VNA Hospice NWI hosted its second annual Hops for Hospice on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at the Porter County Expo Center. Large crowds of excited Region residents lined up at the opening of Hops for Hospice at noon to support one of the VNA’s largest fundraising events of the year.
The event featured breweries from the Region and across the country, including well-known names such as Off Square Brewing, Bell’s Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing Company, 18th Street Brewing, Upland Brewing Company, and more. More than 80 beers were featured at the event and were accompanied by live music and food pairings, including food from Impulso Wood Fired Pizzas. All the vendors came together to support VNA’s mission of offering accessible, nonprofit hospice care throughout Northwest Indiana.
Admission for attendees included a free commemorative glass, unlimited tasting, and supported the VNA hospice program. Attendees could also purchase raffle tickets for many prizes, ranging from signed baseball memorabilia to grilling gift baskets to a Miller Lite branded bicycle. Beyond tasting festivities, VNA Hospice NWI and The Chesterton Brewery released a new beer: Best Haze Possible.
As one of the biggest events that VNA Hospice NWI hosts during the year, community members support the leading advocate of nonprofit hospice services, palliative care, and other senior care services in Northwest Indiana. Proceeds raised at Hops for Hospice will help fund the VNA’s hospice program which has provided compassionate end-of-life care to more than 15,000 patients and their families in our community.
President and CEO of VNA Hospice NWI, Bob Franko, was excited to host another successful year of Hops for Hospice. Franko expressed the need for such an impactful community-based event in order to raise funds and awareness for the VNA’s services throughout Northwest Indiana.
“This is a really important event for us because it's a fundraiser first and foremost. It is more than just a fundraiser, though. It is a way for us to connect with the community a little bit better,” said Franko.
Working with hospice, the VNA doesn’t work with younger populations regularly, so Hops for Hospice gives Franko and his employees a chance to outreach to a larger community.
“You see a whole different demographic that might otherwise come out to nonprofits events. We really want to engage a younger crowd to make sure that they're aware of the services that we provide in the community. We serve over 650 people a day in our five service lines, and most people don't know that. We want to make sure that we're reaching all demographics and all ages of people so that they know who we are, what value, and what we bring to the community,” said Franko.
Maria Galka, Director of Development, for VNA Hospice NWI, agrees that Hops for Hospice is an important event to help the VNA connect with the community in the Region. The Northwest Indiana community is key to raising funds for one of the few remaining not-for-profit hospices in the state, and proceeds from the event help the VNA do the important work that they do to serve Region patients.
”The proceeds and awareness from this event all support the VNA hospice program. Because we're not-for-profit, we can do more for our patients and our families because we have community support, and it's events like this that help us get that community support. Most importantly, they build awareness of hospice. There's so many people that don't know about hospice or don't understand the benefits of hospice. Through this event, we're able to share that story,” said Galka.
Being the second year of hosting Hops for Hospice, both Franko and Galka are glad to see the growth of the event.
“The first year was a little nerve racking, but this year things seem to go a lot smoother. We knew what we were doing. We’ve expanded our non-alcoholic booth, ramped up the designated drivers, and added VIP tickets. We were able to do additional things this year that we didn't do last year just because we learned from that process,” said Galka.
Not only did the VNA want to grow numbers of attendees, but one of the not-for-profit’s goals was getting greater participation from local breweries to which Franko gives credit to the assistance of Indiana Beverage.
“We worked really hard to have a lot of local breweries that are self-distributed and depend on people in the community to come to them. We're really, really thrilled about being able to work with the local breweries. In addition, we are excited to be working with Indiana Beverage, who was our biggest sponsor. There's no way we could do this without them,” said Franko.
Hops for Hospice truly was a team effort. Over 70 volunteers made the event possible. Event sponsors were also key to the success of Hops for Hospice. VNA Hospice NWI thanks The Chesterton Brewery and Indiana Beverage as partner sponsors for the event, Adams Radio Group and Kankakee Valley REMC as gold sponsors, and Health Linc and Shivehattery as silver sponsors for Hops for Hospice.
The event itself wouldn’t be possible without the many community members who came out to support the VNA and its mission to continue to provide excellent hospice services and medical care throughout the Region.
To learn more about VNA Hospice NWI, visit https://vnanwi.org/.