It’s Time for Washington County Gives 2019!

On Tuesday, May 7th, we’re participating in Washington County Gives 2019!

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Washington County Gives is a unique opportunity for people in the area to donate online to various non-profits in the community.

For 24 hours the The Hope Center will be able to accept online donations through this county-wide day of fundraising. Money raised during the campaign will go towards all the programs and services provided for free at The Hope Center.

The Hope Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for people in need. Whether it’s a national holiday or a blizzard, our shelter is always open and our kitchen is always cooking up something delicious!

And we provide all services and programs for FREE to people in need! And on top of that we accept NO government/tax money to operate. Thanks to profits generated from our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown and Chambersburg and through the generous donations of individuals, churches, businesses and civic groups, we are able to meet the needs of thousands of people in the greater Hagerstown area – and we’ve been doing it since 1955!

We are the oldest, continually operating homeless shelter in the area and we aren’t stopping any time soon!

A donation during Washington County Gives will help us continue to help people in need and make necessary improvements to our facilities so that we can plan the future of HOPE in Hagerstown!

We are in the beginning stages of a full refurbishment and expansion of our food services facilities. We’ve outgrown our dining room and pantry and our kitchen is in need of major renovations. Your donation will help us as we move forward in improving the food services area at The Hope Center where thousands of men, women and children receive daily fresh meals and food bag assistance. Your gift is making sure that the homeless will always have a safe place off the streets to get a hot plate of food, the elderly on fixed incomes can have access to healthy meals, and children in Hagerstown will not have to live another day of food insecurity.

To make your donation to The Hope Center on May 7th go to https://www.washingtoncountygives.org/organizations/the-hope-center-661b283e-b24d-4ea7-8fca-8d5e84104eaf

Please encourage your friends, family and social circles to join you in giving to The Hope Center during Washington County Gives 2019!

For more information on The Hope Center go to http://www.hagertownhopecenter.com.

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More Than Just a Thrift Store

by Aimee Izer

IMG_2324Since becoming store manager I have come to realize that The Hope Center Thrift Store is for everyone in the community. I used to think this was a place for only those whose budget was very limited. Boy, was I mistaken. God calls all of us to manage our money and to be good stewards of what He has given us.

The Hope Center Thrift Store is just the place to start. Not only are you able to bring us your gently used or new items that you may no longer need, but it is the place to start to look for those items that you do need. You may be surprised at what you may find, from clothing to housewares, toys, games, puzzles, furniture, decorations, to cosmetic, jewelry and so much more. We have it all.

There are lots of things that you will find that you can repurpose and reuse. Like a dresser that with a little TLC becomes a coffee bar or a piece of pottery that you turn into a bird bath, there is no limit to the things you can do. The Hope Center Thrift Stores are a treasure trove of unique and amazing finds.

Yes, we are a place for those who are struggling financially, and we love helping those in need, it is our purpose and mission. So please keep this in mind: all money taken in by the Thrift Stores goes right back into all the ministries of The Hope Center. As you can see, not only do your donations greatly help, your patronage to the store helps as well.

I encourage you to come to our Thrift Stores and look at what we have; it’s new almost every day. Then when you see all the great finds, tell your friends and family so they too can see what a treasure our Thrift Stores really are.

God is so good, and you may think shopping at the Thrift Store is no big deal, but let me tell you many people will be shown the love of Christ and His gift of salvation through your donations and purchases at The Hope Center Thrift Stores.

 

We have two convenient Thrift Store locations for your shopping pleasure: Hagerstown (corner of Walnut and Church Streets with free parking on our lot off of Church St) and Chambersburg at 64 S. Main Street. For more information about our Thrift Stores please visit https://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/thrift-store

Aimee Izer is manager of our Sorting Department and Thrift Stores. In addition to all she does at The Hope Center she also spends her time reading, gardening, painting, and hanging out with her family. She is happily married for 26 years to her best friend, Terry, and is the mother of 4 boys and the proud grandmother of 4. She attends Evangel Baptist Church in Hagerstown. 

A Little Winter Weather Didn’t Hold Back our Busy February!

February may be the shortest month but it’s always packed with activities and yet somehow always seems like the longest month to get through.

We had a very busy, productive February. Between the snow, ice, warm days and cold days we were able weather all the ups & downs with just some minor cancellations.

As we noted in a previous post, we were able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our Soup Line guests. Everyone had a great time – especially the lucky guests who walked away with some Valentine’s themed prizes!

The kids who attend Wildside parties had a great Valentine’s celebration – also just a week, late thanks to another winter storm. But even with the delayed event, over 50 excited kids decked in red & pink swarmed the Trinity Center for an evening of games, food, prizes and socializing. Adrian, Director of Wildside, also presented the kids with a great interactive lesson about conflict resolution and dealing with problems in a Godly way. At the end of the night, the kids wearing the most red & pink all won special prizes plus one lucky gal won a giant Kit Kat!!

Wildside hosts large themed parties like this each month during the school year. In addition to these events, Wildside Youth hosts Sunday Night Wild a couple times a month plus each summer they host Camp Wild which is a four week day camp for kids in Hagerstown to attend for free! Learn more about Wildside Youth by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

One new thing that happened in February was our first in a series of meetings with some local pastors. On the 19th we had about 10 pastors join us for lunch and a tour of our facility. Several of our employees joined us to talk about their respective ministries at The Hope Center and give our pastors a deeper understanding of the various programs and services we offer the public. Following the lunch we took the pastors on a tour of our buildings where they could see the ministry at work.

We were so thankful for the pastors who joined us and got a connection with our ministry. The local church is our strongest support system in so many ways, but many people in the community, including church leaders, don’t totally know or understand how much we do each day for the community. And as churches donate financially or through other donations like food or gently used items, we wanted the leaders to see what their contributions to our ministry are doing. After talking with the pastors we are so encouraged by the renewed commitment from churches in the area to partner with us to do God’s work of reaching the least, the last, and the lost.

We will be having more meetings like this throughout the year with many more pastors. If you’re interested in seeing or knowing more about our ministry, please contact us. It’s one thing to read about what we do or even glance at a picture here or there. It’s a totally different experience to actually see it in motion. To get basic info about The Hope Center and all our programs and services please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. If you’d like to talk to someone about seeing the ministry first hand please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Clover Bowl InviteWe hope your February was as wonderful as ours! And as this month comes to an end we are excited about all the upcoming activities planned for the spring, like Wildside’s St. Patrick’s Day party on March 5th from 5-7pm in the Trinity Center. This event is free for kids ages 5-12 so call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register.

Another big event we’re excited about is our upcoming Rock the Run: Pirates vs Princess 5K on April 27th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. This is a great event for people of all ages and athletic levels. Whether you RTR Pirate Princessare a seasoned runner or someone who just likes a good stroll, our 5K is perfect for you, your entire family, friends, church, civic group or coworkers. We have a kids One Mile Fun Run that takes place prior to the 5K plus activities for kids during the 5K so bring the whole family! Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register and learn more about the event. And don’t forget to grab your hook and eye patch or your favorite princess outfit for our race! Embrace your inner pirate or princess and join us for a fun activity to race support for The Hope Center!

 

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!

“Those Frightened Eyes Still Haunt Me to This Day.”

By John Miller

JohnMiller (2)It happened 25 years ago. I was in my early 20’s. My wife sat on the kitchen floor looking up at me with tears because in anger I pushed her and she tripped over our young daughter. Those frightened eyes still haunt me to this day. I ran out of our small mobile home into the woods from sheer embarrassment at having abused my young wife. Now, she and our daughter were legitimately afraid of the one who was supposed to protect them from harm.

I found in the woods a huge log, sat down and wept. You see, I was full of rage and unreconciled pain from my childhood. My drug-addicted birth mother abandoned me when I was 9 months of age. She couldn’t handle being a mom and a drug addict so she made her choice and danced her “Woodstock Flower-girl” way into the sunset searching for her next “buzz”. Dad came home from work and found me in the crib with a wet diaper and an empty bottle. Dad was fighting his own demons of alcoholism and the next 14 years turbulently unfolded. We never did see “mom” again, to this day we don’t know where she ended up. Dad went through another bad marriage before he met his third wife and today I claim her as my “mother”.

But in my early 20’s, Dad was still trapped in the bottle and I was working through my own pain of feeling worthless, abandoned, and extremely inadequate to be a father and husband. I became a father at age 16. I did not grow up in church or in a Christian environment. When I met my girlfriend, now wife, we had no Biblical guidelines in our relationship. She stepped off the school bus in our Senior year of high school with tears and told me the news. Everyone pushed abortion but in our hearts we knew that was wrong and had our firstborn 9 months later, I had turned 17.

At age 19, after 2 years of a very troubled marriage, Melissa recovered her childhood Christian Faith and rededicated her life to Jesus Christ. I followed her to church one day and after listening to the Gospel for a few months and researching the evidence for the Bible, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior and Lord! However, though I was truly saved, I had some inner wounds that needed healing.

That day in my early 20’s, as a young Christian sitting on that log in the woods near our home, I poured my heart out to the Lord. I said: “Lord, I know I’m saved, but I’m still struggling with how to control my tongue and my temper. I need your help Lord. I can’t do this alone. You have to help me. I want to be a better man.”

I had to walk back to that mobile home where a frightened mother and daughter waited for the angry monster to return. I walked in with swollen, moist eyes and announced my apology, stating that I am going to change. Well, those are nice words, but we’ll see. What about the next time I become angry? What then? What kind of hope can I give them in that moment to show that I am allowing the Lord to heal my pain and help me recover godly, gentle manhood to lead my family with love and in a safe environment?

I began to study verses of Scripture in the book of Proverbs about anger. I memorized verses like Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 15:18, also Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:21, Galatians 5:22, and Philippians 4:13. These verses became lodged in my heart and mind! God’s Word was bringing about transformation. I urge you to look at these verses that will help not just in areas of uncontrolled anger but any area of weakness and sin that trips you up!

Over a period of time and “proving”, the Holy Spirit had more of me. I didn’t get more of Him, He got more of me as I surrendered areas of my life over to Him and continue to do so every day of my life! You see, this old flesh is still in me! I need these truths every day if I want Jesus to be seen in me. He has brought healing, trust, and a feeling of safety to my marriage. We still have disagreements just like every marriage but now it’s “safe” to argue. And since those early days, my dad and stepmom have given their hearts to Jesus! I baptized them myself! God broke the addictions in their lives and has given them a beautiful marriage.

I don’t know where this blog finds you today but I want you to know there is hope. Hope is found in a personal relationship with the Lord and His Word. God’s Holy Spirit can heal and fill you to overflowing. You cannot do this alone. You need the Lord to give you the strength every day. Please, surrender to Him now and be diligent, intentional, and deliberate in knowing Him and His Word. Call the Hope Center and inquire about how you can learn more about this Hope. It’s the answer! HE is the Answer!

To talk to someone at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Learn more about The Hope Center and all the programs & services we offer the community free of charge by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

John & Melissa Miller are familiar faces around The Hope Center. As former pastor at Faith Christian Fellowship, John & Melissa would help with evening chapel services and have both ministered in various ways to our residents and guests at The Hope Center in the past. Currently they are the V.P. of Operations/Missionaries for Churches in Missions. To learn more about the Millers go to http://www.johnandmelissamiller.com or visit http://www.churchesinmissions.org.

Santa Surprises our Soup Line Guests!

Christmas came and went in a flurry of activity. There’s always so much going on during the holiday season but it’s always worth it all.

Even though Christmas is now a thing of the past, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about all the fun we had – like when Santa made a surprise visit to our Soup Line!

On December 20th, our Soup Line guests were a part of our surprise Christmas celebration. In addition to delicious holiday themed food and treats, our Soup Line guests were randomly chosen for Christmas prizes. But the favorite part for everyone was when our friend, Santa, stopped by to help spread Christmas cheer.

We love celebrating with our community guests who come to our Soup Line each day. Occasionally we host parties celebrating various holidays and other themed events.

Our Soup Line is free for anyone and everyone and takes place every day of the year including holidays and during inclement weather. Our Soup Line is a very important part of our ministry as we are dedicated to combating hunger and making sure everyone in our community has food to eat.

In fact, we are in the beginning stages of a total expansion and refurbishment of our kitchen, dining room, and food pantry. We’ll be moving forward in 2019 to raise funds and begin the expansion project so that we can have enough room to meet the rising numbers of guests coming for meals.

You can be a part of making sure we end hunger in Hagerstown. By hosting food drives, donating meals, and sponsoring our food services campaign, you will help us continue to make sure no one, young or old, is ever food insecure.

Learn more about Soup Line and our food services programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/food-programs

 

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Day Two

The second gift on our list is one that is universally beloved by all: spaghetti sauce! There’s nothing better than sitting down to dinner with a plate filled with hot spaghetti topped off with that delicious sauce.

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We are always in need of spaghetti sauce, especially for our food bag program. In every food bag we put simple, easy, and delicious foods that are generally loved by everyone. And spaghetti easily falls into that category. Spaghetti is a quick but nourishing meal that busy families, or families with limited cooking background, can make without a lot of fuss or time.

But our kitchen also loves using spaghetti sauce for various meals for our residents and community guests so we go through spaghetti sauce quite frequently.

Any donation of spaghetti sauce is welcome but we do ask for 24 oz jars so they can easily fit into a food bag. No matter the brand or the flavoring of the sauce – we’ll use it! And if you’re feeling extra Italian at the grocery store and want to pick up some boxes of spaghetti then we most certainly will gladly accept those as well!

To donate please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Or just swing by and drop off any donations to our office between 8am – 5pm M-F. And please help us by spreading our Christmas wish list to all your friends, family, co-workers, church, civic group or scout troops.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!