Lakes Region Uncorked Update

Lakes Region Community Services (LRCS), not unlike so many other non-profits last year, was forced to cancel its signature fundraiser. This year looks to be just as frustrating and results in once again announcing the postponement of the event.

Lakes Region Uncorked, typically held in the fall, is a popular indoor tasting event, allowing over 200 guests to sample the finest of New Hampshire’s wine, beer, spirits, and specialty foods. In 2020 it was a foregone conclusion to cancel. In 2021, LRCS remained ever hopeful that a return to normalcy would invite a return to fundraising.

As LRCS looks into the fall of 2021, it seems prudent to postpone Lakes Region Uncorked.  As your local non-profit serving close to a thousand individuals and families in the Lakes Region, utilizing the manpower of over 500 people, including staff, private providers, and contractors, it is imperative to the organization that they focus on the health and safety of the community first, as the pandemic has not yielded to measures taken to date.

Rebecca Bryant, LRCS President and CEO, expressed disappointment that the event will be postponed, but is cautiously optimistic for 2022. “As Lakes Region Uncorked was to near its 10th anniversary soon, even before the pandemic hit, we had turned to question how we could possibly make this terrific event even better. With indoor, tightly spaced evenings feeling like a thing of the past, we are excitedly looking into bringing Uncorked outside and into the spring. With the beautiful outdoor event locations the greater Lakes Region offers, we are sure this is the right plan for next year.”

While many generous sponsors have continued to contribute even with the event cancellation, Bryant stated that the impact of two consecutive years without an annual fundraiser could not come at a worse time. “Our front line workers, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), Nurses, and Managers working in direct support, are working under untenable circumstances. We were short-staffed before the pandemic, and now we are completely inadequately staffed in services that run 24/7/365. Burnout and turnover plague us every minute of every day, and the funds that we raise support this critical workforce in providing pay increases, extra benefits, training and education, and other direct impact ways that the State’s Medicaid Reimbursement Rates for our services do not allow for.”

Before the pandemic, the provider reimbursement rates in New Hampshire had not been increased in well over a decade, while the agency provided critical services to New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens, with ever-increasing costs. While the last budget cycle provided small increases in 2019 and 2020, those increases were too little too late. Even with a rate increase, the service delivery system is far from bringing the DSP wages to a living wage, and now LRCS is left completely unable to compete with all of the private sector employers around the Lakes Region who are raising wages to attract the dwindling workforce.

Bringing a signature fundraiser back in 2022 will be a much-needed financial boost for LRCS as well as a morale boost for everyone involved within the organization.

You can reach Lakes Region Community Services with additional questions or support at 603-524-8811 or online at lrcs.org. For details on the postponement of Lakes Region Uncorked, visit lakesresgionuncorked.com.