Night of Hope planned Sept. 30 at Salisbury City Park

By Susan Canfora
Posted 9/19/22

Those struggling with addiction, their families and supporters will gather at the third annual Night of Hope, by the fountain at City Park on Friday, Sept. 30, for an evening of encouragement and …

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Night of Hope planned Sept. 30 at Salisbury City Park

Posted

Those struggling with addiction, their families and supporters will gather at the third annual Night of Hope, by the fountain at City Park on Friday, Sept. 30, for an evening of encouragement and fellowship.

Big Al’s food truck will be there at 5:30 p.m. and the event will begin at 6 p.m., with pastors from several Salisbury churches offering messages of encouragement.

Vendors will have tables set up to provide resources at Night of Hope, an integral part of Wicomico Goes Purple, whose message “There is one form, one face, one name that has and will, overcome hopelessness.”

Those attending are asked to take lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

Co-chaired by George Whitehead, a retired psychology professor at Salisbury University, and Stephanie Willey, General Sales Manager at WMDT-TV,  Night of Hope will be “a night when the faith-based community comes together to provide hope for people in recovery or addiction and for the faith community to be involved,” Whitehead told the Salisbury Independent.

“It’s for survivors, those struggling in recovery, caregivers, supporters, or anybody who wants to join us,” he said.

Pastors, from churches including St. Peter’s, First Baptist Church of Salisbury, Emmanuel Fruitland and Asbury United Methodist Church, will speak and praise groups will provide music.

“The message is that faith provides hope. It’s a vehicle to deal with addiction and recovery. This is devastating for people. If somebody needs help, they can go to someone from one of these churches. One of the things we witnessed last year was people reaching out to the pastors, at the event or afterward. Part of what has been going on with Wicomico Goes Purple is to shatter the stigma and part of that is asking for help. For so long people weren’t asking for help,” Whitehead said.

He and Willey “both really believe safe community is important and that it plays an important role in addiction and recovery,” he added.

“Faith offers hope to people the opioid crisis affects. Hope can have a face and a name. Hope comes in many different forms. Hope is on the way,” the promotional poster for Night of Hope states.

Purple was chosen as the recovery movement’s color in 1989, when National Recovery Month was founded. Purple is associated with independence, ambition and wisdom. Asbury United Methodist Church, where Whitehead worships, as well as St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, have strung purple lights on the buildings in solidarity.

“Friday is a good night for this. Being in City Park, we will see how that plays out, and having a food truck will be a welcome addition. When you have people there from 6 to 7:30, they are looking for something to eat,” Whitehead said.

In 2019, when Night of Hope debuted,  a crowd of a couple hundred people attended. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and in 2021 about 150 were there, Whitehead said, adding if it rains this year, activities will be moved inside St. Peter’s in Downtown Salisbury.

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