This past Saturday, over 300 people gathered at Escutcheon Brewing in Winchester to watch and play Ping Pong. Not a big story you say. Well, for the thousands of individuals who call Concern Hotline, and the hundreds of people trained by us in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, this is a very big deal!
Concern Hotline began this effort in 1968, and in 2020, we are still answering the phone, thanks in part to Ping Pong! We were able to raise over $6,000 to help train, promote, and most importantly, answer the phone for people when they need us. This "fun"raiser also speaks to our community of supporters. From the anonymous individuals, to large corporations, our supporters represent the compassionate and philanthropic members of our community whose labor is not in vain…we are making a difference!
Recent Community Assessments show the Northern Shenandoah Valley continues to have a higher-than-average Suicide rate per capita. Concern is always here, a call away, ready to respond to crisis or just offer a caring listener. Imagine the following:
In the small hours of the morning when most of us are snug in bed and off the clock for a few more hours, a volunteer is wakened by a phone call. The caller is a single mother, awakened from her own sleep by a night terror, brought on by the stress in her life. She lost her job six months ago, and with it her insurance. She can no longer afford therapy or medication, and her mental health is deteriorating. She has no family in the area and has worn out her welcome with her few friends. She and her 3-year-old are about to be homeless, and she does not know what to do. Fortunately for her, the caller found a Concern Hotline volunteer, ready and willing to comfort, reassure, and listen.
This is why we play Ping Pong, so we can be here for this caller and the others struggling daily to make it. We thank our players, our sponsors, and our host. We thank those of you who have given generously of your money, your time, and your knowledge. We thank you for making it possible for that caller to find a compassionate listener in the middle of the night while the rest of us are sleeping soundly.
There are not enough awards, certificates, gifts, or annual dinners to express our appreciation to those of you who have made a difference to Concern Hotline, and to the people who call us in search of hope. You have only our words: Thank You.
Rusty Holland is executive director of Concern Hotline Inc.