Kent Goes Purple Campaign Officially Launched


Kent County is going PURPLE and folks are fired up about it.

Kent Goes Purple is a county-wide substance abuse awareness initiative that is being led by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Chestertown Rotary Club to engage our community and youth to stand up against substance abuse. Everyone is getting on board – the county and municipal governments, first responder agencies, other service organizations, churches, the schools, Washington College, local media outlets, and prominent members of the arts, medical, legal, and business communities, are all expressing support for the initiative. Such support is including a stream of generous in-kind and monetary donations to help pay for the promotional and educational materials, projects, and events that have been developed to drive the message home.

“We’ve got a serious problem here in Kent County, and we’ve got to be proactive,” said Kent County Sheriff John Price. “Our belief is that Kent Goes Purple will be an effective way to educate adults and youth about the allure and stranglehold that opioids present.”

Kirk Helfenbein, a Chestertown Rotarian, member of the initiative’s Executive Committee, and funeral director with Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home said “I see on a daily basis the devastation that the opioid crisis is having on local families from all walks of life, and its roots and approaches to possible solutions need to be better understood by the public. We as a community have got to take a stand. I am gratified but not surprised by the outpouring of support, financial and otherwise, Kent Goes Purple is receiving from all corners of the County.” Along with Sheriff Price and Mr. Helfenbein, other members of the Kent Goes Purple Executive Committee include Lt. Dennis Hickman of the Sheriff’s Office, Billy Meekins, Drug Awareness Chairman of the Chestertown Elks Lodge, Chestertown Rotarian Lisa Webb, M.D. of Chester River OBGYN, and Chestertown Rotarian Andrew Meehan of MacLeod Law Group, LLC.

Kent Goes Purple will kick-off on the evening of September 7 when supporters will light up in purple multiple prominent buildings around the County to strengthen public awareness on the opioid epidemic, including at a ceremonial lighting of the County Courthouse during Chestertown’s First Friday festivities. Then get ready for colorful fun on Sunday morning, September 9, for the inaugural Kent Goes Purple 5K Color Fun Run, which begins and ends in Wilmer Park on the banks of the beautiful Chester River. Kent Goes Purple will also be distributing commemorative t-shirts to all Kent County high and middle school students and sponsoring a pre-game rally and halftime show at the Kent County High School v. Kent Island High School varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 14.

Kent is one of five mid-shore counties going purple this year to raise awareness on the region’s shared opioid epidemic, including Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, and Queen Anne’s. Each local initiative is being independently organized and funded. As a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, all donations made to Kent Goes Purple are tax deductible.

To learn more about Kent Goes Purple, to register for the Kent Goes Purple 5K Color Fun Run, and to donate online, visit: Be sure to also find Kent Goes Purple at You can also make contact at

Stay tuned for further announcements, feature stories, and updates.

To learn more about Kent Goes Purple, to register for the Kent Goes Purple 5K Color Fun Run, and to donate online, visit: Be sure to also find Kent Goes Purple here. You can also make contact at

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