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.

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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!

 

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The Spring Cleaning Bug is Striking Early!

Has the hit Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, got you emptying your closets, de-cluttering your house and just getting rid of any excess items?

If so, we can help! Donating your gently used items is a huge way to simplify your life while also helping people in need in your community.

Items donated are either given to people in need or sold in one of our two Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg). Proceeds from our store sales are a major part of our budget which allow us to continue providing all of our programs and services for free to people in need and the sales also help us to take care of the community without costing the taxpayer a penny.

And did you know we can even pick up items from your house? If you aren’t able to drop off your items to our donation drop location at The Hope Center then you can call and schedule a pickup.

We can also give you a receipt for your donated items to be used for tax purposes.

So if the spring cleaning bug has already bitten thanks to a Netflix show, just keep us in mind! Your clothing, kitchen items, furniture, decorations, wall art and more can be put to use to help others in need in your community!

Our donation dock is located at the back of our parking lot off of Church Street in Hagerstown. If you would like to schedule a pickup or learn more about our donation program then please call 301.739.1165.

Happy Kondo-ing!

Our Residents Enjoy a Christmas Party With the CMA!

This past weekend the Christian Motorcycle Association hosted a Christmas dinner for the men who are enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program.

The CMA had a delicious meal prepared for our residents as well as performing Christmas songs, reading the Christmas story from Luke and then giving each resident a Christmas gift bag.

And in addition to all the festivities Santa stopped by to celebrate with our residents!

We’re so thankful for the CMA coming every year to host a Christmas celebration for our residents. The guys in the program are enrolled for 13-months while they work through recovering from the various addictions and issues that have caused them to lose so much. Events like this are so important to our residents who are often estranged from their family and loved ones so these types of activities and investment in their lives show a loving community who is cheering for their success.

We want to thank the CMA again for showing so much support to our life recovery program and for caring for each of these wonderful men who are walking down a difficult but healthy path. And to each of you who’ve donated, volunteered, and prayed – thank you. Each one of you is helping not just to provide housing or food for people in need but also making an investment in the life of these men who are battling addictions. Thank you for partnering with us to restore the lives of so many and show them the love of God. Merry Christmas!

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.

 

In Loving Memory of Jean Blaise Kikudi

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to one of our own, Jean Blaise Kikudi. Jean went home to be with the Lord the end of September at the age of 52. He was employed at The Hope Center as an evening deskman/security for our emergency men’s shelter. But his is the story of God’s transformational love and the visible manifestation of what God is doing in the lives of those who step foot into The Hope Center.

Volunteer Appreciation 2013 019 (2)Jean Blaise was born in the summer of 1966 in the Congo. He earned a BS in Economics and became a naturalized US citizen in February of 2003. Unfortunately Jean Blaise found himself in some trouble and was convicted of a felony and was paroled to The Hope Center. When he first arrived he wanted nothing to do with The Hope Center and it was obvious that he did not want to be here. But in September of 2009 he applied for enrollment to Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month rehabilitation program. On December 1, 2009, Jean was officially entered into the Foundations program to start getting his life back on track.

During his time as a resident in Foundations, Jean totally changed as God began to doDSC_1390 (2) major work in his life. God worked in his life and Jean’s attitude and personality were completely transformed. What was once a scowl on his face became a huge, infectious smile. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!” Jean was not afraid to share his story of transformation and his testimony was incredibly inspiring and one that encouraged the other men in our Foundations program to continue fighting the fight to recovery. Jean completed the program and graduated on April 15, 2011.

Following his graduation he became employed at The Hope Center. He continued to be involved with The Hope Center in other ways including singing with the residents when visiting churches, attending other Foundations Life Recovery graduations, and helping anywhere he could. In addition to helping at The Hope Center, Jean was very involved with his church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hagerstown.

Jean BlaiseIf you’ve ever volunteered at The Hope Center, especially for the evening chapel and community meal, or had hosted our residents at your church you’ve probably seen Jean and his big pearly smile. Jean was a great man who came from a very good family and almost lost it all until God did an incredible work in his life.

We are so deeply saddened by the death of Jean Blaise but it is the promise that God gives us of eternal life that helps us deal with the sudden loss of our graduate, coworker, and most importantly, our friend. His death was shocking and difficult to process but we all have the hope that he’ll be waiting for us with his huge smile as God calls us home one day.

To each of you who have supported The Hope Center by praying, financially sponsoring, donating gently used items, volunteering, hosting food drives, or being involved in any other way, you were a part of helping to change Jean’s life for good. He may never have met each of you and you may never have known him, but God used you to help bring Jean to him and now Jean is singing the song of victory.

Thank you for supporting us as we work each day to help people like Jean. Your support helped save a man and change his life completely. Thank you for caring and sharing. God used your gift and turned it into an investment of eternal proportions.

To God be the glory!

 

Maranatha Brethren Kicks Off our Easter Celebrations!

On Friday, March 23rd, the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church performed their Easter cantata, Blessed Redeemer by David T. Clydesdale and directed by Pastor Dan Thornton.

Every month Maranatha Brethren hosts an evening chapel service for our community guests but twice a year they bring their Christmas and Easter cantatas for an even bigger evening of music and celebration.

Following the spring cantata, Maranatha served up a delicious dinner of homemade soup which was perfect for such a cold evening! Along with the soup was a wide assortment of baked goods and sweets to make every sweet tooth in the room happy.

Our guests had a lovely evening kicking off our Easter week celebration. We’re so thankful for Sue Thornton and Christa Bloom who organize the meal and set up the facility each time, along with the other awesome folks from Maranatha for always providing such a wonderful, festive evening for our community guests each year.

If you’re looking for a place to worship and celebrate Easter this weekend then why not check out Maranatha Brethren Church? It’s located at 19835 Scott Hill Drive just off of Jefferson Boulevard in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.maranathagbc.net to learn more about the church, various programs and to get service times for Easter weekend.

And if your church, choir, or youth group would like to get involved like Maranatha then let us know! Call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. And go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about upcoming events and the many other programs, services and ministries at The Hope Center.

Welcome, Aimee Izer!

At the end of 2017, we said goodbye to our Sorting Room Supervisor, Dorcas Black, as she kicked off 2018 with her retirement. Dorcas, daughter of founders, Jim & Ellen Resh, has been a constant part of the ministry at The Hope Center since it’s very beginning. She has had the role of Sorting Room Supervisor since 2009.

As Dorcas prepared for her exit, we obviously had to find someone to fill her shoes and take over the task of keeping our sorting operation running smoothly and effectively. And we needed to find someone who could be mentored by Dorcas before she retired.

After sifting through over a hundred interested applicants, Aimee Izer was chosen to fill the role as Sorting Room Supervisor. As supervisor, Aimee will manage the employees who sort through all the boxes and bags of donated items. These employees also price all items, from housewares, to shoes, clothing, coats, toys, and everything else in our Thrift Stores. Aimee also makes sure that our stores, in Hagerstown & Chambersburg, have the items they need to keep the shelves and racks fully stocked.

Aimee Izer 1We are so happy to have Aimee join the ministry team at The Hope Center and we’re excited to see how God will use her to help us minister to the thousands of people who visit The Hope Center seeking helping.

We asked Aimee to briefly tell us about herself and the journey that brought her to work at The Hope Center:

“Sometimes the Lord encourages us to take a step of faith and trust His leading. That is what happened to me on November, 27th, 2017. After many months of prayer and searching for a new job with no success, the Lord said, “do you trust Me?” I had left my current place of employment without having the security of something else lined up.

The very next day I received an application in the mail from The Hope Center. I had applied for a position online about two weeks or so prior. The application had a note asking that I please complete and return as soon as possible. I was so excited, I immediately prayed and completed the application, dropping it off the next day. 

That afternoon I received a phone call to set up an interview for the following morning. I came in Thursday to meet with Mr. Shank. After a great meeting, I was offered a job as Sorting Room Supervisor. Praise God! He is so good and His timing is always perfect. I only had one week between jobs. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here. I truly believe that God was working and moving to bring me to where I am. I have been given such a great opportunity to continue to bring new ideas to an amazing ministry. I cannot wait to see how the Lord leads and allows me to become a part of The Hope Center. 

Along with working, I am a wife to my amazing husband, Terry, of 25 years. I’m a mom to four awesome sons, mother-in-law to two beautiful ladies, and “Gigi” to my two grandsons.

When I’m not at work, I love being a mom and grandmother, spending as much time with my family as I can. 

I also enjoy gardening, tea, reading, and decorating. I love the warm months of the year and being outside. 

I serve and awesome God who is so faithful to us. He has been challenging me to not just fill myself up with Him, but to pour out what He has given to me. Then he can continue to fill me again.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

Want to be a part of this ministry and give Aimee and her Sorting Room team something to do? Just donate your gently used items to us! The proceeds from the sales of your items help to underwrite the operating costs of The Hope Center so we can continue to provide free services to all our guests while also never costing the tax payer a penny. And in addition to store sales, any guest who desperately needs items like shoes, coats, clothing or household items can receive vouchers to receive those much needed items for free. Your donation can help so many different people in so many ways!

To learn more about donating to The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.