Homeward Bound event raises over $75,000 for homelessness

NASHUA – For eight consecutive years, the Anne Marie House, which provides a number of services for housing, meals, education, careers and support, has hosted Homeward Bound Food and Beverage Festival to raise funds for their programs.

This year the festival took place on Nov. 29 from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Radisson. Tickets were limited, and the cost was $75 per ticket. About 250 people attended. The festival works to bring awareness to the community of families that are in financially troubling situations. The goal of the night was to raise money to help those families. This was done through a series of auctions and donations. All funds, including the costs of tickets, went toward Family Promise of Greater Nashua, which is a program through the Anne Marie House. This event was not your typical auction. There were loads of local food chains and breweries and distilleries in attendance partnering for the event, along with games, raffles and music.

Beverage partners sharing their products included Flag Hill Wine & Distillery, Odd Fellows Brewing Company, Martha’s Exchange, Fabrizia Spirits, Zorvino Vineyards and Henniker Brewing Company. Food partners sharing their products included 110 Grill, Burtons Grill, Riverside Barbeque Co., Cupcakes 101, Hollis Country Kitchen, Fratello’s Italian Grille, The Homestead Restaurant and Tavern, Butter N’ Jam, Taj India, Shade Bar & Grille, Triolo’s Bakery and Odd Fellows.

There was also a number of sponsors including Rise Private Wealth Management, Kathleen Lambert with Experience Quality, Eastern Bank, Residential Mortgage Services, Berkshire Hathaway, the Radisson, DCU, NH Healthy Families and The Provident Bank.

Amy Freise, director of Development and Marketing for Family Promise of Greater Nashua at Anne Marie House, said although they don’t have the final amount of money raised, she knows they beat last year’s amount of $75,000.

This money will go toward Family Promise of Greater Nashua, which focuses on preserving families. Family Promise of Greater Nashua offers many services. According to their website, no family is left without resources.

“Families meet with our Family Services Director for an all-inclusive review of their employment, marital, housing, and health histories that may have contributed to their becoming homeless. Parents participate in weekly Financial Literacy classes that cover topics such as credit scores, budgeting and saving, reducing expenses, and housing options. Families also participate in Parenting Classes, which focus on children and teaches strategies for effective parenting and family unity,” the website noted.

Friese said over 85 percent of their program graduates never become homeless again. The program is one of three affiliates in the state.

Friese said the event was very successful and she received good feedback from many of the attendees. She also said it helped bring awareness to the struggles of those close to home.

“I think that because this Southern New Hampshire area has a relatively high employment rate, people don’t understand that the housing market is very tight,” Friese said.

She continued, “So our families are working, these are all working families, who end up homeless often through no fault of their own. It’s a hidden thing that people don’t always see, you could be sitting next to a homeless student in class, it could be the person who is checking you out at Market Basket. You don’t always know.”

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243 or gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.