‘Let your heart be lightened’: Fundraiser supports accessible mental health care

Hope House fundraiser helps provide accessible mental health care

By McKenzie Caldwell - [email protected]

Hope House Christian Counseling Center is holding its annual fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 7. As the community continues to experience the economic effects of COVID-19, Hope House Director Julie Seaman said that the fundraiser allows the counseling center to offer its services on a sliding pay scale.

“I think we’re just beginning to see the ripple effects [of COVID-19] as far as economics. I think it’s going to be a hard winter for people,” Seaman said. “Keeping our fees low and having funds available to help those who can’t afford the lowest is a really big deal for us.”

Seaman said Hope House’s board struggled with whether or not to hold its annual fundraiser due to COVID-19 but ultimately decided that the community could benefit from a sense of normalcy — and a fun evening.

“When Shawn [Reynolds] agreed that he could come, it was just for sure then. We thought, ‘Yes, we need to do ahead and have this and help people have an evening of fun and laughter,’” Seaman said. “Our theme this year is ‘let your heart be lightened.’”

Christian comedian Shawn Reynolds, who performed at Hope House’s 2019 fundraiser and who previously traveled with popular Christian comedian Tim Hawkins, will return this year.

The event will include a dinner and testimonies from those who have benefited from Hope House’s services.

Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on silent auction items, including primitive decorations, themed gift baskets, gift cards to local businesses, a 30-minute session with a professional photographer, and a smartwatch.

Hope House is still accepting donations for the silent auction. Those who would like to make a donation may drop items off at Hope House, located at 24 Water St. in Sinking Spring. Seaman said a Hope House representative can also pick up donated items if necessary.

Seaman said this year’s fundraiser will not include ticketed raffles.

Seaman said the fundraiser’s organizers are not requiring guests to wear masks, though she encouraged those who would like to wear a mask to do so.

Servers will wear masks. Tables will be socially distance, though there will be eight seated at each table.

“With everything that’s going on right now, it’s really tough for people,” Seaman said. “We just want people to know about Hope House, and that the funds generated by this fundraiser really do make an impact on our funds for the year. That way we can keep those fees lower and access more people.”

Fundraiser schedule:

5:30 p.m. — Doors open. Various appetizers will be available, and attendees may begin bidding on silent auction items.

6 p.m. — Dinner begins. Menu: pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, cheesy potatoes, coleslaw, assorted desserts, iced tea, water and coffee.

The fundraiser will be held at the Sinking Spring Community Center, 34 Grand St., Sinking Spring.

Hope House asks those interested in attending to RSVP by Oct. 30. Admission to the event is $25 per person, which can be paid with cash or check by dropping in at Hope House, 24 Water St., Sinking Spring, or at the door on the night of the event.

Those unable to attend the fundraiser event but still want to make a donation can drop a check off at Hope House or donate via PayPal at hopehouseccc.com. Donations may be put toward Hope House’s general fund or its pay-it-forward fund, which allows clients who are struggling financially to receive treatment.

Hope House only holds one fundraiser each year, which raises money to offset the counseling center’s operating costs and allows it to offer services on a sliding scale.

“There isn’t anyone we turn away because of financial problems,” Seaman said. “We don’t want to add to another burden in their life. You don’t want financial problems to add to what they’re going through already. They’re already in a state where they need someone to help navigate the waters. You don’t want to exacerbate that. We want to make it as easy as we can to seek that help that they need.”

Hope House’s counseling services range from $30 to $80 and depend on a client’s financial situation. In a previous interview, Hope House counselor Tiffany McCoy said that most clients fall on the lower end of the scale.

McCoy previously said Seaman founded Hope House after she realized the area’s need for more accessible counseling options. According to McCoy, Seaman sought mental health care herself and was billed over $100 for an initial appointment.

“Julie wanted an affordable place for Christian counseling,” McCoy said. “She felt like God laid it on her heart at that time to establish a place here in this area to be able to provide somewhere that has that reasonable price range for people to be able to get the help they need.”

Hope House offers five types of counseling: general, children’s, marital, grief and addiction. Though Hope House is a faith-based organization, its services are available to anyone regardless of their faith.

While Hope House does not receive money from insurance, it does provide patients with the materials they need to file claims for reimbursement.

For more information or to RSVP, call Hope House Christian Counseling Center at 937-588-4488.

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.

Hope House fundraiser helps provide accessible mental health care

By McKenzie Caldwell

[email protected]