Fundraiser makes a splash
Raising a glass to celebrate among friends and family is a long-standing and nearly universal practice, one that the Vineyard House will continue this Friday, July 17, at the 12th Annual Water Tasting by the Sea. Guests will be toasting to create awareness of something that is equally universal: ongoing recovery from addiction.
Founded in 1997, the primary goal of Vineyard House is to provide sober housing for local community members who are in the early stages of recovery from substance abuse. The Vineyard House is the transition for recovering addicts from medical detoxification settings back into everyday life, and provides them with a stable and supportive environment that is essential during the initial period of their recovery.
Currently the Vineyard House is comprised of three houses that offer residency for 6 to 18 months. In return, residents of the Vineyard House must be committed to becoming sober. Every resident is required to take part in the 12-step program, they must be employed, and they must be actively engaged in the successful recovery of everyone in the Vineyard House community.
The goal of Vineyard House is to keep rent low to minimize stress on its residents, and this is where fundraising events come into play. "Residents pay rent," says Dawn Bellante-Holand, Vineyard House vice president, "and this helps them build responsibility and learn to make their way back into the community."
The Annual Water Tasting by the Sea was started in 1997 as a fun and sober event that brings the local community together to celebrate and become involved in the work of the Vineyard House while raising capital to cover operational costs. It has become a popular community-focused event.
"This is the only event we currently have scheduled to raise the money we need to cover most of the operational costs of the three sober houses we run on Martha's Vineyard," says Ms. Bellante-Holand. "Most people want to help, and this event gives everyone in the community a chance to support us."
This year the event will take place in Chilmark at the Captain R. Flanders House, a beautiful farmstead with rolling pastures on North Road. It was built by the whaling captain Richard Flanders in the 1700s.
Eco MV, a locally-based company that distributes eco-friendly and fair-trade products on the Vineyard, is the principle sponsor. "Everything that we provide for the event, from cups and plates to the water for the tasting, is biodegradable," says Nicole Landry, an intern at Eco MV. "Eco MV wants to get involved in community events to make them more eco-friendly and sustainable... and while we donate products for many different events, this is especially fitting because we sell water."