The fifth annual Tennessee Winter Beer Fest raised $20,000 for New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, the largest amount in the event’s five-year history.
Board members from TNWBF and New Hope gathered at the Casual Pint in Maryville to unveil the donation amount and present the contribution Thursday.
“Our mission is to support Tennessee craft beer, but also do it while supporting local charity,” said Rob Shomaker, one of the TNWBF board members.
The beer fest was held at The Carriage House in Townsend on Feb. 27 with 10 craft brewers and dinner catered by Ms. Lily’s Cafe. All of the event proceeds are donated to New Hope.
New Hope was founded in 2003, and is a child-friendly, safe place for child victims of sexual and physical abuse or trauma.
The center provides a place for legal, law enforcement and medical professionals to coordinate and deliver services so that each child only has to tell their story one time.
“Last year the center saw nearly 350 children. This year, before we even held the event on Feb. 27, they had already seen 100 children,” said Shomaker, who is also a board member for New Hope.
The amount of money that TNWBF raises has grown each year. The first year, the event raised $2,000.
In year two, the amount doubled to $4,000. It doubled again the next two years to reach $8,000 and $16,000. With all five years totaled together, the event has raised $50,000 for New Hope.
TNWBF has been limited to 300 tickets every year, but Shomaker said they have been able to increase the amount of money that is raised through sponsorships, donations and adding a silent auction.
“We have sold this thing out every year, and if I had another 100 tickets the day of, I could have sold them. Which is pretty cool,” he said.
Several local businesses donated money or supplies for the event. Some Townsend hotels, including the Talley Ho Inn, Townsend Gateway Inn, and the Highland Manor Inn donated 10 percent from the rooms booked for the fest back to TNWBF.
Patti Clevenger, president of the New Hope board of directors, said the donation is “huge.”
“When a child walks into our agency, there is no cost for that child, regardless,” she said. “With this, we’ll be able to serve more kids. We’ll be able to take care of them when they come. No matter what the amount is, it goes straight to the children of Blount County.”
Tabitha Damron, executive director of New Hope, expressed her gratitude to the TNWBF board for the donation.
“We don’t charge our clients for any of the services, including for therapy. Things like this allow us to continue to do that and serve more children,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
Shomaker said the TNWBF board plans to hold the event again, tentatively scheduled for late February 2017.