August 1 – 5, 2017
Marina Jack, Sarasota FL
2 Marina Plaza,
Sarasota, FL 34236
Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association invites you to partner for the 2017 Sarasota Slam in Sarasota, Florida with a donation to our silent auction. This event has become one of Southwest Florida’s most endeared fishing tournaments. We understand and appreciate that the anglers are what make the event. We appreciate and love having them back year after year.
After 14 years, this event has already made a name for itself in the fishing community. Anglers are greeted by an amazing location and staff and treated to a top-notch event. More than 500 anglers competed and reeled in over $500,000 in cash prizes over the years.
The tournament also reaches out to the community by supporting local organizations. Weigh-in starts at 1:00pm and spectators from all over the globe come to participate in raffle drawings, silent auctions to benefit our 2017 selected charity Harvest House as you witness the largest weigh-in Sarasota Florida has ever experienced.
In honor of your mother or the special woman in your life, we invite you to celebrate your love for her by helping our neighbors who are in crisis.
Here at Harvest House, we believe that all people deserve safe, stable housing and the opportunity to renew their hope and dream again. We are dedicated to perpetuating hope for families and individuals looking to overcome poverty and homelessness, so that they may lead independent, sustainable lives.
We invite you to honor the women you know as well as bless neighbors you may not know. This Mother’s Day, please make a gift to Harvest House in honor or memory of that special woman in your life.
When you support Harvest House, you share your love in a very large way. Together, we are giving hope in the form of housing, case management, financial assistance, counseling, job skill training, and education. Your gift, at any level, provides the essential funding needed to make our solutions possible.
Thank you, in advance, for your thoughtfulness.
With a grateful heart,
Executive Director, Harvest House
Please Save the Date: Wednesday, February 15 Doors open at 11:30am
Jeff speaks quietly and confidently about his life. Though he certainly has regrets, he is not ashamed of his past – he accepts it and understands he would not be who he is today without it.
Jeff knows that Harvest House, with its residential recovery program, has been a constant source of hope and support through his years of struggle – years that have been hard, but have left him a better man.
A Sarasota native, Jeff first started using drugs at 13 and eventually drifted into life on the streets. Now 42, he has been drug-free for five years – but many of the years in between were spent either incarcerated or in and out of shelters.
“The people from Harvest House were always there for me with an open door.” After going through the recovery program and staying drug-free for several years, Jeff applied for and was accepted into the Home Again Supported Housing Program.
We were able to be there for him because our donors have been here for us, supporting Harvest House and the clients we serve.
Jeff recently completed an environmental training program and obtained a license for asbestos removal. Now he is working on getting his GED degree.
In the future, he says he might like to work in social services: “I want to do something where I relate to people, where I use my experience to help them, to help them not make the same mistakes I made.”
“I can show them how the people at Harvest House did not give up on me and how they won’t give up on them.”
Jeff believes that “sooner or later a door will open” and he will find work where he can make a significant contribution.
I really couldn’t tell you where I would be right now if it was not for Harvest House. I don’t know if I would still have my children with me, or if they would be growing up with others. Harvest House has shown me how to accomplish the things I wanted in my life, free of drugs, and to separate myself from the things I had brought into my life that were destroying all that I loved. Harvest House gave me a place to sleep, to eat, and to have people to talk to who understood my challenges and were ready to help me. It changed my life, no doubt about it, and gave me back my self-respect and the respect of my children that had been lost to opioids many years before.
Veteran. Father. Husband. Former Addict.
Although Aaron Gibbs’ military service to our nation ended over two decades ago, he has been waging his own private war ever since. His fight was a daily battle against the curse of opioid drug addiction, and until he found his way to Harvest House just over eight months ago, the drugs were winning.
His life was filled with the casualties of addiction, and as Aaron told me recently, “Drugs stole my ability to dream away from me. I had no future. There was just right then, right now, and nothing more. And as I look back on that time of my life today, there really isn’t anything that addiction doesn’t take from your life. For all those reasons and more, I am so grateful that a few friends I worked with had the courage to suggest Harvest House to me…because they saved my life.”
Harvest House is dedicated to the premise that all people deserve safe, stable housing and the opportunity to renew their hope and dream again. We serve a variety of populations with residential programs for veterans, families and unaccompanied young people who are homeless or have a history of homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration.
Aaron participated in our VETS (Veterans Empowered through Transitional Services) program, which serves adult male veterans who have struggled with substance abuse after their service causing them to experience homelessness. In our approach, housing and treatment is provided to our veterans at no cost.
In fact, Harvest House is the only organization in Sarasota to participate in the development, preservation, and management of affordable, service-enriched housing. This model is becoming the standard for serving families and individuals who are working to rebuild their lives. At Harvest House we believe that affordable housing and supportive programs improve the economic status of residents, revitalize neighborhoods, and stabilize lives.
Aaron Gibbs is but one example of that success.
“Today, I have been free of drugs and clean for over eight months. Thanks to the help I received, I have a great job with a local commercial painting company. Now that I am clean and healthy, my school aged children live with me, and because I have been able to buy a safe car, they can once again participate in after school programs. Because I am there with them,” Aaron told me, “I am able to help them with their homework as any parent should, and that renewed parental presence has made a huge, positive impact in their lives.”
Just as he was about to leave to pick up one of his children, Aaron turned to me and emphatically said, “Harvest House changes lives. I know this, because it changed mine. If you have the desire, it will help you turn your life around. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better way to make a difference than to help a struggling person regain their life again.”
For veterans of our nation’s military who wage their own war against illness, homelessness and despair, Harvest House is a source of hope and inspiration. Hope, knowing that we will fight for them if they have the courage to fight for themselves, and inspiration found in veterans like Aaron, who are winning in their battles against drug addiction, homelessness and despair.
“There is no doubt that without the support of people I will never meet and never be able to thank personally, Harvest House would be hard pressed to help families like mine,” Aaron reminded me. “Without that support, I don’t have any idea what my life would be like today, and for all that have chosen to help, I am truly grateful.”
Because we know that there will always be another worthy veteran who will need our help, I ask you to please choose to stand with us by making a generous, committed gift today. Remember, every dollar in support we receive from you will be matched by the Lee Wetherington Foundation’s $50,000 challenge match. On behalf of all those who will benefit from your support, I thank you.
For far too many veterans here in Sarasota County and across this country, joining the military has proven easier than leaving it.
To try and cope with the disturbing memories that they bring home, it’s not uncommon for veterans to turn to alcohol, and sometimes drugs, to numb their emotions, and so the number of alcohol-addicted vets has roughly doubled in the last five years, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Army. Homelessness is compounding the problem for returning vets, leading some down the crippling road towards substance abuse.
Since, 2010 it has been our privilege at Harvest House to serve the male homeless veteran population with housing and wrap-around services. And, we have seen great success, with 85% of our participating veterans moving into permanent housing. But, did you know that the risk of women veterans becoming homeless is four times greater than for male veterans?
Thanks to the Lee Wetherington Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Baycross Christian Family Foundation, and the generosity of our donors, we will be opening a Family Village within the year. The Family Village will add 72 beds to our Home Again program, and a portion of which will be earmarked for veteran families who are homeless.
For Harvest House, it isn’t until these men and women arrive at our doorway looking for a last chance to repair and recover, that we have the chance to show them how very much we honor them and value their service to our country. When we finally do meet them, they have already worn through all the traditional opportunities for recovery and are often desperate for a chance to rebuild and recapture their past lives.
We think they deserve the best chance that we can provide to them, and with your support, we will always be able to provide it. On any given day, more than 300 men and women will wake up at Harvest House. Many of them are veterans. Under our roof these vets will receive shelter, rest, food, clothing, and a chance to turn the corner and return to the life they knew once before.
On behalf of each of these heroes, thank you for your support…
Unconditional love is a type of love without limitations or conditions. It is not earned on the basis of conscience or unconscious conditions. It is simply given, freely.
Michelle was born into a family with a long history of drug and alcohol addiction. She even lost several of her family members to drug overdose. She started using when she was just 14-years-old.
“I didn’t know any better. Growing up, the use of drugs and alcohol were such a regular part of life for me. I thought it was just what people did. I didn’t know any differently.”
Like so many who succumb to addiction, Michelle never thought she lost her power. She thought she could stop if she wanted to, and she certainly didn’t think the disease had more control than she did. But, before long, she began lying to friends and family members when they asked her about her drug use. She would insist to them that she was clean and sober.
“I was like a child, covered in chocolate, and swearing I didn’t eat the cake. They could see right through me.”
Her family forced her to check in to Harvest House’s Freedom Program. She admits today that at first, she didn’t want to be here. She was in denial and didn’t think she needed treatment. She kept a journal during her time at Harvest House and going back to those first days she says she realizes now how toxic her life had once been.
“I was truly angry and hated myself when I first arrived at Harvest House, and now I just think about how when I came here, these people, my counselors, the Minors, they didn’t owe me anything and their only motivation to help me was love. They welcomed and loved me with open arms – for no reason at all. Growing up I always felt as though I had to earn my mother’s love. Harvest House not only helped me to recover from my addictions, but also taught me unconditional love. Being apart of this made me feel like I could like myself, well, love myself, and be proud of myself for something.”
At the end of this month, Michelle will be graduating from our Freedom Program at Harvest House, and she has worked out a plan and goals with her case manager. She hopes to go back to school, so that she can become a counselor and help individuals as she has been helped.