In Wheeling, the Community Impact Coalition and the Council of Churches unveiled plans for this year’s West Virginia Days of Hope.

The event takes a faith-based approach to helping people who are struggling with addictions and to celebrate their recovery.

The events will begin Friday, September 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church with leaders of various faiths speaking at in interfaith service.

“And then after that, we’re going to do a recovery walk with our support signs down from St. Matthew’s Church down to Center Market,” said Mary Hess, executive director of The Unity Center. “And then at Center Market we’re going to do a Honk-and-Wave just promoting recovery from substance use in the community.”

“It is up to us to remove the stigma that is keeping people from seeking recovery,” said Rabbi Joshua Lief of the Temple Shalom. “And it is up to us to provide the emotional and in some cases financial support to help people find their way to healing because the return on that investment is immeasurable.”

They suggest that leaders of all religious groups consider doing special things that weekend, such as saying prayers for people with addictions.

Rabbi Lief said no one would hesitate to ask their clergy person to visit a loved one in the hospital suffering from cancer.

But they wouldn’t think to ask them to visit a loved one struggling with an addiction.