The holidays are a joyous time for many, but for those battling addiction, the celebratory season can often make them feel alienated and lonely. To help make Christmas enjoyable for all community members, staff at Prodigal Sons & Daughters are hosting an alcohol and drug free event that everyone can participate in, and even adds a little bit of competition to the holiday while raising funds for the local nonprofit.
The inaugural Punch-Off Fundraiser will pit teams against each other in a contest to see who can create the tastiest non-alcoholic punch was inspired by the need for a sober event during the holidays, said Prodigal Sons & Daughters co-director and lead counselor Karina Lopez.
“During the holidays, it’s hard for a lot of people who are struggling with addiction,” said Lopez. “During the holidays, there are a lot of festivities that involve drinking, and we often neglect people going through addiction.”
The event will raise much-needed funds for Prodigal Sons & Daughters, a faith-based addiction recovery ministry located in Turlock, to be used for services that help an average of 500 individuals per month in their journey to sobriety. Without funding from community support, the services that the ministry provides – one-on-one counseling, group meetings, art therapy, teen drug education and more – would not be possible, said Lopez.
“For us, the community’s support means everything because we are a nonprofit and survive off of donations,” she said. “We’re blessed to be able to keep our doors open because of them.”
The Punch-Off will hopefully become an annual tradition for the ministry, she added, as it shows that fun can be had without substances like drugs and alcohol.
“We’re trying to get the point across that to have fun you don’t have to go out and drink or do drugs,” said Lopez. “We want to model that behavior for people who might have that kind of mentality.”
In addition to the non-alcoholic punch competition, the event will feature a car show courtesy of the Modesto Misfits, as well as face painting and live music. A panel of judges, which includes representatives from the Turlock Police Department, Umpqua Bank and Aspiranet, will judge the top four punches, chosen by an audience vote.
There are no rules as to how contestants make their punch, but it must be alcohol-free.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of contestants and they all have their own family recipes that they’re going to use – traditions from when they were little,” said Lopez.
The inaugural Punch-Off Fundraiser will take place from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Cornerstone Covenant Church, 4105 Crowell Rd. A donation fee of $50 is required for each team hoping to compete, and registration forms can be picked up at Prodigal Sons & Daughters, located at 352 E. Olive Ave.