It’s the end of a special evening and you’ve been satiated by delicious food and drinks, and all night you knew you were amongst a group of caring people. To top it off you’re leaving with a favorite new piece of art, tickets to a Pink concert, a gift card for a massage or maybe a seven-day wine tour in the Burgundy region of France.

That’s the afterglow of Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement’s (HOPE) biggest annual bash. The benefit event raises nearly a quarter of the non-profit’s yearly budget.

This year’s event is being held Friday, Sept 21. Former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers will be the celebrity auctioneer and The St. Vrain in Longmont is the evening’s locale. The new venue was chosen as the chic backdrop for an entertaining night of raising money to help those at risk of or already living with homelessness.

HOPE’s signature event is in its fifth year and organizers are planning on 250 attendees joining in the festivities, which include chances to win an array of prizes while enjoying appetizers, an open bar serving beer, wine, and cocktails, and a family style meal. Tickets are $100 of which $50 is tax-deductible.

Party-goers will be bidding on donated prizes during a silent auction and can play games of chance to win additional parting gifts. Prizes include art, wine, gift certificates for local restaurants and services, and vacation stays. One lucky person will go home with $500 from the final game of the evening.

Rivers, a professionally trained auctioneer, will be leading the fast-paced live bidding portion of the evening where once-in-a-lifetime experiences will be up for grabs.

Rhonda Curran, HOPE’s Development Manager, said there are at least 500 homeless people in the city of Longmont.

“HOPE started in the winter of ’06-07, when five individuals died from exposure,” Curran said. “A small group of volunteers said this can’t be happening, so they’d drive around, hand out blankets and hot soup and check on them. The homeless population that’s increasing the most is the elderly. We see so many new faces every day.”

The organization has evolved significantly since those early days. Backing for HOPE’s operations now comes primarily from individual donations. Additional funding comes from grants, the City of Longmont, and Boulder County Human Services funds.Eighty two percent of individual contributions go directly to HOPE’s operations.

Coordinated Entry (CE), a Boulder County program started in late 2017, synchronizes human services organizations that used to have gaps or redundant services for at risk individuals. With CE, participants complete a single form and are guided by case managers to the services that best serve their needs, be it housing, job opportunities, food, mental health treatment, or medical or dental care.

HOPE’s vehicles drive the streets with staff and volunteers to be sure those living on the streets are given the opportunity to sign up for CE and to help them with their immediate needs, such as blankets, clothing, and hygiene supplies.

Through HOPE, participants are served dinner - the only free meal and assistance program available every night of the year in Longmont. Those in need have access to showers and laundry facilities, and from November through April, participants can sleep at one of the rotating HOPE staffed faith community locations. Case managers are on site to help those living on the margin to problem solve and find permanent, safe situations off the streets and out of shelters.

HOPE’s website states, “In 2017, street outreach teams made 24,045 contacts with 1,403 unduplicated individuals in Longmont, and provided 28,281 meals, 3,109 pair of socks, 860 pair of underwear, 1,644 blankets, and 1,325 hygiene kits. Additionally, 48 nights of emergency medical respite were provided to clients experiencing health crises, 13 individuals moved into housing and the overnight shelter was open 135 nights providing 5,581 total shelter stays for 430 unduplicated individuals.”

Event information: Friday, Sept. 21, 6 pm. to 9 p.m. at The St. Vrain, 653 3rd Avenue, Longmont. For tickets, visit www.HopeForLongmont.org/events/

Immediate needs for the organization are: size 30”x31” men’s jeans, steel-toed boots (for day labor jobs), sleeping bags, gloves, hats, blankets, and winter coats. HOPE is located at 804 S. Lincoln Street, Longmont, CO 80502

Volunteers are always needed. For the upcoming benefit event, the organization is asking for 12 people to help with set up, serving, and clean up. Email Rhonda@HopeForLongmont.org to see where your help can be best used.