ELLSWORTH — Helen’s Restaurant will be hosting a Tip-a-Cop fundraising event on the evening of Monday, April 11. Members of the Ellsworth Police Department will be waiting tables and serving guests at Helen’s Ellsworth location (55 Downeast Hwy) from 5 to 7 p.m. to raise funds for Downeast Project HOPE.  

Launched in 2016 by Ellsworth Police Department in partnership with Healthy Acadia with a $2,500 startup grant from the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), Project HOPE (Heroin-Opiate Prevention Effort) is a police-led initiative and community-wide effort that works to connect area residents seeking treatment with recovery resources and treatment they need, locally and/or out-of-state. 

Project HOPE partners work to place participants into appropriate treatment, regardless of their financial situation. Those who ask for help are welcomed into the police station and connected with recovery supports and treatment services, as well as offered referrals to supportive services to continue their healthier lifestyle.

“The search for treatment is incredibly difficult, and for someone who is struggling with substance use disorder it can seem unmanageable,” said Tracy Crossman, Healthy Acadia’s Recovery Resource Navigator and coordinator for Project HOPE. “Project HOPE Angels take on that challenge, and can be the difference between continued substance use or accessing treatment.”

Amplified by the many challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Maine’s opiate and substance use crisis continues to impact individuals, families, and communities, with many areas experiencing their highest drug overdose numbers to date. Increasingly alarmed by the continued increase in opioid overdoses and deaths in the region, Ellsworth City Manager and Police Chief Glenn Mosier is working with Healthy Acadia to boost awareness and utilization of Project HOPE’s services, and to raise much-needed funds for the program. “I just wish more folks would take advantage of all we can offer.” 

Project HOPE has secured additional small grants that have enabled the partners to continue providing the service, however, the project relies heavily on community support. A typical 28-day residential recovery program may cost several thousand dollars per participant. Project HOPE typically has just $1,500 available for each participant, which may only cover their travel expenses.

“We hope that many in our community will come out to Helen’s for dinner on Monday, April 11, and show their support for Project HOPE by making a monetary donation,” said Crossman. 

Project HOPE accepts participants at the Ellsworth Police Department on Tuesdays, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Walk-ins are accepted, but phone calls in advance are encouraged. Participants are screened during an initial intake session and paired with a volunteer “Angel,” who will work to help find an appropriate treatment program and/or recovery supports. Participants are encouraged to turn in their drugs and paraphernalia and will not be penalized for doing so.

To learn more about Project HOPE, connect with an Ellsworth police officer; or contact Tracy Crossman at tracy.crossman@healthyacadia.org or 207-610-0386; or visit www.healthyacadia.org/spr-deph. To connect with Project HOPE, call the Ellsworth Police Department at 207-667-2168 and ask for Project HOPE assistance.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to Project HOPE and are unable to attend the Helen’s/Ellsworth Police Department Tip-a-Cop event, visit https://bit.ly/SupportProjectHOPE or call Shoshona Smith at 207-667-7171 Ext. 210.