“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.

 

 

“God Gave Me a New Beginning – Even at My Age”

To a lot of people birthdays are kind of a big deal. We all love celebrating the birth of our kids, family, friends and other loved ones. And at The Hope Center it gives us great joy to celebrate the birth of the guys in our residential recovery program: Foundations.

For the residents in our program, the celebration of their birth is special because many of them came to The Hope Center in desperate need of help for victory over addictions and other destructive lifestyles that were destroying them. The fact that we celebrate their life is a major victory for each of these men. And since they’re a part of our family, we love celebrating them!

So last Friday we celebrated the birthday of one of our residents, Terry Barnes. If you’ve volunteered or stopped by The Hope Center there’s a good chance you’ve seen Terry. Since being in the program Terry has worked in our kitchen and more prominently in our shelter as a deskman. So there’s a chance you have seen him smiling around The Hope Center.

IMG_2758But even if you’ve seen Terry you might not know much about him or his journey in life, especially the most recent journey of recovery and redemption at The Hope Center. So we asked Terry to give us a little summary of his thoughts as he celebrates another birthday. Here is what Terry has to say:

“I want to thank God first, then The Hope Center and the pastors and staff. I came to The Hope Center on June 1, 2018. I will graduate January 19, 2020. God has given me a new beginning at even my age. He’s shown me how to be accountable and responsible, and to believe and trust in Him. I say that because I found myself in a very difficult situation last month and God showed me He was right there with me and He gave me patience and strength. When I leave here, I am going to live a different lifestyle and give praise and thanks to God every day for changing my life.”

We are so proud of Terry and all the work he’s put into his personal recovery and relationship with God. He’s just a few short months away from completing our Foundations Life Recovery program. Please continue to pray for Terry as he moves quickly towards that finish line. And please remember to pray for the many other men who are in our recovery program and those who will enter our program hoping for a lasting change and freedom in Christ.

Please join us in wishing Terry a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Here’s to many more, Terry!

And we want to thank our friend, Stormy, for baking another delicious birthday cake for our celebration! Every month we celebrate a birthday Stormy faithfully bakes and decorates a cake for our residents to enjoy. We appreciate her kindness and generosity so much!

To learn more about our recovery program please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/foundations. If you’d like to talk to someone about our program, including enrolling in Foundations, please call 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Two Weeks Until Thanksgiving!

We’re just TWO weeks away from THANKSGIVING!! Who else is excited?????

With Thanksgiving just around the corner things at The Hope Center are picking up as we prepare for our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast on Thanksgiving Day at 11:30am in the Trinity Center.

The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is one of the oldest annual Thanksgiving community meals in the area. This is one of our most cherished traditions but it’s a huge undertaking. Obviously we serve meals to thousands of men, women, and kids throughout the year but our Thanksgiving feast is unique in that this is a special large family celebration for everyone in the community.

Thanksgiving List-001

We created a Thanksgiving Needs List for anyone in the community who might want to help us celebrate and give thanks to God this Thanksgiving. And since we feed people every day of the year, you’re helping us continue to feed your neighbors long after Thanksgiving Day.

Any help is appreciated. We go through a lot of food each month so any and all donations will be used. If you’re interested in donating any of these items for Thanksgiving please contact our office at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

We have been feeding the community since 1955 – thanks to generous, compassionate people like you in our community. We thank God daily for giving us a community who sees the need and steps up to help. To learn more about all the various programs and services at The Hope Center please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Happy, Happy Fall-O-Ween!

We may be a few days away from Halloween but Wildside Youth already started the spooky celebration with their well loved event, Fall-O-Ween!

73 Kids ages 5-12 flooded the Trinity Center for an evening of scary fun! The costumed kids enjoyed playing all sorts of festively themed carnival games in addition to free time play which included a crowd favorite: GaGa Ball!

The kids also had some fun partaking in the Trick-or-Treat Game Show which helped to finish the lesson about “corruption” in the series “Seven C’s of the Bible”. Throughout the various events during the month of October the kids have been learning about how Satan is full of tricks and continues to trick us today but Jesus is the ultimate treat because He loves us, forgives us, and saves us!

The kids this year were also able to experience the Halloween indoor tunnel which is the largest Wildside has done in the past five years. The indoor tunnel may sound silly but anyone who’s experienced it knows how much fun the tunnel truly is! It’s definitely one of the highlights of Fall-O-Ween.

But you know another highlight and fan favorite at Fall-O-Ween??? The food! From hotdogs wrapped to look like mummies to all sorts of treats, the kids at Fall-O-Ween sure didn’t get tricked when it came time to munch down on some great food!

Fall-O-Ween is always a great time for everyone – including our volunteer staff! Even as we’re saying goodbye to Halloween and all the tricks involved, the fun at Wildside is far from over. November ushers in a whole new month of activities for kids.

In November Wildside will host two Sunday Night Wild services (November 3rd & 17th) along with a Thanksgiving Party on November 12th. And then on Thanksgiving Day Wildside will host kids activities at the Trinity Center starting at 11am for our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There’s a lot of fun happening this month at Wildside and your kids can be a part of all the action! Just email info@wildsideyouth.com or call 301.739.1165 to learn more.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. Transportation to and from events is complimentary but space is limited and fills up quickly. Go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com to learn more about our youth program at The Hope Center.

Interested in volunteering and being a part of the fun at Wildside events?? We’re always looking for people to help at our Wildside events so if you’d like to learn more please call 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And as we noted, we are hosting our annual Thanksgiving buffet again this year on Thanksgiving Day (November 28th) at 11:30am in the Trinity Center. Doors open at 11am and kids activities kick off at the same time. All are invited to attend! We’ll have plenty of delicious food like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, succotash, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and more! This is a FREE event for people of all ages and tickets are NOT required. Spread the word and invite everyone to join us on Thanksgiving Day for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast at 11:30am in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center. More info to come so follow us on Facebook @hopecenterhagerstown or call 301.739.1165 for more info.

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!

You Say Tomato…

We go through a lot of food each week. From the multiple meals each day to our residents and guests to the bags of supplemental groceries we give to individuals and families in need, we certainly do use a lot of food.

And when it comes to our food service program, we do our best to make our dining room feel like home to every person who stops by for a meal. While the overall look doesn’t necessarily say “home sweet home” we do our best to make sure the food on the plate has a “welcome home” kind of taste to it.

IMG_7921So our cooks and kitchen staff do everything they can to make sure that each meal is more like how “mom” did it so that our guests feel the comfort of a good homecooked meal.

And one of the most used items in our kitchen, and most kitchens around the globe, are tomato products. Our cooks use tomatoes in a multitude of ways to create delicious comfort dishes to serve.

And as you can imagine we go through a lot of tomato products each month. Right now we are currently in urgent need of tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and whole tomatoes for our daily meals. Any size jar or can of these products would be helpful!

Pantry Needs-001

In addition to the tomato products for our hot meals, we are also in urgent need of 14-16oz jars of peanut butter for our food bags. Peanut butter is one of the most important items at our Food Bank and we go through it the quickest.

We’ve also listed some other items that we use quite often in our food bags for neighbors in need like boxes of mac & cheese and canned meals.

If you, your school, workplace, church or civic club are thinking about hosting a food drive this fall then this list can be a jumping off point to items to suggest for collection.

For more info on how & when to donate or to learn more about hosting a food drive please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And to learn more about our food programs and all the other programs and services at The Hope Center and even how you can get more involved please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

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.