Shelter for the Homeless will commemorate 25 years of providing help and hope to homeless people in a Motown-themed celebration, "Rays of Hope Gala" of the agency's accomplishments on Thursday, April 18, at the Italian Center in Stamford.

According to SFH Executive Director Rafael Pagan Jr., past galas have honored the significant efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations to end homelessness and provide a path to self-sufficiency for men and women in the community.

"This year, we are acknowledging the fact that everything we have been able to accomplish at SFH over the last quarter century -- our emergency shelter and supportive housing, as well as the counseling programs and case management services we offer -- in large part is thanks to the dedicated support of hundreds of volunteers and donors from businesses, religious organizations and the community," Pagan said.

Shelter for the Homeless provides an emergency shelter for men from Stamford, Darien, Greenwich and New Canaan, and health and recovery services, job and life skills training, and transitional and long-term housing.

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A more traditional ceremony of recognition and appreciation in past years, this year's gala is planned as a festive celebration of the agency's anniversary that includes the "Motown sound" of the Silver Arrow Band.

"While homelessness is still an issue and there is still work to be done," said SFH Development Director Peggy Lutz, "Shelter for the Homeless has made significant progress in helping clients regain their independence and dignity. We have numerous success stories and we think that is cause for celebration. Besides, who doesn't like a party?"

The Rays of Hope Gala is the agency's major annual fundraiser. Last year's event raised more than $175,000 and this year's goal is $200,000, which will be realized through ticket sales plus silent and live auctions featuring getaway vacations, entertainment and sports memorabilia, elegant dining, wine tastings, golf outings and more.

"These additional funds will help support the critical programs and services we provide," Pagan said, "so our guests will be doing a world of good by having an evening of fun."

To request an invitation to the gala, contact Lutz at plutz@shelterforhomeless.org or 203-406-0017, ext. 301. For information, visit www.shelterforhomeless.org.