A Bowl of Chili and a Smile

On Sunday the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church from Greencastle hosted a lunch for our residents and Soup Line guests! This isn’t the first time the youth group has served at The Hope Center and we were so happy to have them back again this year!

The group was led by youth leader, Vicky Patterson and included eight other volunteers of students and adults. The youth group prepared and served our residents and guests a perfectly fall lunch of chili, cornbread, salad, carrots, cookies and lemonade.

Volunteers make a huge difference at The Hope Center so we appreciate each and every one who gives of their time to serve our residents and guests in some capacity. But there’s just something so refreshing in seeing young people giving back to the community and learning the importance of helping others. Daily we hear and see such tragic news of how loveless and selfish our world seems to be but not often enough are we reminded of the good in the world and how the love of God continues to be spread through the actions of caring people in our community.

We are so thankful for Vicky and the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist for being a part of our story of hope at The Hope Center. We genuinely appreciate the day of service given and look forward to hosting the youth group again next year!

To learn more about St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Greencastle, PA please visit http://www.stmarkstlukeparish.org.

If you’d like your youth group, Sunday School class, civic club, business, or family to serve just like the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email us at volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about serving at The Hope Center.

You Say Tomato…

We go through a lot of food each week. From the multiple meals each day to our residents and guests to the bags of supplemental groceries we give to individuals and families in need, we certainly do use a lot of food.

And when it comes to our food service program, we do our best to make our dining room feel like home to every person who stops by for a meal. While the overall look doesn’t necessarily say “home sweet home” we do our best to make sure the food on the plate has a “welcome home” kind of taste to it.

IMG_7921So our cooks and kitchen staff do everything they can to make sure that each meal is more like how “mom” did it so that our guests feel the comfort of a good homecooked meal.

And one of the most used items in our kitchen, and most kitchens around the globe, are tomato products. Our cooks use tomatoes in a multitude of ways to create delicious comfort dishes to serve.

And as you can imagine we go through a lot of tomato products each month. Right now we are currently in urgent need of tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and whole tomatoes for our daily meals. Any size jar or can of these products would be helpful!

Pantry Needs-001

In addition to the tomato products for our hot meals, we are also in urgent need of 14-16oz jars of peanut butter for our food bags. Peanut butter is one of the most important items at our Food Bank and we go through it the quickest.

We’ve also listed some other items that we use quite often in our food bags for neighbors in need like boxes of mac & cheese and canned meals.

If you, your school, workplace, church or civic club are thinking about hosting a food drive this fall then this list can be a jumping off point to items to suggest for collection.

For more info on how & when to donate or to learn more about hosting a food drive please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And to learn more about our food programs and all the other programs and services at The Hope Center and even how you can get more involved please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

A Sunday School Lesson Brought to Life

Last week our good friend, Amanda, dropped off about 30 goodie bags for our guests at The Hope Center. Inside the bags were a bottle of water, crackers, cookies and fruit snacks.

IMG_7097But Amanda didn’t make these all on her own. In fact, she was just dropping them off on behalf of the children at New Life Christian Ministries. One Sunday morning the kids created these bags as a part of the lesson they were learning about Jesus. They were being taught that Jesus is for everyone – including people in our society who are sometimes overlooked or forgotten about. They created the bags for The Hope Center for us to give out to people so that they don’t feel overlooked but included and loved by God.
We want to say a huge thank you to the kids at New Life Christian Ministries for making the goodie bags for our guests. We handed them out to people who came to our daily Soup Line. The guests who received the bags were so grateful and happy to get the treats to take home!

We also want to thank Amanda and the other children’s ministry leaders at New Life Christian Ministries. What a wonderful way to not only teach the importance of showing God’s love to everyone but also getting the kids involved in a works project for those in need!

We say this often but it never gets old: we’re so thankful for our community! People, like those at New Life Christian Ministries, are helping to make a difference in Hagerstown – even if it’s just simply a bag of treats. And they’re helping to raise a generation who will continue to fight the good fight and show love and compassion to all people . Thank you to New Life Christian Ministries and all the other churches, businesses, civic clubs, organizations, families and individuals in our community who support us in various ways all throughout the year! We truly thank God for each of you and your commitment to taking care of your neighbors in need!

To learn more about The Hope Center and all the ways we help the community or to learn how you can get more involved and partner with us to reach Hagerstown then visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Looking for a church in the Hagerstown area? Why not check out New Life Christian Ministries? New Life Christian Ministries is located at 12031 Hopewell Road in Hagerstown. To learn more about the church, including the service times, various ministries, and upcoming events please go to http://www.nlcm.org.

Greencastle Youth Group Share Christmas Love…And Cookies

We were so excited to have the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Greencastle stop by to serve lunch to our residents and community guests on December 9th!

This was the first time the youth from the church served at The Hope Center and we hope it’s not the last. They served a delicious meal of homemade soup and sandwiches and even made homemade Christmas cookies for everyone.

The youth group at St. Mark the Evangelist meets a few times a month where the students, grades 8th – 12th, learn about their faith or partake in service projects, like serving at The Hope Center, and fun activities geared for them.

We love seeing young people serving their community. The future success of helping people depends on young people getting involved and actively participating in being the hands and feet of Christ in our community. A big thank you to Vicky, youth ministry coordinator, the parents who helped, and most importantly, the students who gave part of their weekend serving others!

For more information on St. Mark the Evangelist please visit http://www.stmarkstlukeparish.org

Another Successful Thanksgiving Feast!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already a week ago! We hope each of you had as great a day as we did at The Hope Center celebrating our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast.

It was a bitter cold day in Hagerstown but inside the Trinity Center it was full of warmth, happiness, gratitude and love! We weren’t sure if the extremely cold temperatures would keep people away but, in fact, they may have brought even more people to our feast. The Trinity Center was packed and people kept coming even as we were ending the meal. We had so many guests joining us that we even started to run out of some of our food like the delicious sweet potatoes!

And speaking of sweet potatoes did you know that we use 18 #10 cans of sweet potatoes? Guess we’re gonna have to up that number next year. It takes a lot of food to feed everyone on Thanksgiving Day. We roasted 18 turkeys for about 300 pounds of the meat to serve. Along with the turkey and sweet potatoes we used 48 pounds of butter, 75 loaves of bread, 275 pounds of potatoes, 26 dozen eggs, and 24 pounds of brown sugar. That’s just a basic glimpse into our grocery list for the day!

But to have a feast the size that we did we cannot underestimate the importance of all the staff, volunteers, and donors who helped make it all possible. From days before Thanksgiving we had volunteers at The Hope Center helping with the turkeys, stuffing, delivering pies, and other activities. And our staff worked hard keeping all the day-to-day activities at The Hope Center running smoothly while also doing so much extra work to prepare for our celebration. And then Thanksgiving Day so many volunteers and staff showed up to make sure this year was the best yet. And they did a fantastic job!

We even had a rare opportunity to celebrate the birthday of Sharon Hughes on Thanksgiving. Sharon is the oldest child of Jim & Ellen Resh, the founders of The Hope Center. Sharon and her family are still actively involved in our ministry and you can often see her and her husband, Henry, volunteering at various activities. In fact, Sharon and Henry were at The Hope Center first thing in the morning to help in the kitchen. And it was Sharon’s sweet potatoes that quickly disappeared during the feast. But on Thanksgiving we were able to share in the birthday celebration of Sharon who was celebrating her 78th year on earth! We are so thankful to be able to celebrate Sharon and her family for all they do and have done throughout the years at The Hope Center. What an incredible testament to Jim & Ellen that their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are still involved in helping their neighbors in Hagerstown. Thank you, Sharon and all of the members of the Resh family who were on hand to help at Thanksgiving!

Again, we couldn’t have done this day without all of our fabulous volunteers who gave of their holiday with their families to be a part of our family for the day. Our Thanksgiving volunteers are always so friendly, happy, and hardworking and we appreciate each of them tremendously. While we did have first time volunteers, we were also excited to see all the returning volunteers who’ve made serving at Thanksgiving a holiday tradition for themselves! It’s always nice to see volunteers who’ve become more like family each year.

And lastly, none of this celebration would be possible without the generous support of our community. Through financial giving and food donations, each of you who gave this holiday and throughout the year are helping to feed thousands of hungry men, women, and children, provide essential necessities like medicine, baby products, groceries, blankets, clothing, and more, and giving housing to at-risk men in the area who are homeless or transient. Your support doesn’t just make Thanksgiving happen. It’s so much bigger than that one day. Your support makes sure that our facility is open every day of the year, during holidays and inclement weather, to help meet the most basic physical and emotional needs of people while also providing spiritual support to help people see the value in themselves exactly the way that God sees them. From providing a free summer camp to city kids, to food bags for families, to hot showers for men who have no where to go, your support makes each day Thanksgiving to thousands upon thousands of people who are often lost or forgotten in our society. And through your generous support we can do all we do without relying on any government money. No tax money is used at The Hope Center so our programs and services are 100% for the community paid for by loving people in the community. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for caring and sharing for the least, last and the lost in our community.

Thanksgiving is such a special time because we see the good in our world and we can thank God for His continued support each year. We hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we hope this holiday season is a true blessing to you and your family. Thank you to everyone who helps make HOPE possible in the heart of Hagerstown! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and may God give you a Happy New Year!

Chick-Fil-A Brings the Happy (and, of course, some Chicken)

Who wouldn’t love a lunch provided by Chick-Fil-A for free? It’s basically everyone’s dream. And for our residents and Soup Line guests that dream became a reality last weekend when staff from Chick-Fil-A in Hagerstown stopped by The Hope Center to host lunch!

Thirteen Chick-Fil-A team members helped prepare, serve, and interact with all of the men, women and children who joined us for lunch. Lead by Mary Teal Medina, the Marketing Director, and Matt Roach, Operations Director, the crew served a delicious meal of BBQ chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle soup over a hot biscuit, and a cookie. And to wash it all down our guests enjoyed some of that delicious southern style sweet tea that is wildly popular at Chick-Fil-A!

It was another full house during Soup Line and our guests enjoyed the great food and good company.

We are so thankful for the team from Chick-Fil-A for volunteering and being involved in helping us feed those in need in Hagerstown. We would gladly welcome Chick-Fil-A back any time, and we know our guests would too!

Thank you so much, Chick-Fil-A of Hagerstown, for taking time out of your schedule to share with our residents and guests!

If you’re reading this and craving some great fast food then swing by Chick-Fil-A on Wesel Blvd in Hagerstown for a sandwich, grilled nuggets, waffle fries, and Chick-Fil-A sauce…or just get whatever makes your heart happy on that menu because you know it’s gonna taste great!

If you, your business, scout troop, church, or civic group would like to join Chick-Fil-A and other local restaurants in serving our lunch guests then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. There’s a genuine need for food assistance in our community and we’re so thrilled to have restaurants in the area team up with us and our other donors and volunteers to combat hunger and hopelessness in Hagerstown. You can join the fight! Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how you can be a part of helping neighbors in need in Hagerstown and the surrounding communities!

New to Hagerstown, BJ’s Restaurant is Making Their Mark in our Community

Earlier this year a new restaurant opened at The Valley Mall and has been the talk of the town – and you can tell by the constant wait times just to dine there.

BJ’s, located at 17318 Valley Mall Rd, has only been opened for a few months but is already making an impact in the community that they serve.

On October 29th, 11 employees from BJ’s in Hagerstown volunteered to serve lunchtime meals to our residents and Soup Line guests as a part of their TASC FORCE (Team Action to Support Communities).

But they didn’t just come to serve the food – they also brought the food. They served our residents and guests food from their own menu at the restaurant and prepared by their own chefs which included salad, pizza, chicken quinoa bowl, grilled chicken alfredo, and chocolate chip cookies! We’re hungry just thinking about all the great food they served!

We had a full house eating lunch that day and we can confidently say that all of our residents and guests enjoyed their lunch from BJ’s! We were so thankful for the crew from BJ’s, not just that they prepared and served lunch, but that they also mingled and interacted with our residents and guests and made their time with us feel like one big family meal.

So we want to say ‘thank you’ to BJ’s for all they did for our residents & guests and we will welcome them back any time they want to help out in the community again!

And if you haven’t been to BJ’s yet then you definitely need to go! If you’ve never heard of BJ’s before then check out http://www.bjsrestaurants.com to see their menu and get business hours.

Our guests and residents can openly attest to their delicious food but in addition to their incredible menu, including everyone’s favorite treat, Pizookie, they also have wonderful, kind employees and are an organization that is committed to giving back to their community and being involved by helping others.

Has BJ’s inspired you or your organization to get involved? If so call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to talk to someone about how you can partner with us to help those in need. You can also learn more about our food services and other community programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

Yo Ho, Matey! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Everyone loves a pirate and a lot of us would love to be one. But unless you work at Disney World, talking like a pirate on a regular basis might draw some funny looks. Fortunately for all the wannabe scallywags out there, there are two days out of the year where it’s absolutely ok to be a pirate – and one of those days is today! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

And the second pirate day, you ask? Well it’s our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess! One Saturday a year Fairgrounds Park is overrun by pirates, princesses, knights, mermaids, and more running for fun and a great cause.

RTR Pirate Princess

On Saturday, April 27th, 2019, anyone and everyone can dress up, act, and run like a pirate! This is your chance to show your pirate side and raise money for a great cause – helping us combat homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown.

We’re currently in the beginning stages of renovating our kitchen, dining, and pantry areas at The Hope Center. Our kitchen feeds hundreds of men, women, and kids a year. Meals are served to anyone in the community who is hungry – no matter age or housing status. But because of how many people we serve, we need to improve and expand our food services area. With a brand new, up-to-date kitchen, larger dining room and more efficient pantry, we’ll be able to help make sure no one in Hagerstown and the surrounding area are ever without something to eat.

Our sponsors and every person who registers to participate in our Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess will be a part of helping to feed the hungry in our community.

 

And who says helping those in need can’t be fun? That’s why we encourage each participant to dress up and invite their family and friends to join them. We even have a 1 mile Kids Fun Run for the smaller buccaneers in your family! From our photo booth, to kids activities, themed music and more, Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is a legitimate race for hope with a fun twist.

So go ahead and mark your calendars now! Saturday, April 27th, 2019, at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. For more info about our 5K please visit http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

So to all you scallywags out there surrounded by landlubbers, happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! And we’ll see you and your best Jack Sparrow inspired self at Rock the Run this April!

 

Thank You, Eaton of Williamsport!!

Recently the awesome employees at Eaton in Williamsport had a community drive to collect various items for our residents and guests. DSC_0741

They collected things like socks, washcloths, food, toothpaste, brushes, and other personal care items.

We want to send out a huge THANK YOU to the employees at Eaton, and especially, Jamie, Judy, and Bea who organized the donation drive and also Maddi for reaching out to us.

DSC_0734We are so thankful for this much needed donation to The Hope Center! While food donations are important and much needed, we also often need things like personal care items, medicines, pillows, towels, washcloths and the such. With the men who are residents in our 13-month program, Foundations Life Recovery, as well as the hundreds of transient/homeless who seek shelter every night of the year, we go through a lot of personal care items. And we also gladly hand out personal care items to people in the community who are in need. So receiving these items is such a huge blessing to our program.

Thank you again to everyone at Eaton in Williamsport who was a part of this donation drive!

If you, your place of employment, civic club, church, scout troop, or another organization want to host a food or personal care drive like Eaton then please contact us. We feed thousands of people each year and give out personal care items just as often to anyone in our community in need. These donations help us keep our costs down so we can continue to provide all services free of charge for all guests and residents – especially since we take no government funding or tax money. A tub of toothpaste, a pair of socks, and a jar of peanut butter may not seem like much but they can make the difference in the lives of a needy neighbor more than you will ever know.

To learn more visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. To talk to someone about donating please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net

 

Rock the Run 5K: Run For a Cause

As you know our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is approaching. On Saturday, April 28th, Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown will play host to a bunch of scallywags, buccaneers, princesses, princes, mermaids, knights and all sorts of interesting folk.

RTR Pirate Princess

We’re so excited for the upcoming race and the fun changes that we’ve made to the 5K this year. But all of the changes that have been made are to give us a fun event that draws people together to run/walk for a good cause. The point of Rock the Run 5K is not just to run around Hagerstown – it’s to raise support and awareness for the community programs that we do at The Hope Center.

We’ve been using the 5K as a way to get people participating who may not actually know much about what we do for the community. And our sponsors help to underwrite the cost of the 5K so the money raised by the participants goes towards the very programs we’re promoting.

As in the past years of Rock the Run, we’ve focused on the programs and services to the hungry and homeless in Hagerstown. And we’re focusing on those same programs again this year, but now we’re taking it up a notch.

We are currently moving forward with a refurbishment and expansion project of our current dining room and kitchen/pantry. The kitchen/pantry is basically the heart of our entire ministry as so many people visit us each day of the year for fresh meals or groceries for their homes. We serve thousands of people a year from a kitchen that has seen better days. We are so thankful for the kitchen that we have because God has allowed us to feed so many. But now we see the need growing and we want to keep up with that need and be able to provide even more. By redesigning the layout and adding an expansion of the current building we will open up so much more space to accommodate more people in our dining room while also creating a kitchen workspace that allows our staff and volunteers to cook and serve more efficiently. And our pantry is going to get expanded too as it serves not only the hot meals served daily but also houses all the food that will go into food bags and boxes for needy families in the community.

So each person who registers to run/walk in our upcoming 5K is helping to create a new experience to feed and help so many more needy people in our community. The money raised here stays here. And since we take no money from the government, all of the programs and services at The Hope Center are truly a community partnership from the hearts of our generous and kind neighbors.

So why not register now to be a part of something huge! And invite your family, friends, neighbors, Sunday School class, coworkers, and anyone else to join you at Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess. And did you know you can even get your kids involved? That’s right! We have a Kids Fun Run at 8:30am just before the 5K itself. For only $5 your kid can be a part of the experience to help those in need. And we’ll have activities for them to participate in while you hit the pavement for the 5K. Just go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register and learn more. And be sure to spread the word!