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Hope for All Fundraiser a Community First

By Ken McLemore, 05/23/20 1:21 PM

HOPE — It was the fundraiser that almost failed to upload, making the historic Hope for All: COVID-19 Relief Fund event a first for Hope and Hempstead County as much as it was a child of the digital age.

The entertainment event was designed to function much like a telethon from 7 to 9 p.m., May 21, from its control center at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas-Hope campus. 

Co-organizer Paul Henley, chairman of Hope In Action, said Friday the group has met its goal of $25,000 for the general effort.

“That pretty well put us at our goal of $25,000,” Henley said of the video concert. “Today was the first day Hope for All applications are available; and, we have had some come in already.”

Some 375 devices logged on to the YouTube video during the broadcast through SWARK.today.

The live-streamed video started on time, thanks to some persistence in dealing with the digital world, Hempstead Hall Director Amanda Lance said.

“In the days leading up to the premiere, several unforeseen complications meant the production team had to preview the video late Wednesday night for the first time,” Lance said. “That meant the day of the event we were quickly making those changes and then playing the waiting game while the final video rendered.”

That’s when they hit a glitch in the final moments of the three-hour rendering process, she said.

“The video had exported 93 percent of the way,” Lance said. “I had been watching it export for almost three hours at that point, and to get an error message was just… frustrating.”

The Hempstead Hall crew re-started the export process, which was completed, then transferred to SWARK.today, a Hope-based news website… 45 minutes before it was to go live at 7 p.m.

“It was down to the wire, but it all came together,” Lance said. “While it certainly had its challenges, I could not be any prouder of the event.”

SWARK.today General Manager Bren Yocom was proud of the effort.

“It has been an awesome experience to bring the community together this way,” Yocom said.

The musical line-up for the evening included Arnetta Bradford, Mae Estes, South Down Main, Jennifer Wright, The SWActors, Brady Rhodes, Jimmy Daniels, Jennifer Wright, Daulton Brewer, Wyatt Putman, and Ginger Stockslager.

Concluding act South Down Main spokesman Daulton Brewer was complimentary of the effort.

“South Down Main was honored to be a part of this great cause for our community,” Brewer said.

Hope City Manager Catherine Cook, a co-organizer, said the greater Hope/Hempstead County community has been generous.

“Thank you to so many individuals and groups,” Cook said. “The Hope for All: COVID-19 Relief Group, Hope In Action, Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce, University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, Hempstead Hall, and all of the incredible talent who participated in the Hope for All fundraiser; and, all of those individuals who put it together, including the presenters, SWARK.today.”

Cook said contributions have been steady since the organization formed to provide supplemental financial assistance to Hope and Hempstead County residents directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We especially want to thank all those who have given to this cause when we know that everyone is having a hard time during this pandemic,” she said. “But, you’ve still chosen to give to those in need in our community.”

Cook said the local effort will continue through the course of the crisis.

“We will continue to try and help the community until we see the other side of the current trouble,” she said.

HOPE for All is intended to provide supplemental food, funds for utilities, funds for housing and funds for transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is being administered in collaboration with Hope In Action. Applications are available at the Hope In Action office and the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce office.

Funds raised for HOPE for All will be deposited in a separate bank account created by Hope in Action.

Donations may be mailed to Hope in Action, 606 W. Third St., Hope, Ar., 71801, or can be made directly to HOPE for All: COVID-19 Relief Fund at Farmer’s Bank, 201 E. Third St., or by mail to Farmer’s Bank at P.O. Box 520, Hope, Ar., 71802-0520. For information on donation account designation or other questions, please contact Catherine Cook at 870-703-9811 or Hope In Action at 777-8227 during business hours.

To view the fundraiser video via link, use the link below: