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Jul 26, 2018 4:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Businesses Honor 'Week of Hope' With Yellow Balloons At Storefronts

Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving and Walk of Hope founder Audrey Gruss on Thursday. DANA SHAW
Jul 31, 2018 3:37 PM

For the next week, 45 businesses in Southampton Village will have yellow orbs with “Hope” written on them outside their front doors.

Much more than a decorative addition, these eye-catching objects—essentially beach balls propped up on stands—are meant to symbolize support for the first-ever Week of Hope, on behalf of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s mission to raise awareness of depression and mental health issues.

The stores participating include Catena’s Food Market on North Main Street, Fowler’s Garden Center on North Sea Road and the HSBC Bank on Nugent Street.

The event began on Thursday, July 26, and will culminate on Sunday, August 5, with the third annual Walk of Hope 5K Run around Lake Agawam at 9 a.m., with all of the proceeds from the walk going to fund research into the root causes of depression in the brain and new treatments. Last year’s walk had more than 150 participants and raised over $150,000.

The event kicked off at the Jennifer Miller Jewelry store on Jobs Lane on Thursday, July 26, with Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving and Audrey Gruss, founder and president of the research foundation. Ms. Gruss herself was wearing yellow, which she and the research foundation have established as “the color of hope,” for being “very positive, very light, very open.”

Ms. Gruss said that the balloons are meant to attract passing pedestrians, who will then be offered an informational card about the purpose of the balloons and information about the Walk of Hope.

“Depression is such a major international health problem,” she said. “It’s the number-one reason in the world for disability, according to the World Health Organization. We want people to know that there is help, and we need more research.”

Ms. Gruss founded the research foundation 12 years ago in honor of her mother, Hope, who struggled with depression. She added that 50 percent of the people who suffer from depression don’t respond to current medications that have been around for more than 30 years, emphasizing the need for more thorough research.

The foundation itself works with doctors who collaborate in the hope of making new breakthroughs. A Southampton resident, Ms. Gruss said that living in the village inspired her to have the Walk of Hope this year and the inaugural Week of Hope. She credited local residents and business owners with not only listening to her case for the need to address depression but also wanting to help the cause.

“Just walking around town with my associates, we said, ‘Would you be able to put this balloon up and give this handout?’ and so many of them were very interested,” Ms. Gruss said. “It really shows community support for a major issue that’s been in the press lately. All of these suicides shouldn’t be happening if the people get help.”

Mayor Irving showed his support for both events and the efforts of Ms. Gruss. “Southampton has a very congenial group of people,” he said. “The retail operations are really helping out tremendously, and what better venue to have a walk at than around the lake?”

A statement from Jennifer Miller Jewelry said the store was “thrilled” to support the event. Ann Madonia, owner of Ann Madonia Antiques also on Jobs Lane, also welcomed a balloon in front of her store.

“There are so many people suffering, so I think more awareness helps the cause,” Ms. Madonia said.

Those looking for more information or who wish to donate can visit hopefordepression.org.

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Wasn't there a balloon-ban implemented in the Village by the same Mayor last year?

Let's HOPE we don't all get DEPRESSED when there are deflated balloons all over the place.
By deepchanel (63), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 18 4:33 PM
mylar balloons were banned
By lursagirl (192), southampton on Jul 26, 18 5:52 PM
Please see below for a statement from Hope for Depression on the "balloons." Each of the 45 "balloons" will be responsibly removed.
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:21 AM
No balloons...They are killing the environment and our wildlife!
By lursagirl (192), southampton on Jul 26, 18 5:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Please see below for a statement from Hope for Depression on the "balloons." Each of the 45 "balloons" will be responsibly removed.
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:20 AM
lets hope they don't end on our beaches. walk every day and pick up balloons all the time as well as other garbage left on the beach
By xtiego (670), bridgehampton on Jul 26, 18 8:13 PM
Please see below for a statement from Hope for Depression on the "balloons." Each of the 45 "balloons" will be responsibly removed.
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:20 AM
I remember years ago, when people would stand outside grocery stores with a can to collect money for various diseases, usually cancer, and wondered why nobody ever asked for money to research or help those affected by mental illness. I thought it was because people were uncomfortable with that (awful) subject and it seemed like nobody wanted to touch it. How things have changed! And I like the cheery yellow signs! I'd like to thank all of the business' that are not afraid to fly yellow balloons ...more
By pigroast (72), East Quogue on Jul 26, 18 10:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for your support of Hope for Depression Research Foundation.
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:20 AM
cantena's?
By BrianWilliams (59), on Jul 26, 18 10:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe “Union Cantenas”? LOL
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Jul 29, 18 4:06 PM
Maybe “Union Cantenas”? LOL
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Jul 29, 18 4:29 PM
Catena's nothing to do with Union
By metsfan2 (143), southampton on Jul 29, 18 7:22 PM
These balloons are attached to a stand. They are basically a beach ball . They will NOT end up in our oceans. And each one will be removed by the HDRF team . Spread some Hope bc the world needs it.
By toes in the water (705), southampton on Jul 27, 18 7:11 AM
The headlines next to each other on the 27east website Friday Morning are perfectly ironic.

"...Balloons at Storefronts" next to "Dead Whale Washes up in Napeague"
By Aeshtron (220), Southampton on Jul 27, 18 8:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
Please see below for a statement from Hope for Depression on the "balloons." Each of the 45 "balloons" will be responsibly removed.
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:19 AM
Wonderful cause. Unfortunate choice of balloons. Check out balloonsblow dot org
By bambi (69), bridgehampton on Jul 27, 18 9:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for your support. Please see below for a statement from Hope for Depression on the "balloons."
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
Statement from Hope for Depression Research Foundation -- "Hope for Depression Research Foundation would like to address concerns that have been brought to our attention and clarify that the Week of Hope “balloons” that residents will see around the village are not helium balloons – they are more like beach balls that are inflated with air and fully anchored to their stands. Each of the 45 “balloons” will be responsibly removed by the Hope for Depression Research Foundation ...more
By MimiR (7), New York on Jul 27, 18 10:04 AM
Mimir you dont have to explain you are working on a good cause. Some people complain about everything out here. As they drive their gas guzzling Porsche with a bottled water on their way to their giant energy sucking mansion. Ignore them
By chief1 (2562), southampton on Jul 28, 18 9:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
People really should read the articles before commenting , it makes you look ignorant ...
By AndersEn (157), Southampton on Jul 29, 18 5:10 PM
By the way ... it's Catena's , not CaNtena's
By AndersEn (157), Southampton on Jul 29, 18 5:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
You'd think we were living in Berkeley. Since when did everyone become so annoying about everything?
By SlimeAlive (1021), Southampton on Aug 7, 18 6:59 AM
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