“The Best Gravy You’ve Ever Had!”

Another year hosting our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is in the books!

Our annual holiday celebration, which is one of the oldest and longest continually running community Thanksgiving meal in the city, was another success as people from all over the area joined us to volunteer or enjoy the feast as guests.

Our kitchen was busy days before the feast preparing various dishes for the buffet including the roast turkey and our famous (and delicious) stuffing.

But as the sun rose on Thanksgiving our kitchen crew knew exactly what to do: prepare the best Thanksgiving buffet in town!

And they sure did! The feast this year was absolutely delicious. From the amazing stuffing made by Dorcas Black to the “best gravy you’ve ever had” by Diane Ellis, our guests, staff and volunteers sure did have a great spread to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

But before the meal was served , our guests were treated to a great message by Matt Sargent who was the former director of our Foundations Life Recovery program. Matt had a little fun with the crowd by presenting them with a plated preview of the Thanksgiving feast which turned out to be the meal Snoopy served to Charlie Brown. But then he came clean and presented everyone with an actual plate of the delicious food they were about to enjoy. He brought it all together to remind each of us that God has great things for our lives and that we shouldn’t just settle for the “Snoopy meal” of life when God is busy working to provide us with an amazing “Thanksgiving feast” in life.

Once the message was concluded and the meal was prayed over, our guests were eager to hit up the buffet line! Everyone enjoyed all the wonderful food and most had no problem going back for seconds.

We are so thankful for all of our volunteers and staff who helped to make this Thanksgiving successful. There are so many people who work behind the scenes in preparation to the feast, and so many wonderful volunteers who give up their holiday to serve others. We are beyond grateful for everyone who played a role in our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There are many names we’d like to mention – but more on that at a later time.

Our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is a chance for us to celebrate all that we’ve been given throughout the year and to come together to give thanks to God for His continued blessings and faithfulness in our lives and at The Hope Center.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together to collectively give thanks to our great God. But we are always in a spirit of gratitude to God for all He does at The Hope Center throughout the year. From the men in our Foundations Life Recovery program whose lives have been changed and freed from the dangerous addictions and abuses that have caused so much physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, to the families who receive clothing assistance, to the kids who are learning and growing spiritually at Wildside Youth, to being able to provide safe overnight housing to homeless men and feeding thousands of hungry people each year, God continues to wow us with all His blessings and continued faithfulness to this ministry and our call to reach the least, the last, and the lost for Him.

And we can see God at work each and every day because of the faithful and generous people in our community who have partnered with us to keep our doors open for almost 65 years. And not only do we keep our doors open – we don’t charge our neighbors in need a dime to receive services. And even more amazing is that we receive no tax money from the government. Each day operating is a miracle because God continues to send all the right people to help provide all of our needs. And we can’t thank Him enough for each of you.

Each of you are having a profound impact on our community and in individuals lives whether you totally realize it or not. Every time you drop off a bag of clothing, buy a can of coffee, donate financially, volunteer an evening, you are helping to fight the good fight and bring HOPE back to thousands of people.

So thank you for your compassion and dedication to The Hope Center. Each life is precious and we are using the resources that you help to give to remind each person who comes to The Hope Center that they are important, they valuable, and they are loved – by a great God and His incredible people.

This Thanksgiving, and every Thanksgiving, we are so genuinely thankful for you! You’re making a difference. So again, thank you. We hope God blesses you this Christmas season.

 

 

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.

It’s Always a Pleasure When Chick-Fil-A Stops By!

If you’re like us, you love Chick-fil-A. The delicious food, the clean restaurant, the courteous staff, and the Chick-fil-A sauce (yum!), Chick-fil-A is easily one of America’s favorite places to eat on the go. But then Sunday rolls around and you find yourself craving some waffle fries and grilled nuggets after church but you know that won’t happen because Chick-fil-A is closed. Fortunately Monday is less than 24 hours away!

Even though Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, that didn’t stop the crew from Chick-fil-A from serving their delicious food! This past Sunday, October 20th, a team of 12 from the Hagerstown Chick-fil-A stopped by to prepare and serve lunch for our residents and Soup Line guests.

The Chick-fil-A team included Randy Scott, Franchisee, Mary, Marketing Director and Matt, Executive Director of Operations. The leaders along with the other employees brought some delicious Chick-fil-A food to serve. The lunchtime meal from Chick-fil-A included their famous chicken noodle soup served over warm biscuits, pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches, cookies and some of that delicious Chick-fil-A sweet tea!

Not only did they bring the food and prepare it, they also served it! And just like a visit to Chick-fil-A, the crew served the food with a smile and that courteous spirit we all know and love from the restaurant. And once they were finished with both meals served, they stayed to clean up which allowed our kitchen staff to enjoy a day off!

This isn’t the first time that Chick-fil-A has volunteered to provide and serve food to our residents and guests. And we definitely hope it’s not the last time either – not just because the food is a crowd favorite – but because we genuinely enjoy the enthusiastic, fun-loving and especially courteous attitudes of the crew from Chick-fil-A. It was even fun to watch them play the game Head’s Up! as a group before all of our guests arrived. We just really enjoyed having Chick-fil-A volunteer again this year.

Many local businesses, like Chick-fil-A, serve our residents and guests at various times throughout the year. And so many churches volunteer to prepare and serve dinner and many even host our evening chapel as well. If you would like to join Chick-fil-A and the others by volunteering to serve please email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

Each year we serve thousands of men, women, and children free meals. Our kitchen never has a day off. Whether it’s a holiday, inclement weather, or just a regular day of the week, our kitchen is always open and preparing food so that no one in our community is ever without food.

If volunteering isn’t possible but you’d still like to be a part of feeding the community then consider donating food or becoming a monthly financial donor of The Hope Center. By visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com you can learn about all the various programs and services we provide for free for the community and you can also get all the info needed to learn how you can partner with us to make a difference.

Again, we want to thank Chick-fil-A for stopping by and providing such a great meal and atmosphere for our guests! If you’re craving a chicken sandwich and waffle fries then head over to Chick-fil-A on Wesel Blvd in Hagerstown!

The Fight to End Hunger: Martin’s Food Gives Back

Combatting hunger in our area has been a top priority of ours since the very beginning in 1955. We’ve been providing free meals for the hungry as long as we can remember and even hosting our annual Thanksgiving feast since the mid 1950’s making it one of the oldest community Thanksgiving feasts in the area. Through the years we’ve increased our food services program and have adapted to the ever growing and ever changing needs in our community.

We are still dedicated to fighting hunger in Hagerstown. The goal hasn’t diminished and the challenge is still very real. From serving multiple meals a day to providing food bags assistance to families in need, our food program is a major part of the ministries at The Hope Center.

We have a great staff who run our kitchen and food pantry, making sure that anyone who is hungry or lonely has a safe and welcoming place to enjoy a delicious meal. And our staff always makes sure that we have food bags for families and individuals to supplement their shelves so that no one in our area is ever food insecure.

But we can’t feed all these people without a little help from our friends! We always welcome churches, groups, and individuals who want to pitch in and help serve meals. And we’re always grateful to those who donate food and other items for our residents and guests. Donating food can make a huge difference and produce positive results in our overall budget so that we can use our resources to help more people in more ways and continue to do it all without using any tax money.

Recently managers and employees from some local Martin’s stores came to serve a meal at The Hope Center.

Led by Krista Bloom and represented managers & employees from four local Martins stores, Dual Highway, Maugans Ave, Wesel Blvd, and Smithsburg.

The Martin’s team was at The Hope Center for about 3 hours as they worked food prep, meal set up, food service, and helped to clean up following the meals for our residents and then our daily Soup Line.

In addition to serving food for our residents and guests, the Martin’s team brought food from a food drive along with personal care items collected. They donated over 400 non perishable food items, collected between the four stores, weighing in at over 365 pounds of food!

The team from Martin’s was serving as a part of the September Family Meals Month, part of an initiative from the corporation to help focus on eradicating hunger. This event at The Hope Center was one of five different events that pertained to ending hunger as a part of the September Family Meals Month that the 17 stores in the district participated in.

Throughout the month of September, the district stores tallied up over 148 hours of volunteer service. The group that came to volunteer at The Hope Center had over 36 hours of volunteer service for the September initiative!

Thank you so much to all the wonderful people at Martin’s food stores who volunteered and donated to The Hope Center and all the other food charities in the area! Eradicating hunger is a huge task but with faithful friends, like the volunteers from Martin’s, we can all work together to make sure no one in our area is EVER hungry or food insecure.

When shopping for groceries, please consider visiting one of the Martin’s Food Stores in our area. To find a store go to http://www.martinsfoods.com.

Hunger doesn’t discriminate. It is a real evil that affects all types of people in every age group. If you would like to join the fight against hunger in our area then contact us immediately to learn how you can help just like the kind employees from Martin’s.

To get involved call 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

If you or someone you know is hungry or in need of food assistance please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

To learn more about all the various programs and services offered at The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Ahoy, maties! Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yo ho! Yo ho! Ahoy, scallywags, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Who doesn’t love being a pirate? While talking like a pirate is fun and definitely will turn some heads – how about dressing like a pirate and running a 5K??!!

RTR Pirate PrincessWe may be months out from our 2020 Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess but today is a perfect day to go ahead and mark your calendar for our upcoming 5K on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown!

Talk Like a Pirate Day is a perfect time to invite others to join you in participating (running, walking, strolling, hobbling on your peg leg) or volunteering for our race. It’s a great activity for friends, small groups, landlubbers, coworkers, youth groups, mermaids, teams, buccaneers, and just yourself!

And it’s a perfect family activity too! With a 1 Mile Kids Fun Run prior to the 5K and pirate/princess themed kids activities during the 5K this is a great opportunity to bring the whole family out, dress up, have fun and raise money for a great cause!

Pirate and princess costumes are encouraged but not required to participate or volunteer. But the more the merrier to help make this a one-of-a-kind event in Hagerstown! To get some great ideas or complete your pirate/princess costumes check out Party City or other Halloween costumes stores now for a huge selection of items!

Learn more by visiting rocktherunhagerstown.com or calling 301.739.1165.

Have a great day, scallywags, and we’ll see ye in April!

For Our City: Bridge of Life Teens Serve God in Their Own Backyard

This summer a few teens from One Accord youth group at Bridge of Life Church in downtown Hagerstown took a missions trip. But this missions trip wasn’t to another country or even a different part of the USA – they ministered this summer in their own backyard by volunteering at Camp Wild!

During our second week of camp, 5 teens and youth pastor, Colt Shingler, helped all over the place at Camp Wild. From helping with the small groups, to serving lunches, playing games, riding hayrides, and building friendships with our campers, the teens spent their week changing lives in their own city!

We are so thankful to One Accord for coming to Camp Wild to help minister to the kids of Hagerstown. Teens are so important to connecting with kids in our Wildside Youth program so we’re thankful for each of these young people who happily served each day. And to be able to do a missions trip in your own town is such a fun opportunity and a way to connect the teens with the heart of this city.

If you are looking for a church to attend or a youth group for your teens then be sure to check out Bridge of Life Church in downtown Hagerstown. Visit http://www.bridgeoflife.org to learn more including service times and other ministries.

If your church or youth group would like to help at Camp Wild or any other events and activities at The Hope Center like our upcoming Thrift Store Day on Sept.14th then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

One Major Breakdown, Multiple Headaches & Eight Good Samaritans

In May the baler in our Recycling Program broke down and was inoperable for approximately 3 weeks. While the baler was broke down our Recycling Center got backed up with piles of cardboard that we were unable to bale and truck away.

But then God sent a few good Samaritans, or angels even, to help us get back on track. But before we get to that act of kindness, maybe we should get you up to speed on what exactly our Recycling Center does.

IMG_2882

Most of you know all about the various ministries, programs and services at The Hope Center. But one area that many of you might not be as familiar with – or never even knew existed – is our Recycling Center.

Our Recycling Center is open M-F from 9am – 2pm (closed for lunch 11:30-12:30) and Saturday 9am – 11:30am. Our Recycling Center is manned by one of our Foundations Life Recovery program residents who is assigned to the baling room area of our Recycling Center as a part of the work assignment in the rehabilitation program. The program men who work the baling room are trained to operate the baler and also gain certification to operate a forklift.

The job of the Recycling Center attendant is to receive donations of cardboard; break down boxes; fill baler with the flattened cardboard; bale the cardboard and wrap with baling wires; and finally unload and stack the bales. At 33-36 bales we schedule a truck to pick them up.

In addition to recycling cardboard we also recycle old clothing and rags. The process for baling clothing is the same as cardboard. Now, you may be wondering what clothing ends up in the Recycling Center – good question! Any clothing that we are not able to sell in our Thrift Stores or donate to locals or missions agencies is sent to the baling room to be recycled into something new.  While we do recycle clothing and rags, we recycle much more cardboard because we try to find as many uses for clothing as possible before recycling it.

The Recycling Center is an important, but generally invisible, part of our ministry. So the unfortunate break down of our baler caused quite a few headaches.

And that’s when God sent Terry Izer to help! Terry is the Maintenance Service Manager,  Hagerstown Regional Maintenance of the Maryland Department of Public Safety. But he’s also the husband of Aimee, the manager of our Thrift Stores and Sorting Department at The Hope Center.

Terry is basically a jack of all trades and a master of them all! On top of his busy work schedule and his personal hobbies and family life, Terry lends a helping hand around The Hope Center whenever there’s a need. And this time we had a desperate need that Terry was just the man for. Terry gave of his time to volunteer to help repair our baler.

Even though Terry worked his magic and repaired our baler, the backup of cardboard was already an overwhelming job for our one worker. So Terry put the word out to some of his employees that help was needed to bale up the cardboard that had piled up.

After working their 7am – 3pm shift on Thursday, June 6th, six of his men came in to help get the job done! What a huge blessing these men were to The Hope Center!

We want to thank Steve Staley & Andy Koontz, welders who helped repair the baler, Bob Stine, Randy Mills, Mark Thomas, Marty Kending, Matt Reel, and of course, Terry Izer for all their help and their volunteering spirit!