Freezer pleaser: A yummy raffle, free assessments and block party highlight National Recovery Month

September 11, 2013 9:11:01 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


As fundraisers go, it's a delicious one. Picture a new 15-cubic-foot chest freezer. Imagine it filled with steaks, lasagna, casseroles and ice cream. With ground beef, pork tenderloin, pecans and French bread. Don't forget pizzas, cheesecake and ribs. The mouth-watering list of food donated by local restaurants and others goes on. Then imagine yourself winning the freezer and food, and helping someone -- maybe someone you love -- on the path to recovery. 


The Pines and Cady Hill Recovery Center, a division of Community Counseling Services Region VII Mental Health, is raffling the freezer filled with food to raise funds to provide alcohol and drug treatment for individuals in financial need. It's just one way the facility is focusing attention on National Recovery Month, observed every September.  


Excitement will peak on Saturday, Sept. 28, when the raffle winner is drawn at a community-wide block party at Community Counseling Services at 1011 Main St. in downtown Columbus.  


"We were a little nervous with this first-time fundraising raffle, but it's been such a hit!" said Martha Wooten, marketing director for Community Counseling Services, on Monday. She and volunteer Wesley Platt had just put more casseroles, meats and vegetables in a freezer at the facility. The food will soon be transferred to the new freezer that will be delivered to the lucky winner's home. 


"I've seen a lot of the good work they do here -- I believe in what they do," said Platt, who purchased and donated the chest freezer, to assist with the fundraiser. "Winning this will make someone's winter," he added with a smile. 


"We're raising money for scholarships for people to get treatment who could not afford it otherwise," Wooten explained. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by substance use disorders; they affect individuals of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions and socioeconomic levels.  


The Pines (male) and Cady Hill (female) Recovery Center has been providing residential alcohol and drug treatment in the heart of downtown Columbus to individuals from throughout the Southeastern United States since 1976. Through its programs, thousands of people have received the opportunity to live an alcohol- and drug-free life, to contribute in the job market, connect with families and give back to their communities. 


"National Recovery Month is an opportunity for The Pines and Cady Hill to raise awareness about recovery and the challenges faced by those seeking treatment and those who have successfully completed treatment," said Patricia Thornton, clinical coordinator for the Recovery Center. 




Free assessments 


The staff is also offering free alcohol and drug screening assessments each Wednesday this month (normally $150).Initial screening assessments consist of a brief series of questions that provide the individual and family members additional insight in determining if the person might have an alcohol of drug problem. Anyone seeking treatment must complete an assessment or screening first. Admitting there is a problem is the first step to recovery. Call 662-327-7916 to make an appointment.  




Block party and drawing 


The Pines and Cady Hill's observance of National Recovery Month culminates in the block party, sponsored by Mitchell Distributing, Sept. 28, from 4-6 p.m. in the parking lot at Community Counseling Services.  


"We want everyone to come out for family friendly fun like a dunking booth, corn hole toss, volleyball, sidewalk chalk, face painting, live music and good food," urged Wooten. "We want to meet the community where they are, to educate them on what we do. This will be a great way to share in the excitement that is recovery." 


The freezer raffle drawing takes place at 5:30 p.m.; you do not have to be present to win. Tickets are $2.50 each, available at The Pines/Cady Hill office at 1011 Main St. and at Financial Works at 401 Seventh St. N. For more information, contact the Recovery Center, 662-328-7916. 


Increase your chances by purchasing multiple tickets. "You'll be helping us help others," said Wooten, who is using her mother's and grandmother's recipes (shared below) to help fill the freezer.  








1 box Duncan Hines butter cake mix 


3 eggs 


1/2 cup oil 


1 (15 ounce) can of blueberries, drained 


1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese at room temperature 




  • Mix eggs, cream cheese and oil by hand. Add in the cake mix then fold in blueberries. 


  • Grease a bundt pan. Pour batter in and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from the pan. This cake freezes beautifully. 


    (Source: Harriet Clark Allen) 








    3 pounds of ground beef 


    2 big white potatoes 


    1 family sized frozen VegAll (carrots, green beans, peas, corn, no okra) 


    2 onions, chopped 


    2 large cans whole tomatoes, mash and remove the core 


    1 can shoepeg corn 


    1 bag frozen butterbeans 


    4 big boxes chicken broth 


    2 cans beef broth 




  • Add salt, pepper, onion, Worcestershire, and a spoon full or two of bacon grease to ground beef and brown. Add all other ingredients and simmer until all veggies are tender, usually about one hour. Freeze in gallon Ziploc bags for the perfect freezer-to-table family meal. 


    (Source: Martha Weaver Clark) 








    2 cups chopped cooked chicken 


    1 package long grain wild rice (orange box of Uncle Ben's original wild rice) 


    I can cream of celery soup 


    1 small jar of pimentos (optional) 


    1 cup mayonnaise 


    1 can seasoned French-style green beans with juice 


    1 can water chestnuts, sliced (adds the perfect crunch!)  




  • Cook rice by directions then mix with all other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add chicken then pour into a greased 9-by-12-inch casserole dish or into two 8-by-8-inch tin casserole pans (perfect for freezing in smaller portions). Stir 1-2 tablespoons of melted butter with a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread or herb dressing mix and spread across the top of the casserole.  


  • Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and the casserole does not have be fully defrosted to bake. 


    (Source: Martha Weaver Clark)

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.