The inaugural Philly Beer Fest is raising money for Trauma Survivors Foundation

Profits from the first-ever Philly Beer Fest are going to support an organization that helps trauma survivors.

People standing together at a table at the Philly Beer Fest

Proceeds from the Philly Beer Fest are going to The Trauma Survivors Foundation. (Courtesy of the Trauma Survivors Foundation)

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The inaugural Philly Beer Fest kicked off at the 23rd Street Armory on Saturday afternoon. Beer enthusiasts from Philly and the surrounding areas gathered and toasted to an organization that helps survivors of trauma. Proceeds from the event will support the Trauma Survivors Foundation.

Dennis Carradin, of Glen Mills, has worked as a trauma therapist for 30 years. He founded the organization after being dispatched to help victims’ family members following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting rampage in 2012 that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

He said in the aftermath of that tragedy he realized something was missing in the basic protocol of care for many people.

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“We rushed in early to help survivors and families and the first responders,” he said. “And then we would leave and not really follow up in the best way that we could, just simply because our job was to kind of help stabilize people.”

A person speaks in front of a group of people with a slideshow in the background that talks about stress-related cardiac arrest for emergency service workers.
The Trauma Survivors Foundation helps first responders. (Courtesy of the Trauma Survivors Foundation)

At that time Carradin met a distraught college student whose nephew had been killed in the massacre. She did not have insurance and did not know where to turn for counseling.

He and a colleague paid for five of her therapy sessions, and now his foundation offers five free sessions with a trained therapist for anyone they serve.

To help raise awareness and money, the foundation participates in many different events across the region, including beer and taco festivals and 5K runs.

Rob Boyle, the president of Bellefonte Brewing Company in Brandywine, said the beer festival is an opportunity for local craft brewers to get exposure.

“And we all love being able to give back to our communities,” he said. “This is just one way where we’re supporting an organization that we know is doing good work in our area.”

Close-up of cans of beer
A variety of different beers are featured. (Courtesy of the Trauma Survivors Foundation)

He said the Trauma Survivors Foundation has been a charity partner of Bellefonte Brewing for several years.

Last year, Dennis became a co-owner of the brewing company after his previous involvement as a charity coordinator.

“He has a real passion for helping people in need,” said Boyle. “He won’t say no to someone who calls him up and says they need to talk.”

Carradin said many people that suffer trauma may not know what to do.

“We recently had someone, they were involved in a house fire, everybody was safe but it was a traumatic experience, they lost everything, and we were able to hook them up with one of our trained therapists,” he said.

He said the Trauma Survivors Foundation now works with 2,500 providers in 41 different states.

“It’s basically a network of trauma therapists that we’ve vetted out that can help people,” Carradin said.“Plus we have our, what we consider our ground crew that goes out to these larger events. We go into situations where there’s a crisis, a mass shooting, a disaster, and we provide mental health therapy, and we provide crisis intervention.”

The foundation also trains first responders and assists them in dealing with crisis intervention. It launched a hospital heroes food drive during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

A sign shows hospital workers and reads, "Thank you for everything you are doing in the fight against COVID-19"
The Trauma Survivors Foundation supports hospital workers. (Courtesy of the Trauma Survivors Foundation)

“To date we’ve delivered 150,000 meals to 125 plus locations, all the way from Massachusetts down to Virginia,” he said. “Originally it was a necessity because nurses, docs, firefighters, police weren’t getting food during the pandemic, but now it’s more out of appreciation.”

The Philly Beer Fest featured 29 mostly local breweries from Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey. Two wineries, a meadery, a cider company and two canned cocktail companies also participated in the festival, with “Mr. Hollywood,” the arena host for the Philadelphia Flyers, providing the music.

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Saturdays just got more interesting.

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