GREENFIELD — Tickets for the fifth-annual Hops 4 Hope benefit sold out days before doors opened to the event.
Ticket-holders showed up early Saturday for the fifth-annual beer-tasting fundraiser benefiting the Hope House homeless shelter, filing into two lines to select their half-pint glasses to sample the suds of 12 area breweries.
The three-hour event raised some $20,000 through ticket sales and sponsorships, doubling the amount usually raised, said Hope House executive director Andrea Mallory. Event organizers began working in February to secure support for the event from businesses and organizations and to create more space for event-goers, adding an outdoor seating area between buildings at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Doubling the proceeds of Hops 4 Hope will go a long way toward closing a gap created by a loss of grant funding earlier this year, Mallory said.
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The organization’s biggest fundraiser became even more crucial to the shelter’s success this year after officials turned down $54,000 in federal grant funding in an effort to safely serve homeless families and children in Hancock, Henry, Rush and Shelby counties.
The Emergency Solutions Grant program, which historically made up 20 percent of the shelter’s $289,000 annual budget, this year changed its guidelines to prohibit safe houses from performing background checks on residents, officials said in May. Without background checks, Hope House officials can’t guarantee dangerous criminals won’t be staying at the shelter with families and children, they said. Leaders chose to give up the federal funding they’d depended on for 16 years to help keep the lights on, knowing they’d have to come up with the $54,000 on their own.
The proceeds will be used for operating costs and maintenance to the shelter typically covered by the Emergency Solutions Grant funding, said board member Jake Hughes.
Because of the space limitations of the exhibit hall at the fairgrounds, Mallory found herself having to turn away people hoping to buy tickets late last week. She and other Hope House board members already are planning to expand the space dedicated to Hops 4 Hope next year by adding an additional outdoor space, said board president Robb Farris.
While they know the beer tasting’s success is partly because of locals’ enthusiasm for unique brews, it is still encouraging to see so many people getting behind the Hope House’s cause, he said.
More than 450 people filled the 4-H Exhibit Hall Building at the fairgrounds as beer enthusiasts came from across central Indiana to try the ales and IPAs concocted by Indiana breweries.
Those who attended have noticed the fundraiser’s growth, both in the number of breweries represented and the scale of the event itself.
Franklin resident Joe Ping, who attended with his wife Sharla, enjoyed the extra space and the beer options, he said, sipping on an amber-colored brew at a tall pub table decorated with fresh sunflowers.
Two local caterers contributed the beer-friendly snacks at the event — Park Place Catering provided macaroni and cheese, meatballs and sliders, and Ty Hunt, director of Hancock Regional Hospital’s nutritional services, manned a table laden with cheese, crackers, meat and fruit appropriate for pairing with beer or wine.
Eric and Melissa Gray of Fishers appreciated the different food choices at the fundraiser event, Eric Gray said. They snagged slider-sized sandwiches from a waiter’s tray as the volunteer passed their pub table.
The couple, who enjoy trying unique beers from different Hoosier brewers, said supporting the Hope House is an added plus of the fundraiser.
Hops 4 Hope has become a favorite event for craft beer enthusiasts and brewers alike. Every year, many of the same breweries participate, ready to support the local shelter’s efforts.
Daniel and Leighanne Noah, owners of Wooden Bear Brewing Co., lugged coolers full of beer to the fairgrounds from their downtown Greenfield location. They brought three seasonal house beers, which led to many familiar faces getting in line for a sample, Leighanne Noah said.
She’s watched as the same people come back to the event each August, always bringing new friends along, to help grow the fundraiser’s impact on the Hope House homeless shelter.
“Every year, after the event is over, local folks come to the Bear for a kind of after party,” she said. “It’s nice to see those faces here — and there — year after year.”
The Hope House homeless shelter, 35 E. Pierson St., Greenfield, provides some 4,000 nights of shelter to families and children experiencing homelessness in Hancock, Shelby, Rush and Henry counties.
An on-site thrift store funds more than half of the shelter’s annual operating costs.
For more information, visit hancockhopehouse.org.