VNA Hospice NWI’s third annual Hops for Hospice raises awareness like never before

VNA Hospice NWI’s third annual Hops for Hospice raises awareness like never before

Nothing pairs better with a drink and good company than the opportunity to contribute to a good cause. On Saturday, June 3 VNA Hospice NWI held its third annual Hops for Hospice brewfest. Guests from all over the Region gathered at the Porter County Expo Center to support VNA Hospice and one of its biggest fundraising events of the year. 

VNA Hospice Hops for Hospice 2023

VNA Hospice Hops for Hospice 2023 195 Photos
VNA Hospice Hops for Hospice 2023VNA Hospice Hops for Hospice 2023VNA Hospice Hops for Hospice 2023VNA Hospice Hops for Hospice 2023

For the past couple of years, Hops for Hospice has been an extremely popular Brewfest and this year’s event did not disappoint. Attendees had a blast tasting over 100 different beers, sampling delicious food, taking their chances in a 50-50 raffle and silent auction, playing cornhole, and jamming out to Small Town, a John Mellencamp tribute band. All the while they contributed to and learned about the true meaning of VNA Hospice: making the best days possible. 

“It’s definitely our biggest event of the year and the most fun. It’s a great day that allows us to connect with all kinds of people who have a common love of beer, but it also gives us an opportunity to educate them about who we are, what we do at the VNA, and all the services we provide,” said CEO Bob Franko. 

Because VNA Hospice is one of the only two remaining not-for-profit hospices in the area, it relies heavily on the support of the community to continue providing its programs to families in need. All the money raised from Hops for Hospice each year goes straight back to the VNA Hospice programs that support over 650 patients every single day. Maria Galka, development director, was touched by how many people came out to support this year’s fundraiser. 

“It’s wonderful. I see so many familiar faces--people who come out and support our other events and people who have used our services for a family member. I’ve also seen so many new faces which is great. It’s just so awesome that all these people are coming together to learn about hospice and have a good time,” said Galka. 

Not only did this year’s Hops for Hospice allow VNA Hospice to raise an incredible amount of money for its programs, but it also helped further its mission by spreading awareness about what hospice care actually is. There is a lot of stigma surrounding hospice care and many people tend to avoid it until they possibly can’t anymore, when in reality hospice can be a true blessing to patients and their families. 

“One of the issues that we run into in hospice is that patients and families will come to us right at the end, so they don’t get the full benefits of hospice and everything it can do for them. So, everything we can do to help build that community awareness is important. There’s a lot of living you can do in your final days and our services help with that,” said Galka. 

Brenda Coleman, a volunteer, and Hops for Hospice committee member, used VNA Hospice’s services for her dad, who was a U.S. Navy veteran. During the event as she poured drinks for community members, she was able to teach them about what hospice care truly is and share with them how it made a huge difference in her life.  

“My dad’s hospice care was very calming. He had his own private room and I was able to listen to his favorite music with him. Also, it wasn’t a hospital--it was very family oriented. I could come visit with my family anytime I wanted to 24 hours a day. They had a separate room for the family so we could decompress when it became too much. Losing family is so tough and they were completely compassionate about it every step of the way and I just love them to pieces,” said Coleman. 

It was special to watch the attendees bond over a great-tasting beer as well as the meaning of hospice care and how impactful it can be. Without a doubt, many people left thinking more deeply about how VNA Hospice can assist them and their families in the future. 

“We really wanted to connect with a younger demographic--a lot of them may not necessarily need hospice care right now and don’t want to think about it, but many of them will have to start taking care of parents and loved ones soon. We want them to be familiar and comfortable with who we are and this event provides an approachable way to start those conversations,” said Franko. 

Overall, the third annual Hops for Hospice was a day of fun, a day of togetherness, and a day of spreading awareness. One glimpse at all the smiling faces and warm embraces was all anyone needed to know that the event was beyond successful.

Of course, the day wouldn’t have been successful without the love and support of the community. VNA Hospice is grateful to all of the generous sponsors who made the event possible. VNA Hospice is also thankful for all its kind volunteers who made the day extra special. 

“We could not do this event without our volunteers,” said Galka. “We have over 70 volunteers here today. Some of them have volunteered in the past and some of them are brand new but they’re all super excited to be here and be a part of this. Our volunteers are just absolutely amazing.” 

To learn more about VNA Hospice NWI and its commitment to our community, visit