Wildside Celebrates Easter!

The Easter celebration at The Hope Center kicked off with Wildside’s Easter party in the beginning of April. Over 65 kids from Hagerstown attended the annual event. In addition to games and food, Wildside had a huge Easter egg hunt.

But before the egg hunt the kids enjoyed an interactive lesson which is part of the series, “How Big is My Problem?” This series is centered around conflict resolution and the kids learned at the party about how big our sin problem is and how sin builds a wall of conflict between us and Jesus. But the most important part of the lesson was learning how Jesus chose to resolve our conflict by tearing down the wall and saving us from sin!

The end of the evening saw all sorts of prizes handed out to some pretty good kids who were the winners of the Good Behavior Challenge. The Good Behavior Challenge isn’t an easy task, though. The challenge was to attend the 4 most recent Wildside events and avoid getting a single strike during those 4 events. Wildside started with 53 kids at the beginning of the challenge but by the Easter party only 19 kids were left in the competition. We’d like to announce that Aniya won the giant Easter basket prize and Josiah won the giant chocolate bunny for their continued good behavior at Wildside events! Other kids that evening won prizes for their good behavior during the event.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. In addition to big events like the recent Easter party, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings throughout the school year. Wildside also has a youth leadership program, The Crew, where mature kids in the Wildside program are selected and go through a leadership training program. And one of the biggest Wildside events is Camp Wild – which is quickly approaching. Camp Wild is a free day camp during the summer for kids in Hagerstown’s various neighborhoods and regions. Registration for Camp Wild isn’t open yet but will start soon. Learn more about Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com.

To learn more about all the Wildside activities please visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com. If you’re interested in volunteering for Wildside events or Camp Wild during the summer please email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165.

 

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Join Us for Easter Weekend Activites

We are just days away from Good Friday and Easter and we want to keep you up to speed on all the activities and scheduled changes this weekend as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ!

Easter Closure-001Before we get into the activities we need to let you know that we will be closed on April 19th in observance of Good Friday. That means all offices, our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg, our donation drop center and pick-up, and our recycling will be closed for the day.

Our overnight shelter will be open and operating on normal schedule on Good Friday as well as our food services. Our daily Soup Line will be on holiday schedule which means that doors open at 12:45pm on Good Friday.  For questions or more information please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Even though our offices and stores are closed on Good Friday doesn’t mean that we IMG_4189aren’t celebrating the miraculous resurrection! We are thrilled to have the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church return again this spring to present their cantata, “The Easter Song”. The Easter celebration starts at 7pm at the Trinity Center and there will be a community meal provided by Maranatha along with the show. All are invited to join! This is a great Good Friday activity for the entire family – and it’s free! There’s plenty of parking located on our central lot on Church Street between Walnut and Prospect Streets. Tickets are not required so invite as many people as you want to join you in our Good Friday celebration! If you’d like more information on Maranatha Brethren Church, including Sunday services times for Easter, then please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net or call 301.733.1717.

Easter Bake Sale Full-001Then on Saturday swing by our Hagerstown Thrift Store for our Auxiliary’s annual Easter Bake Sale from 8:30am – 1pm! You’ll be able to purchase some great homemade treats for your Easter celebration like cakes, pies, fudge, cookies and more! Plus our Auxiliary will be selling homemade soup-to-go like Chili, Chicken Corn Noodle and more. The bake sale is only at our Hagerstown location and from 8:30am – 1pm on Saturday, April 20th.

If you are looking for a church to attend on Easter Sunday then please contact us and we can help you find a wonderful place to worship and celebrate the resurrection. We are happy to have so many great churches as partners in our ministry. Please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com to get information on local churches.

And don’t forget that one week after this holiday weekend is our 5th annual Rock the RTR Pirate PrincessRun 5K: Pirates vs Princess on Saturday, April 27th sponsored by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe (potatorolls.com). There’s still time to register and it’s only $25 until April 26th. This is a great event for the entire family because we not only have kids activities planned during the 5K but also a Kids Fun Run prior to the main event. Have the whole family dress up as pirates and princesses, knights or mermaids and have fun hitting the course to raise money for our upcoming renovation and expansion of our kitchen, dining room and pantry! Learn more and register by visiting http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com. And don’t forget to spread the word to your church, co-workers, scout troop, civic club, athletic team or anyone else you see! We look forward to seeing each of you in your eye patches and crowns on Saturday, April 27th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register now!

Faith Chapel of Johnstown Serves a Heaping Dose of Happy

We were so happy to have some of our friends from Faith Chapel in Johnstown, Pennsylvania serve lunch to our residents and Soup Line guests!

The group of 8 made the two hour trip from Johnstown last Saturday. While they came prepared to cook and serve meals for the community, they also brought donations of diapers, peanut butter, creamer, and clothing for our Thrift Stores!

The group, organized by Larry & Cindy Lazer, also lead singing and an inspirational message for our Soup Line guests before the meal.

This is not the first time that the group has made the trek from Johnstown and we certainly hope it’s not the last. We appreciate their commitment to helping the least, the last, and the lost in the community.

If your church, Scout Troop, youth group, or business would like to prepare and serve a meal just like our friends from Faith Chapel then please contact us. We are always looking for groups to help on the weekend. Please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

Goodbye, Sue! Enjoy Your Well-Deserved Retirement!

At the end of October we said farewell and see ya real soon to one of our staff members who was more like family than just a co-worker.

Sue Hosler retired this fall from The Hope Center. She started working with us in December of 2008. During her years as our Administrative Assistant, Sue talked with or came in contact with basically anyone and everyone who had anything to do with The Hope Center. She was the voice you heard when you called and the smile you saw when you dropped by.

We will definitely miss Sue for many reasons, but one major thing we could always count on Sue to do was to keep everything chugging away each day. Maintaining the office and all the various ministries can get pretty hectic and overwhelming, but Sue was able to always keep everything together and organized. During the busy holiday season Sue kept up with all the demands of the job including a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing and handling all the various donations of food and gifts from generous people during the season.

During Camp Wild Sue was always able to make sure parents’ needs were taken care of while various issues were sorted out. Every Monday of a new camp week was an adventure of sorts for Sue as she helped make sure all the concerns of parents were addressed and always kept up with questions about vans and pick up times.

For our Rock the Run 5K Sue made sure we had everything we needed and the event was efficient and fantastic. And the day of the event Sue was there helping to organize the food area for all of our participants and volunteers.

And those are just a few of the ways Sue really had a massive impact on the ministry at The Hope Center. But even beyond the paycheck Sue and her husband, Mark, pastor at Germantown Church of God, lived up to God’s calling by volunteering at various events at The Hope Center and hosting the men who are residents in our 13-month life recovery program, Foundations, each summer for a picnic just for them.

In addition to her job duties, Sue volunteered her time and services for our Party-in-the-Park events, Rock the Run 5K, Thanksgiving Day, Wildside Youth events, Christmas Day celebrations with our residents and community guests, and baking desserts for various activities and events at The Hope Center.

“I came to The Hope Center looking for a job – something to help pay the mortgage of a house we had left in another state and that we thought we had sold. Our tenant/buyers moved out leaving us with the house and the payments.

“What I found was a wonderful community of people who are sharing the Good News of the Gospel while trying to help some of the neediest people in our community. I considered it a joy to work with the Shanks, all my coworkers and faithful volunteers as we provided food, clothing, Godly counsel, shelter to men and activities to children. In everything that happens at The Hope Center the Gospel is presented – every day.

“I have been humbled many times those who I wished to bless by helping them turn around and blessed me.

“While I will no longer be answering the phone or greeting those who walk through the door every day, I will still be involved at The Hope Center. I will still volunteer at Wildside parties for the children. I will still show up at 6:30 AM on race day to volunteer. I will come with my church family to volunteer for evening chapel and the meal once a month. My husband and I will continue to support The Hope Center with our gifts and our prayers. Please consider joining us – pray, give, volunteer.”

Sue has been an incredible staff person, volunteer, and supporter of this ministry and we are so sad to say goodbye. She didn’t just come to do a job. She came to make a difference. And she did just that. Thank you, Sue, for your years of service at The Hope Center and for all the things you did and all the ways you helped reach thousands of people for Christ. We are so blessed to have been able to have you serve with us and we will certainly miss you each day!

 

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!

Another Happy Halloween at The Hope Center!

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and Christmas will be here before you know it so before we get swept away in all the holiday buzz, we’re taking a quick look back at all the fun had at The Hope Center at Halloween!

Wildside Youth Ministries had a huge turnout of kids ready to celebrate their annual Fall-O-Ween party. On October 23rd, 74 kids dressed up in their favorite costumes and partied all evening long with Halloween themed carnival games, group activity games, ate some delicious food, and learned all about God’s light replacing sin while using a jack-o-lantern as an illustration! It was a great night to be a kid in Hagerstown.

Then on Halloween we hosted a surprise party for our Soup Line guests. We had a full house who came for some great food and thanks to Jeannie in our kitchen they got a wonderful meal. And to keep it festive we had Halloween themed treats along with prizes for random, lucky guests. But in the spirit of Halloween all of our guests took home a bag of Halloween candy! We love hosting special holiday parties at Soup Line with our community guests. After thanking us for the celebration, one guest said, “it was nice to feel like a kid again!”

Thanksgiving 1Now that Halloween is a thing of the past it’s time to look ahead at all the fun we’re having at The Hope Center in November. And of course the main thing we’re preparing for is our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast on Thanksgiving Day. Our buffet lunch begins at 11:30am in the Trinity Center with kids activities beginning at 11am. There’s plenty of parking located on our central lot off of Church Street between Walnut & Prospect Streets. And there’s always tons of food for our guests to enjoy so invite your whole family and all your neighbors!

And for the kids in your family don’t forget to bring  them to Wildside’s Thanksgiving Party on November 13th from 5-7pm at the Trinity IMG_9175Center. And they’re also welcome to come at 11am on Thanksgiving Day for kids activities prior to our Thanksgiving buffet. All Wildside activities are free. Register your kids by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com. Learn more about Wildside activities by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.