"We never turn anyone away. Our mission is to provide hope to anyone in need, even if they cannot pay. That’s why we are so grateful to all the local businesses who believe in our mission and who are supporting our annual benefit, especially during these challenging economic times. We are all feeling the pressure, so the support for and delivery of our services is especially critical these days,” says Vince Haba, executive director of Advancement of Mental Health (AAMH) in Princeton, which provides low-cost and sometimes free counseling to area residents in Mercer and Middlesex Counties.
Over the last couple years, AAMH has more than doubled the number of clients it serves annually and has a waiting list for adult client programs.
Its annual benefit, Raise a Glass for Hope Wine & Food Tasting/ Auction, takes place on Thursday, April 23, at the Princeton Marriott. The event will feature fine wines, artisan cheeses, gourmet foods, and chocolates. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Outpatient Program, which still provides immediate psychiatric evaluation and ongoing medication monitoring for children under the age 21 and their families.
“Our belief is that children cannot wait for treatment — they need help immediately — especially now that many children are being severely affected by our current economic crisis, which has them confused and worried,” says Haba. “The uncertainty their parents are expressing is magnified because there is little or nothing a child can do to influence or even understand what’s going on. Plus, their parents have few emotional supports themselves and are struggling to cope with the stressors they experience.”
Chef Rory Philipson of Blue Bottle Cafe will conduct a cooking demonstration. Bill Lettier, owner of Bon Appetit Fine Foods of Princeton, will be accompanied by Michel Lemmerling, who is a third generation cheese master. Lemmerling will be serving Beemster Light, which is imported from Holland and is similar to a medium Gouda. He also will be serving one of the few meats that can be imported from Italy — Speck — which is in between a prosciutto and bacon.
Peter Langenstein, founder of Brix26, an online wine retailer specializing in rare California wines, will be flying in from California and bringing with him some small-production, high-quality, family made California wines that are not typically available in New Jersey.
Some of the more unusual silent auction items include: a VIP tasting tour for four at Cakebread Cellars in California, tasting tour for six at Peju Province Winery in California, lunch for 10 with former White House Social Secretary Catherine Fenton, and a tour of the Food Network in New York.
Raise a Glass for Hope, Association for Advancement of Mental Health, Marriott, Plainsboro. Thursday, April 23, 6 p.m. Wine and food tasting, silent and live auctions. Benefit for behavioral healthcare services for children and adolescents. Register. $75; $125 per couple. 609-759-7447 or www.aamh.org.