It’s A Chocolate Thing

Sweet support for Gateway to Discovery

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Avery Thompson, of Fort Dodge, gets a drink from the hot chocolate bar during the 8th annual “It’s a Chocolate Thing” event at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Chocolate lovers are invited to enjoy some sweet treats while supporting a local women’s addiction recovery program.

The 9th annual It’s A Chocolate Thing fundraiser for Gateway to Discovery is Oct. 1 at the Webster County Fairgrounds. The event will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the east auditorium. Admission is $20 per person, with children 12 and under free.

Guests can enjoy an array of sweets created by local talented vendors, visit the Hot Chocolate Bar and bid on silent auction items.

Gateway to Discovery is a faith-based non-profit residential support program that helps women struggling with addiction through a two-year residency program. In addition to providing treatment, classes and a safe living environment away from old social circles rife with substance abuse, the Gateway to Discovery program funds graduates with a humble stipend. Participants also help run the Hope Sweet Hope Studios shop. The program doesn’t receive any government funding, so it relies on community contributions and the chocolate fest is its biggest fundraiser of the year.

“Our program is solely based on donations from the community and this fundraiser is the majority of the money that helps our women to be rent-free for two years while they live in our house so they can focus on their recovery,” said Lyndsey Rholl, program coordinator for Gateway to Discovery.

This year, Gateway aims to make this year’s event the biggest ever and raise $30,000, which would have a “huge impact,” Rholl said.

“It would definitely carry us through for the next year or year-and-a-half,” she said. “We would be able to do some updates to the house and do some other things recovery-related for the women, like retreats and stuff like that. Sober activities are really important.”

Since opening in 2013, Gateway has served several women in the community with its two-year residential program. Graduates and participants in the Gateway program will also be at the chocolate event to talk to guests about the program and to celebrate recovery together.

“Our graduates are all thriving,” Rholl said. “Without this program, I don’t know that they would have made it.”

Josi Pahl, who is now the coordinator for Gateway’s social enterprise Hope Sweet Hope Studio, was the program’s first graduate in October 2015.


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