Restaurant owner issues challenge to fight substance abuse

MANCHESTER – With New Hampshire ranking 49th in access to treatment for substance addiction and heroin use at epidemic proportions, Common Man Restaurant owner and founder Alex Ray has issued a $100,000 matching gift challenge to state residents to improve options for friends, family and neighbors seeking recovery.

All gifts received will help increase the number of treatment beds at Easter Seals New Hampshire, which has been on the front lines of this battle and is committed to supporting people in need through substance abuse treatment programs at the Farnum Center in Manchester and Farnum North in Franklin.

Ray announced the challenge, which if met by Sunday, Nov. 1, will bring in a total of $200,000, at the recent Easter Seals New Hampshire Farnum North groundbreaking of Bartlett Cottage in Franklin. Once the renovation of the building is completed in February, Bartlett Cottage will house 20 co-ed treatment beds.

Additionally, Easter Seals is in the process of licensing 42 existing beds for residential treatment at Webster Place at Farnum North.

"I believe New Hampshire deserves better and has the means to be better," Ray said. "It will take all of us to accomplish this. There are record numbers of people dying from overdoses in New Hampshire, and we must respond. I will match every dollar donated to this campaign from now until November 1st.

Ray was instrumental in preserving and restoring the historic Daniel Webster homestead and Civil War era orphanage into an alcohol and drug recovery center in 2007 that Easter Seals purchased earlier this year.

Easter Seals New Hampshire has already received $38,000 toward the Alex Ray $100,000 Challenge for Recovery. That leaves only $62,000 to reach $200,000. The funds will be used to increase the number of treatment beds available and make an impact by decreasing the length of time people battling the disease of addiction need to wait for help.

Gifts may be made in memory or honor of a loved one, and all gifts $5,000 and above will receive a naming opportunity at Farnum North. Donors who give $100 or more will be recognized with their name on a plaque at Farnum North.

"Expanding treatment options, in addition to prevention and recovery support, is critical to combat the state’s growing substance abuse problem," said Larry Gammon, Easter Seals president and CEO.

To make a gift to the challenge, visit easterseals.com/nh or contact Courtney Smith, Easter Seals vice president of major gifts and planned giving, at 621-3456 or casmith@eastersealsnh.org.