CONCORD, NH — A raffle of six bottles of rare whiskies and bourbons held by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission raised nearly $102,000 for displaced restaurant and hotel workers in the state who have lost their jobs or need assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The raffle donation brings the total amount of money raised for the New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging Association’s New Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund to around $280,000. About $136,000 in one-time grants of $250 has been released to qualified applicants. According to New Hampshire Employment Security, restaurant and hospitality businesses have been the hardest hit in the state: Food services and drinking places job losses account for around 26,000 of the nearly 158,000 unemployment claims since March 15.
"We are very proud that our Restaurant Relief Raffle has raised $102,000 for the New Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, which provides critical financial assistance to individuals working in the hospitality industry across our state during this challenging time," said NHLC Chairman Joseph Mollica. "We are pleased to play a part in supporting the hardworking individuals who make New Hampshire such a warm and welcoming destination."
The raffle winner was Patricia Cassell of Amherst.
"I am completely shocked to have won," said Cassell. "My boss heard about the raffle from his friend on Lake Winnipesaukee and he told me, knowing how much my family enjoys whiskey. Even if I didn’t win, I knew the $100 was going to a good cause — but I still can’t believe I was selected. My kids say I should open a bar with all the prizes, but I’m going to enjoy these bottles for a very long time."
Cassell and her husband, Jim, will be enjoying decades-old, rare bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace O.F.C and Sazerac Rye from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, and selections from Heaven Hill and Michter’s. They also received gift cards and other items as part of the price package.
The fund, according to Mike Somers, the president of the association, are welcomed.
"This contribution provides a tremendous infusion of funds that will provide much-needed relief for those who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19," he said. "We cannot thank NHLC and its customers enough for their support."
During the past six years, the liquor commission and its retail, brokers, suppliers, and other partners have raised more than $2.4 million for nonprofits and charities.
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