Hoptown Brewing celebrated its 2nd birthday yesterday not by receiving gifts — but by giving them.
The brewery set an example of its “beer a good neighbor” philosophy, donating $18,115 to four local charitable organizations — Sheldon’s K9s, Dove House, Food for Days and Hope of Mooresville (HOMe) — as part of its second annual Sip it Forward® fundraiser.
It also announced its next beneficiaries: Cool Kids Clubhouse, Rainbow Kidz, Rescue Ranch and The Mooresville Christian Mission.
Every time folks order one of Hoptown’s Sip it Forward® signature blonde ales, they’re given a $1 token (or $10 pouches of tokens can be purchased from the bar). People drop their tokens in one of four labeled compartments — one for each charitable organization — on the brewery’s wall. At the end of the year, Hoptown adds up all the tokens and donates the amount raised to each charity.
Hoptown Owner Sandy Plemmons recalled how Covid made it “an uphill battle” for charitable organizations to raise money that is critical to their operations. She said she promised one of Hoptown’s inaugural charities in 2021-22 that she would pay each charity $1,000 herself if the Sip it Forward® fundraiser didn’t work.
“I wrote a (combined) $14,000 check that year,” she said. “So it worked.”
She wiped her tears. “If this doesn’t prove that one dollar can make a difference,” she said, “I don’t know what does.”
Plemmons said she hopes Hoptown and its chosen charities for 2023-24 can reach $20,000. That campaign kicks off this Saturday, March 25, with the Sip it Forward® 4 Miles 4 Charities Race, highlighting each charity partner while kickstarting the year-long fundraiser. The event includes four- and one-mile runs and family-friendly festivities all day. To sign up or for more information, click here.
This year’s $18,115 benefited the following organizations:
$7,084 for Sheldon’s K9s
The top fundraiser of this year’s four selected nonprofits, Sheldon’s K9s, is the namesake foundation of Mooresville Police Department K9 Officer Jordan H. Sheldon, whose passion in life centered around dogs and his community. He lost his life in the line of duty on May 4, 2019.
Hoptown’s Plemmons noted that she was especially honored to be able to provide this year’s funds to SK9 after Mooresville recently lost Valor, one of its beloved K9s. Plemmons told the crowd at Wednesday’s gathering that SK9 supporters were in the brewery “practically every week” the past year … even if it was an on-duty officer who came in just to order a non-alcoholic drink and drop a token for SK9.
Danielle Plyler, SK9 volunteer, said Hoptown’s donation will help the nonprofit further its primary goal of keeping Jordan’s memory alive. “We have no employees — we’re all volunteers — so $7,000 is a huge deal for our organization,” Plyler said, fighting back tears.
SK9 makes its impact in two ways: purchasing supplemental equipment to enhance safety and training for actively working K9s and supporting aging K9s through a robust, recently-expanded retirement program.
The young organization to date has helped 10 retired K9s, covering $12,000 in food and medical costs. SK9 has six active K9s currently in the retirement program — three retired from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, two from Huntersville PD, and the newest retired K9 from Iredell County Sheriff’s Office — and has provided $22,000 in supplies and equipment for actively serving K9s, including those serving MPD.
For more information on SK9, click here.
$4,012 for Food for Days
Food for Days works with businesses and community sponsors to give weekend backpack meals to hungry children in Mooresville, Davidson, Troutman, Statesville, Harmony, Huntersville and China Grove. Students are vetted by school teachers and counselors to determine the children who need weekend meals the most.
Volunteers collect and purchase food — including two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners plus snacks and drinks — and pack it into bookbags. The bags are discreetly delivered to schools on Thursday to be handed out on Friday so that students don’t go hungry over the weekend.
Executive Director Karen Swan shared today that Food for Days is currently feeding 460 students in 17 schools. “Children’s lives will be improved for years to come from being recognized as having a need — and that need being met,” Swan said in thanking Hoptown for its support of important community causes.
For more information on Food for Days, click here.
$3,604 for Dove House
Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center operates from a safe, child-friendly facility and supports the investigation, prosecution, therapy and follow-up of reported child sexual abuse and assault cases in Iredell and Alexander counties. Since 2002, Dove House has worked with six law enforcement agencies, two departments of social services, the district attorney’s office, guardian ad litem programs and multiple medical and mental health providers.
At Wednesday’s gathering, Executive Director Beth McKeithan demonstrated how to bring a smile to faces even in the shadows of heavy work. “The topics we deal with are not happy topics,” she said, nodding to organizations present like Rainbow Kidz, a grief-counseling service for Iredell children.
“People come in here and they’re like, ‘We’re just here to drink a beer’,” she said, prompting laughter from the crowd. Her advice to upcoming beneficiaries, especially those handling heavy issues facing children: “Find a way to focus on the positive.”
For more information on Dove House, click here.
$3,415 for Hope of Mooresville “HOMe”
Hope of Mooresville (HOMe) provides temporary, safe shelter and support services to Mooresville’s homeless women and children. HOMe provides individual case management, financial literacy and life-skills training, connecting guests with critical support resources such as physical and mental health services, resume assistance, employment and stable-housing placement.
Director Amy DeCaron said Hoptown’s donation to HOMe “will make a huge impact on our homeless families — an impact that lasts a lifetime.”
She also thanked Hoptown for “setting an example for our community.”
“You made your business an integral part of our community,” she said, looking at the presented check, “and I can’t wait to spend this helping people.”
For more information on HOMe, click here.