Our Block Party Rocked!

On Saturday, May 16th, Walnut Street was the scene of another party for all of our neighbors and friends in Hagerstown!

We hosted a Block Party which was free for anyone in the community. There was plenty to do including a dodge ball tournament, a bounce house, face painting, sports activities, carnival games and plenty of free food!

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Anniversary Block (10)Anniversary Block (21)We’re thankful for all of our faithful friends who volunteered their time and energy to help us throw a great party in the streets! We completely and thoroughly appreciate everything our volunteers do for The Hope Center. Our volunteers have been faithfully serving and supporting this ministry for 60 years and we’re thankful for the strong bond we have with the local community who believe in the importance of reaching, helping, caring, and loving the least, the last and the lost in our city.

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The Block Party was just another fantastic event in our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration! Thank you to all who participated and supported this event.

To see more pics from this event go to http://www.hopecenter60.com and click on the ‘Events’ tab. At the bottom of that page you’ll see a gallery full of pictures from our Block Party.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for upcoming 60th Anniversary events in the fall. There’s more to come so go to wwwhopecenter60.com to learn more about our upcoming events.

In addition to celebrating 60 years of hope, our Block Party was also the kick-off event for Camp Wild 2015, our free summer day camp program for kids in Hagerstown and surrounding areas.

Camp Wild is a summer camp program for kids ages 5-12. Kids can attend one of four weeks during July & August for free. From morning until afternoon, the campers partake in tons of various activities like games, interactive Bible lessons, singing & dancing, art projects, lunch and snacks, hay rides, zip line, swimming, adventure lessons, hiking trails, and so much more. Campers are also given free transportation* to our adventure camp! Camp Wild is definitely a highlight of the summer for hundreds of kids in downtown Hagerstown.

To volunteer at The Hope Center, including upcoming 60th Anniversary events and Camp Wild call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about the many ways you can get involved at The Hope Center.

*Camp Wild transportation is free but limited. Complimentary transportation is only available to select areas of the city during select weeks. Check the transportation schedule at http://www.campwildusa.com to see what weeks our vans will be in your part of Hagerstown. If you can provide transportation then you are free to pick the week of your choice but don’t delay, space is limited. Call 301.739.1165 or email info@campwildusa.com immediately.

Our 60th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off Was a Blast!

Our 60th Anniversary celebration kicked off in March with a party planned outside at Wheaton Park just two blocks from The Hope Center.

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As the day approached, the weather man wasn’t providing us with exactly what we wanted to hear. There were some nice, mild days in the forecast but, unfortunately the day of our outdoor party was not going to cooperate.

We all know that God is in charge of the weather and He wouldn’t allow anything to happen that day that would be more than we could handle so we pressed forward with our plans to host a party for our community. We prayed that the weather would cooperate enough for us to have a good day but, more importantly, that God would bring the crowds to our event.

The morning of our party was much colder than we had hoped. In fact, it was below freezing … literally with a wind chill of 14 degrees. Our volunteers were not going to let a little cold bother them so we began setting up for our party. But God, just reminding us that He’s watching over us and showing us that He’s definitely involved in our event, provided an absolutely unexpected miracle that day.

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The director of the Head Start program at the MLK, Jr. Center had received our fliers about the Party-in-the-Park and had promised to help distribute them in the neighborhood.  Because of the frigid temperatures the morning of the party, this kind lady offered to allow us to use the MLK Jr Center, a community center/gym located just one block away from Wheaton Park. We hadn’t inquired about the building.  We didn’t even know it was an option. But God knew – and He had a plan! 

Of course we couldn’t say no! For the sake of our volunteers and guests we quickly took her up on the offer. And we’re so glad we did! The warmth of the building was a literal God thing that day!

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Our volunteers quickly began setting up the rec center for our event. We had plenty of carnival games, a photo booth, face painting, finger nail painting, food, prizes and more.

As the time approached for the start of our event, we wondered just how many people would brave the chilly weather to come to a park event.

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We never expected to have the turnout as we did. Not only had God provided an indoor facility for us to use, He brought the people out in droves! We had close to 300 guests for our “park” party! The line to get into the building was out the door for a long time!

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Parents, grandparents and kids filled that building with the sights and sounds of happiness & memories being made. Everyone had a wonderful time playing games, goofing around, eating, and just hanging out.

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We even had a surprise visit by the Easter Bunny!

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In addition to all the indoor activities, we were able to have the egg hunt outside for all the families. Over hundreds of eggs filled with candy were hidden in plain view for all the kids who were there. Within a matter of minutes the eggs had been found but not before parents and their children had their chance to have fun together racing around to get as many as they could.

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We had so many prizes that day but we were so excited to have drawings for a few big door prizes like big stuffed animals from LifeWay Christian Bookstore, a Mickey Mouse Easter-themed basket with a special Mickey Mouse plush all the way from Walt Disney World, and a brand new tablet!

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We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our 60th Anniversary celebration! God reminded us that He is still with us, supporting us just as He’s done the past 60 years.

We want to thank so many people for their hard work in making this event come to life.

First, we want to thank the kind people of the MLK Jr Center for offering us their facility to use. We appreciate their commitment to the community and all they do to help improve the lives of our neighbors.

 

DSC_0014We also want to thank a few 4th graders from Fountaindale Elementary School who wanted to do something nice for the community. These girls created “health bags” which were full of personal care items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other items. They collected all the items themselves and put it all together for our guests. These wonderful young ladies made 75 bags for our guests! We’re so thankful that these girls have such a big heart for others and that they actually did something to help make a difference.

To all of our volunteers, thank you! A BIG thank you! These awesome folks were willing to brave the cold temperatures to have this party outside. And they adjusted quickly to the changes once we moved the party indoors. Our volunteers probably had just as much fun as the guests and that’s exactly what we were hoping for. Thank you, volunteers, for giving your Saturday to spend it with total strangers. You may never know the impact you made on the lives of our guests but God does and someday you’ll be amazed at what those few hours on that cold Saturday morning did for someone else’s eternity. Thank you for supporting this ministry and helping us reach so many people for Christ! It’s because of faithful people like you that The Hope Center has been so successful. We thank God for our volunteers and we’re so proud to call you a part of The Hope Center family!

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A big thank you to Maranatha Brethren Church for providing food, prizes, activities and volunteers for this event. To all our donors and supporters, it’s not cheap nor easy to host an event like this but because of your generosity, we were able to provide our guests with a great Easter party!  Even if you only bought a bag of candy, that candy was used to tell someone that they are loved by a great God who cares so much for them. Thank you for caring & sharing and helping us show our community the love of Christ!

To Krista, Gene, Sue and Adrian, thank you for the hours of planning that you put into this event. Your heart for others is evident by how hard you worked to put this entire event together. And even when the weather wasn’t kind, your enthusiasm and optimism helped make the event so successful. We are so beyond thankful for your commitment and investment in this ministry. We know that God will bless you so much more than any of us can imagine and one day in Heaven you will see the rewards of your service. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting together such a great event!

And to Mr. & Mrs. Shank, who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes from day one on this event, and all the other 60th Anniversary events yet to come. This is a challenging year of celebration but God has put the right people in place to make it all come to life! Your love for Christ and this ministry is evident in everything that you do each day and we don’t thank you enough for your hard work and sacrifice. Thank you for all you do and for helping to reach the least, the last and the lost for Christ. Even though its tiring and difficult, just remember as The Hope Center founder, Mr. Resh, would say, “keep on, keepin’ on!” To God be the glory!

Rock the run logo jpgOur 60th Anniversary celebration is rolling right on with our first 5K event in April. Rock the Run 5K: A Race for Hope will take place on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. This race will help to raise awareness & support for the ministry at The Hope Center that deal with homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. So many lives are affected by homelessness and hunger and this is our way of helping to get people involved to end the hopelessness. Registration is only $25 until race day and you can register now at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

Be sure to visit http://www.hopecenter60.com to learn more about The Hope Center, see pictures from the past 60 years, and get all the info about the other upcoming events planned for 2015.

 

It’s Time to Rock and Run!

We are inching closer and closer to our 1st 5K, Rock the Run: A Race for Hope! Have you registered for the race yet? There’s still time, but don’t delay. It’ll be here before you know it.

Rock the run logo jpgRock the Run: A Race for Hope is a 5K race/walk at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown on April 25th, 2015. There will also be a kids race prior to the main event. This is a wonderful opportunity for your whole family to get involved and help reach the less fortunate.

Our Rock the Run: A Race for Hope is an important opportunity for us to expose the community to the struggles of homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. The Hope Center has been open everyday for people in need since our beginning 60 years ago.

We are still dedicated, as we were at the beginning, to helping those in physical, emotional, and spiritual need in our community. Homelessness and hunger can affect anyone at any given time and it is our goal to relieve the burden and stress of the situation by not only addressing the physical needs but the spiritual ones as well.

God has called us to help each other. And for 60 years we’ve been doing exactly that. We’ve seen the demographic trend change from older to younger, from alcohol to drugs, from starving singles to desperate families. God has blessed The Hope Center and we know it’s because of our great support system of friends, volunteers, and donors.

Now, as we celebrate 60 years of helping people in our community, we want to take 60th-HiRestime to help make our community more aware of the reality that is homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown.

And that’s why we’re doing Rock the Run: A Race for Hope. This 5K helps us raise financial support through sponsors and participants, exposes the work of The Hope Center to a new group in our community who may not totally be aware of exactly what we do, and gives everyone a chance to help those in need.

In addition to the run/walk, we’re bringing our donation trucks to the race so that participants and volunteers can donate food items, toiletries, shoes, clothes, and household items. These items will be used in one way or another in our various outreach ministries. From our food bank, to our daily Soup Line, our overnight shelter, to Camp Wild, Family Assistance program, Foundations Life Recovery program, and our Thrift Stores, these donated items will help in multiple ways to provide the physical relief that so many people in our area need.

So go ahead and fill out that registration for Rock the Run: A Race for Hope. You don’t have to be a seasoned runner, you can walk it. And invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, Sunday School class, and more because it’s always more fun to participate in an event like this with friends.

Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to learn more and register for this event. Also, go to http://www.facebook.com/rocktherun5krace to join the community on Facebook. Spread the word and tell others to join you. This is not just an ordinary 5K. We’re coming together as a community to run homelessness out of town. And it all starts with the click of the mouse.

We’ll see you on April 25th in your running shoes!

2014 Year in Pictures: Part 2

This is the second part of a series of pictures celebrating all the people that God brought into The Hope Center in one way or another in 2014.

We appreciate, love, and value each of our guests, staff, donors, and volunteers so much! Thank you to each and every one of you who have partnered with us in 2014. Thank you for your prayers, financial support, volunteer hours, and all the food and gently used goods donated to help us fight against homelessness, hunger, addiction and hopelessness in the name of Christ.

Thank you for helping to make Hagerstown a better place!

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2014 Year in Pictures: Part 1

2014 has all but come & gone. Each year seems to go faster than the one before. And the end-of-year festivities wouldn’t be complete without a look back at the year that just was.

So the next few days we’re going to post some pictures from all the various events, ministries, and activities that took place at The Hope Center.

You’ll see pictures of volunteers, staff, guests, residents, donors and anyone else who helped to make 2014 another great year in Hagerstown!

And while we’re putting 2014 behind us, we’re so excited for the year that’s coming. 2015 is going to be a big year at The Hope Center as we celebrate 60 years of ministry in Hagerstown!

Very soon we’ll be bringing you some information about all the upcoming 60th Anniversary activities that are happening in 2015 so be sure to keep checking back.

We want to thank everyone who helped to make 2014 such a success. From all of our staff, to volunteers, and donors, we appreciate each one of you and your commitment to this ministry. Thank you so much for your support and prayers in 2014 and we look forward to your continued support in 2015!

And now, we bring you the first series of pictures from 2014.

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Congratulations Derek!

We are excited to announce the graduation of Derek from our Foundations Life Recovery program!

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Our Foundations Life Recovery program is a 13 month residential rehabilitation program, based on Biblical principles, for men dealing with various addictions that are destroying them. Our rehabilitation program is not designed to just break addictions or habits, but to also help the man change his heart & mind. It’s not just about putting a new suit on the man, it’s about putting a new man in the suit.

Men in our Foundations Life Recovery program attend many different classes that help them defeat the addictions that have destroyed them. They also attend classes where they learn the value of their life through God’s plan for them. They are given the opportunity to make the changes that will help them leave our program prepared to be a contributing part of society.

When Derek first arrived at The Hope Center, he was just many of the other teens in America: looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong areas.

Derek grew up in the church, taking part in AWANA’s and even attending a Christian school. But Derek’s home life was much different. While Derek’s mother was a Christian, his father was not. He and his dad never really got along, which lead to clashes and Derek’s feeling of insecurity and fear of messing up and not gaining the approval of his father.

Eventually, the issues with his father came to a boiling point and Derek dropped out of church and his Christian school. His life was in a freefall and Derek began wandering aimlessly through life. He moved from group home to group home, institution to institution, just living life without a purpose. His only interests at that time were women and pornography.

Derek arrived at The Hope Center, knowing that he needed a change from his addiction to pornography. Instead of taking this opportunity serious, Derek was actually just hoping to breeze through this program just like the many others he was a part of.

After a while in our Foundations Life Recovery program, Derek realized that he wasn’t able to just do whatever he wanted and get by. He found himself in trouble multiple times, even getting kicked out and put on restrictions.

But God never gave up on Derek, and Derek knew deep down that there was a better life for him. He continued in our program and one day he and God had that moment where it all clicked.

Derek finally hit the point where he was tired of wandering, tired of fighting the truth, and tired of being disciplined. With tears in his eyes he called out, “God, I know you want me to work with kids, so why do I keep falling for this addiction?”

God responded to Derek. He reminded Derek that the reason he is addicted and not able to break free is because “he lost his first love”. God told Derek that he was given a passion to work with children so he could help other kids not “do the same things” he did to find love and acceptance. Derek said God also told him to “be yourself, everyone else is taken”.

This conversation with God was exactly the push Derek needed to finish the program at The Hope Center. Derek began taking his classes seriously. He started attending a church and helping out around The Hope Center. He established accountability with two different area pastors who helped supplement his spiritual instruction at The Hope Center.

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Derek with Pastor Brad Nigh of Hagerstown Christian Church

Derek has achieved a monumental goal in his life: his life has been recovered and he is free from the chains of pornography. On his face he wears one of the biggest, brightest smiles in all of Maryland. That smile is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of Derek’s character and his commitment to following God and living for Him.

As Derek begins a new chapter in his life, he’s excited about the new adventures which are to come. One change that makes him extremely excited: “living on his own for the first time!” Derek is also hoping to volunteer at Wildside Youth Ministries, the youth program for kids at The Hope Center, and other organizations where he can help kids who are heading down the same path he once chose.

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Derek proudly receiving his diploma from Sonny Shank, our Executive Director

In late September we hosted a graduation ceremony to celebrate Derek’s achievement. Residents currently in the Foundations Life Recovery program, staff, volunteers, and people from Derek’s church attended the graduation. Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship.

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We are so proud of Derek and his accomplishment. Our joy is only a small reflection of the celebration that took place in Heaven. Derek is another life changed for God. Instead of becoming another dark statistic, Derek is walking boldly in the light.

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Derek celebrating his graduation with friends and supporters from his church

Please pray for Derek, and the other men in our Foundations Life Recovery program. The decision to clean up their lives is not an easy one, and the devil works overtime to ruin, defeat, and destroy these men. Pray that the men in the program will see the success of Derek and work to conquer the addictions that are separating them from God. And pray for Derek, and the many other graduates, as they embark on a new life of victory. The devil wants nothing more than to see God’s people be destroyed by their weaknesses. Pray that these men find strong spiritual support systems that help them live each day victoriously.

And continue to pray for the staff and volunteers at The Hope Center. The people who serve are on the front line of a very serious spiritual war. They are trying to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of so many. It’s not an easy situation to be in as the devil targets our staff and volunteers.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support of The Hope Center. Because of people like you, Derek was able to have a place to change his life. Your financial support, food and clothing donations, and prayers help to keep our facilities operational all day, every day. From helping addicts with no where to turn, to feeding families, providing shelter for the homeless, and giving kids a safe place to have fun, your support is reaching thousands of people and changing lives. Again we say thank you for partnering with us to help others.

If you’d like to start supporting The Hope Center, call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. You can go to http://www.hagerstownrescue.org and click on the “Give to HRM” tab located in the red box on the left hand side of the page if you’d prefer using your debit/credit card online.

If you’d like to join the ranks of our faithful volunteers, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn about the various ways you can help change lives.

 

Tons of Smiles at our Downtown Block Party

On Saturday, September 20th, Walnut Street in Hagerstown came to life with the sights & sounds of laughter, excitement and people having a great time!

Our youth ministry, Wildside Youth, hosted the Downtown Block Party along with Maranatha Brethren and Valley Grace Brethren Churches.

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The churches came with games, prizes, food, and plenty of volunteers ready to create a fun afternoon for all of our guests.

The Trinity Center was open and housed various food stands like snow cones, hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy along with cold beverages. There was an area set up for our guests to play some basketball and wow everyone with their skills.

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We were also pleased to have a short show by “Bam the Liquid Robot”. Peter Arizmendi, aka Bam, stopped by to entertain our guests with a dance sequence. Peter uses hip hop and his gift of dance to share the Gospel. He’s currently in the process of opening a dance studio in Hagerstown. Bam the Liquid Robot has stopped by Sunday Night Wild in the past and he’s making another appearance in October.

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Outside on the Walnut Street side of our property were all the games and amusements. From a bounce house, to ring toss, to finger nail painting, to street bowling, face painting, carnival games and a waterslide, there were plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained for hours!

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In addition to volunteers from Maranatha Brethren and Valley Grace, our good friends from Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Severn, Maryland drove up for the day to volunteer at this event. We were so happy to see their faces again and we’re thankful for their ongoing support of this ministry and their heart for Hagerstown!

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God provided a beautiful day for our block party as well. The nice warm sun gave people a good reason to come outside and enjoy the festival in the street.

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We estimate that around 250 guests flooded our property to enjoy the free block party together. And the best part was watching kids and parents alike take part in all the various activities!

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We are so thankful for all the resources and hard work that the people of Maranatha and Valley Grace did for this event. We know everyone, from guests of all ages, to volunteers, and even some of our residents, had a great time interacting, socializing, playing, eating and celebrating together. We look forward to hosting this event again in the future.

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If you’re looking for a ministry to get involved with or would like an after-school program for your kids or grandkids to get involved with, check out Wildside Youth Ministries. Go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com for information as well as upcoming activities. All of Wildside’s events are free for kids ages 5-12. If you’d like to talk to someone please call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com.

If you’re currently looking for a church to attend and would like to be a part of a group of people who not only love the Lord but have a heart for service, then check out Maranatha Brethren or Valley Grace Brethren Churches.

For information about Maranatha Brethren Church visit http://www.maranathagbc.net or call 301.733.1717. Maranatha Brethren is located at 19835 Scott Hill Drive just off of Jefferson Boulevard in Hagerstown.

For information about Valley Grace Brethren Church visit http://www.valleygrace.net or call 301.582.0155. Valley Grace Brethren is located at 17310 Gay Street just off of Virginia Avenue in Hagerstown.

If you are interested in volunteering with Wildside Youth Ministries or any other ministry at The Hope Center, including our upcoming Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast, please visit http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.