Originally published in Inklings on November 9, 2015 by Claire Dinshaw, Inklings News Editor. Read complete the article here.
Homes with Hope held its eighth annual Stand Up for Homes with Hope fundraiser at the Westport Country Playhouse on Saturday, Nov. 7. This year’s featured performer was comedian, Tom Papa (“Behind the Candelabra,” “Come to Papa,” and “Tom Papa Live in New York City”).
“You are out,” Papa said to the audience, “it’s Saturday night, and you are doing something with your damn life.”
For many, including Westport Country Playhouse staffer, Erin Focone, his performance was much anticipated.
“At this moment I am looking forward to everyone arriving,” Jeff Wieser, the CEO of Homes with Hope said before the event began. “It’s really a different kind of fundraiser because we try to make it entertaining.”
Hopes with Hope is a local non-profit organization which provides housing to over 100 people every night.
Sarah, a single mother of two, was struggling with alcoholism and living on the streets before her caseworker told her about opportunities available to her through Homes with Hope. She has now been sober for 19 months and recently moved to an apartment in Bridgeport with her two children.
Sarah’s story was featured in a documentary that was shown before Papa’s performance.
The nearly sold out event raised over $140,00 for Homes with Hope just from the live auction and donations alone.
“It sounds like it’s going to benefit a wonderful cause,” Victoria Winslow, who volunteered as an usher for the night, said.
In addition to the performance and documentary, guests were served cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and Shake Shack custard “under the tent” beginning at 6:15 p.m.
During this time, guests were entertained by a local band, Pizzadust, featuring Sean Porio ’17, Tristan Zauls ’16, Jimmy Kavetas ’16, Alejandro Hervella ’16, and Halley Jonas ’16. The band, which is normally a rock band, learned several jazz standards in preparation for this event.
“I was happy to see a ton of people there,” Porio said, “and all seemed to be enjoying themselves.”
Wieser was very happy with the event’s success, noting that the event went “wonderfully.” He continued saying, “the more money we raise, the more we can do.”