GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-It’s a sweet treat to remember a special man.
“He loved candy, he always had candy in his pockets,” says Lori Gordon. “He was a candy junkie I used to say.”
Lori’s father Merlin passed away over four years ago. A recovering alcoholic, Lori’s family would celebrate his sobriety anniversary on Aug. 27 each year after he became sober in 1978.
“We always thought it was a big deal to be sober, we wanted to celebrate it because it was a milestone,” says Gordon.
Lori will donate 27 percent of her sales from her small business—called Candycuterie by Lori—to the Jackie Nitschke Center. The business makes candy trays and party platters.
“I don’t think there is anybody in this community that isn’t affected by alcoholism and people want to keep it a secret but we need to get it out there,” says Gordon.
Lori says she started the fundraiser about a week ago and has raised about $100 at this point. She says the fundraiser will continue through September.
Aug. 31 is also International Overdose Awareness day.
“(The day is) to honor those that we lost and to break the stigma of it,” says Michelle Pierquet-Hohner who is the Director of Community and Donor Engagement at the Jackie Nitschke Center.
More than 93,000 Americans died from an overdose in 2020. This is the highest number that has ever been recorded.
There has been a 25 percent increase in overdose deaths this year in Wisconsin with 1500 recorded in the past year. Officials at the Jackie Nitschke Center say isolation caused by the pandemic is part of it.
“The more we talk about it the more we can help,” says Pierquet-Hohner.
Inside the Nitschke Center are plaques with the first names of all those who graduated from the program. The hope is the day of awareness coupled with fundraisers like Lori’s helps get more names on the wall in the future.
Officials at the Nitschke Center say there is not a place in the area for individuals to detox of opioids or methamphetamines which makes it very challenging for individuals to withdraw on their own and puts them at even greater risk for an overdose.