.E.) program gathered Saturday at The Castle on the Lake outside Jacksonville for “A Renaissance Evening.”

Those in attendance feasted on fine food, danced and bid on auction times to help raise funds for the Cherokee County entity operates as a clearing house of services for those in need.

John Ross, a longtime supporter of the program, said getting "a bunch of people together to have a good time" is a positive way to raise funds and awareness for H.O.P.E.

Ross, of Jacksonville, has attended several fundraisers at The Castle, describing the program as “a great thing for the community.

“They certainly fill an increasing need in the community,” he said.

Launched by the Jacksonville Ministerial Alliance in 1991 by ministers of the city's downtown churches – First United Methodist, Central Baptist and First Baptist – who decided that rather than continue providing help on a case-by-case basis, they would set up an umbrella program to address the needs of people who approached them.

Past board member Kathy Abbott remembers those days when she was the director of the Manna Food Pantry housed at First United Methodist Church.

As H.O.P.E. formed, FUMC leaders opted to move the pantry's base of operation to the new site because of the potential to help greater numbers of people, she said.

This was Abbott's first time to attend the Castle fundraiser, which is held on alternate years. She said she wanted to attend to show support for H.O.P.E.

“It amazes me how the community has come together (in support of H.O.P.E) – it shows that when you get the right people to work together, just what can happen,” she said.

H.O.P.E. executive director Allison Hale said the Renaissance evening drew a large crowd that packed the dining area outside.

“I think it's wonderful – a lot of people come out to support the community, and are having lots of fun with family and friends,” she said.

“What we raise tonight makes a large impact on our programs that provide food for people. It's a very widely supported fundraiser,” Hale said.

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