New Hampshire Bacon & Beer Festival

Crispy samples of 25 flavors of bacon and 30 pulled pork samplers, paired with 125 beer selections from 50 craft brewers plus other vendor delectables, enticed 1.500 visitors to attend the sixth annual New Hampshire Bacon & Beer Festival, an outdoor fundraiser at Anheuser-Busch in Merrimack that on June 4 benefitted the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire, a Nashua nonprofit.

“High Hopes Foundation is an all-volunteer nonprofit with a mission to provide life-enhancing opportunities, experiences, or other assistance to New Hampshire children with serious chronic illnesses,” said Bedford’s Celia Gatsas, a pediatric occupational therapist and HHF vice president. “Last year’s event raised more than $165,000 and 100 percent goes to the children.”

The HHF of New Hampshire, founded in 1983 by two compassionate moms, has personalized joyous experiences for thousands. Among the HHF’s tailored gifts are Disney trips, summer camp sessions, service animals or medical equipment including wheelchair accessories. Gatsas noted every match underscores the HHF goal: Make Hope Happen.

The volunteers of HHF of New Hampshire are well thanked, she added, by parents, siblings, grandparents and other caregivers whose cherished youth to age 18 have received adaptive bicycles, sports gear, adaptive swings, ramps, benches and other needs.

Gatsas credited her fellow volunteer board members for sharing their wide variety of skills. The compact group of six is adept at connecting the needs of children with business community members offering whatever is needed at the moment. Board members in addition to Celia Gatsas include Jill Mason, of Weare, Jeff Grzesik, of Nashua, Keith Ballingall, of Bedford, Bryan Marabella, of Concord, and Lisa Rourke, of Nashua.

“This is an important fundraiser for us and we thank everyone for today’s success,” Gatsas added.

More information on High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire is available online: highhopesfoundation.org.