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    • 11th HOPE Walk
September 13, 2021

A time to remember, a time to act

HOPE Sheds Light/RAFTS observes International Overdose Awareness Day
The nonprofits displayed 1,626 purple flags in Manasquan – one for each life lost to an opioid overdose in New Jersey this year.

Manasquan, NJ – Over 93,000 individuals died of a drug overdose in the United States last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – that’s a 30 percent rise from 2019. 3,046 of these individuals were New Jersey residents. This national epidemic is touching lives across the nation, especially right here at home. In observance of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, HOPE Sheds Light, Inc. (HSL) and Recovery Advocates for the Shore, Inc. (RAFTS) displayed 1,626 purple flags at Star of the Sea Beach Chapel at Third and Main Streets in Manasquan – one for each life lost to an opioid overdose in New Jersey from January 1 to June 30, 2021.

Flags were on display from August 26th to August 31st. A prayer service was held on August 31 at 6pm with Father Bill from St. Denis Roman Catholic Church in Manasquan. Personalized flags in memory of loved ones lost were also available.

“We want to be there for all families impacted by substance use disorder,” said Nicole Federici, Co-founder of RAFTS. “We conduct training programs for peers using the latest evidence-based curriculums and various community events. Through these efforts, RAFTS aims to raise awareness, reduce stigma and promote long-term recovery.”

RAFTS is a recovery community organization that offers hope to all families and individuals impacted by substance use and related disorders, regardless of circumstance. “We envision a community where non-judgmental support is the standard and multiple pathways to recovery are embraced,” said Federici.

Pamela Capaci, CEO of HSL, says this is all about stopping the stigma surrounding addiction and creating a safety net along the Jersey Shore. “We offer programming that engages adolescents and young parents to effectively end the cycle of generational cycle of addiction,” she said. “This last year has been a challenge for all of us and the months ahead may present us with even more obstacles as we address the ongoing health and socioeconomic impact COVID-19 will have on so many families. We want people to see the face of recovery and understand that there is great probability, with proper health and care, we can improve the outcomes of so many people. This is a disease and people do recover. We will do whatever it takes to put an end to purple flags.”

Looking to the future, HSL and RAFTS will host its 8th Annual Celebration of HOPE Walk IN-PERSON at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk on Saturday, September 11, 2021. At the Celebration of HOPE Walk, the community can come together to learn about substance use disorder, celebrate recovery and provide hope to those affected.

Together, HSL and RAFTS will offer resources at the walk for family members and friends of those dealing with addiction and substance misuse. The event will also highlight inspirational speakers, a Tree of HOPE to remember those who were lost, onsite vendors, face painting for the kids, music, a 50/50 raffle and more.

Walk registration starts at 8 a.m. on September 11th on the Hiering Avenue beach in Seaside Heights. A registration fee of $10 is required to participate (includes a free t-shirt). To learn more or register, visit HOPEShedsLight.org/walk.

About HOPE Sheds Light, Inc.
HOPE Sheds Light, Inc. is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID: 46-3910504) that is supported by friends and families directly affected by substance use disorder and found recovery through continuous love, support and understanding. The mission of HSL is to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the impact of substance use disorder by having the courage to share personal experiences and offer strength, wisdom, hope and resources that lead to positive community change and long-term recovery. To learn more or to donate, please visit http://www.HOPEShedsLight.org.

About Recovery Advocates for the Shore
Recovery Advocates for the Shore, Inc. (RAFTS) is a non-profit, non-clinical, peer-based recovery community organization providing support and resources to individuals and families impacted by substance use and related disorders.

HOPE Sheds Light/RAFTS observes International Overdose Awareness Day.