In January organizers announced that a new non-profit organization named Hope at Home was being formed to benefit cancer patients, families of cancer patients, and caregivers in the area.
The board members said in a January interview that they wanted to raise money and see where their money was going.
Last week, Crossett Mayor Scott McCormick signed a proclamation proclaiming April 26 as the first ever Hope Fest which the group plans to make an annual event.
Following the proclamation presentation, board members presented McCormick with the very first luminary in honor of his late wife, Mary who passed away last year.
The Hope at Home festival will feature vendors and food booths with items such as walking tacos, pizza baskets, funnel cakes, BBQ, cotton candy and other treats.
There will also be inflatables and other activities available.
Tonya Cooper, a Hope at Home board member, said that there are already more than 20 teams signed up to participate in the fundraiser and some of them have already planned pre-events to raise money.
The Crossett chapter of Beta Sigma Phi is hosting a color run on Saturday and the proceeds will go to Ashley County Hope at Home.
There was also a Gospel Fest held at Mount Olive Church in North Crossett on Friday featuring several local praise bands and gospel singers.
The event raised approximately $1,375 and Cooper said there were about 140 people in attendance.
Cooper said she is happy to see the community getting behind Hope at Home and excited to see what the group is able to do for the community.
Hope at Home is a non-profit organization and has filed for 501(C)3 status with the IRS.
The organization will be governed by a board of nine members with an additional “selection board” made up of five people, who are not on the board of directors. Those five will review benefit applications once submitted.
“We will be able to know where our money is going and see the benefit of our fundraising right here in Ashley County,” Stephanie Craig, a Hope at Home board member, said.
Hope at Home will be strictly a volunteer organization which will cut down on the expenses that other non-profit organizations have. Hope at Home will not have salaried employees and some of the other overhead and operating expenses that larger benefit organizations incur throughout the year.
“We will be small so we will be strictly volunteers and so more of the money will be able to go towards our cause,” Cooper said.
Cooper and Craig have worked with other fundraising organizations and last year they helped with an event that raised $42,000.
“It would be great if we could do that again,” Cooper said.
Luminaries are currently on sale for the April 26 event and will be sold until the day before the festival.