'Hungry for Hope' benefits Port City recovery center

Union Leader Correspondent
July 16. 2018 9:50PM
Renee Plummer and John Akar at a Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth event last summer. The business leaders are organizing Hungry for Hope, which is July 30. (KIMBERLEY HAAS FILE PHOTO)

Safe Harbor Recovery Center on Islington Street is keeping up with the demand for resources in Portsmouth, but funding is limited so local business owners are raising money for the organization. ((Courtesy Photo))

PORTSMOUTH — Two local business leaders dedicated to raising money for Safe Harbor Recovery Center on Islington Street say the services are needed in Portsmouth.

John Akar, co-owner of Cava Tapas and Wine Bar on Commercial Alley, and Renee Plummer, vice president of marketing at Two International Group, are planning a third annual Hungry for Hope event at One Harbour Place. It is scheduled for July 30.

The event raised $72,000 for Safe Harbor Recovery Center last year.

“There’s such little funding for these guys. This money pretty much makes it so they can keep their doors open,” Akar said last week. “We’ve been able to do renovations inside Safe Harbor. They have also been able to establish a work program.”

Plummer said Monday the center’s resources are in demand. When the Corpus Christi Parish St. James Catholic Church on Lafayette Road was demolished to build condos, a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group had nowhere to go and turned to the center for space.

Plummer noted there are meetings for people who suffer from nicotine addiction at the center as well.

“It’s not just about drugs,” Plummer said. “For us, it’s letting people know that Safe Harbor Recovery Center is there to help you.”

Heather Blumenfeld is the center’s director. She said they also have family support groups for people whose loved ones are struggling with substance abuse disorders.

There are meetings, yoga, art, meditation, private coaching and a computer area for people breaking free of the cycle of addiction at the center, Blumenfeld said.

Hungry for Hope is a way for neighbors to help neighbors, organizers said.

“The money goes back into programming so we are able to provide our members with some healthy hobbies,” Blumenfeld said. “We combine fellowship meetings with healthy activities.”

Akar said there are 24 restaurants, six craft breweries and six wine merchants participating in the event this year. People have donated items for auction, including a signed Tom Brady football jersey.

VIP tickets are $125 and allow for a 5:30 p.m. admission. General admission is at 6:30 p.m. and tickets cost $95.

For more information, visit www.hungryforhopeharvest.com.

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