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!

 

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Another Successful Thanksgiving Feast!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already a week ago! We hope each of you had as great a day as we did at The Hope Center celebrating our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast.

It was a bitter cold day in Hagerstown but inside the Trinity Center it was full of warmth, happiness, gratitude and love! We weren’t sure if the extremely cold temperatures would keep people away but, in fact, they may have brought even more people to our feast. The Trinity Center was packed and people kept coming even as we were ending the meal. We had so many guests joining us that we even started to run out of some of our food like the delicious sweet potatoes!

And speaking of sweet potatoes did you know that we use 18 #10 cans of sweet potatoes? Guess we’re gonna have to up that number next year. It takes a lot of food to feed everyone on Thanksgiving Day. We roasted 18 turkeys for about 300 pounds of the meat to serve. Along with the turkey and sweet potatoes we used 48 pounds of butter, 75 loaves of bread, 275 pounds of potatoes, 26 dozen eggs, and 24 pounds of brown sugar. That’s just a basic glimpse into our grocery list for the day!

But to have a feast the size that we did we cannot underestimate the importance of all the staff, volunteers, and donors who helped make it all possible. From days before Thanksgiving we had volunteers at The Hope Center helping with the turkeys, stuffing, delivering pies, and other activities. And our staff worked hard keeping all the day-to-day activities at The Hope Center running smoothly while also doing so much extra work to prepare for our celebration. And then Thanksgiving Day so many volunteers and staff showed up to make sure this year was the best yet. And they did a fantastic job!

We even had a rare opportunity to celebrate the birthday of Sharon Hughes on Thanksgiving. Sharon is the oldest child of Jim & Ellen Resh, the founders of The Hope Center. Sharon and her family are still actively involved in our ministry and you can often see her and her husband, Henry, volunteering at various activities. In fact, Sharon and Henry were at The Hope Center first thing in the morning to help in the kitchen. And it was Sharon’s sweet potatoes that quickly disappeared during the feast. But on Thanksgiving we were able to share in the birthday celebration of Sharon who was celebrating her 78th year on earth! We are so thankful to be able to celebrate Sharon and her family for all they do and have done throughout the years at The Hope Center. What an incredible testament to Jim & Ellen that their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are still involved in helping their neighbors in Hagerstown. Thank you, Sharon and all of the members of the Resh family who were on hand to help at Thanksgiving!

Again, we couldn’t have done this day without all of our fabulous volunteers who gave of their holiday with their families to be a part of our family for the day. Our Thanksgiving volunteers are always so friendly, happy, and hardworking and we appreciate each of them tremendously. While we did have first time volunteers, we were also excited to see all the returning volunteers who’ve made serving at Thanksgiving a holiday tradition for themselves! It’s always nice to see volunteers who’ve become more like family each year.

And lastly, none of this celebration would be possible without the generous support of our community. Through financial giving and food donations, each of you who gave this holiday and throughout the year are helping to feed thousands of hungry men, women, and children, provide essential necessities like medicine, baby products, groceries, blankets, clothing, and more, and giving housing to at-risk men in the area who are homeless or transient. Your support doesn’t just make Thanksgiving happen. It’s so much bigger than that one day. Your support makes sure that our facility is open every day of the year, during holidays and inclement weather, to help meet the most basic physical and emotional needs of people while also providing spiritual support to help people see the value in themselves exactly the way that God sees them. From providing a free summer camp to city kids, to food bags for families, to hot showers for men who have no where to go, your support makes each day Thanksgiving to thousands upon thousands of people who are often lost or forgotten in our society. And through your generous support we can do all we do without relying on any government money. No tax money is used at The Hope Center so our programs and services are 100% for the community paid for by loving people in the community. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for caring and sharing for the least, last and the lost in our community.

Thanksgiving is such a special time because we see the good in our world and we can thank God for His continued support each year. We hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we hope this holiday season is a true blessing to you and your family. Thank you to everyone who helps make HOPE possible in the heart of Hagerstown! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and may God give you a Happy New Year!

Another Happy Halloween at The Hope Center!

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and Christmas will be here before you know it so before we get swept away in all the holiday buzz, we’re taking a quick look back at all the fun had at The Hope Center at Halloween!

Wildside Youth Ministries had a huge turnout of kids ready to celebrate their annual Fall-O-Ween party. On October 23rd, 74 kids dressed up in their favorite costumes and partied all evening long with Halloween themed carnival games, group activity games, ate some delicious food, and learned all about God’s light replacing sin while using a jack-o-lantern as an illustration! It was a great night to be a kid in Hagerstown.

Then on Halloween we hosted a surprise party for our Soup Line guests. We had a full house who came for some great food and thanks to Jeannie in our kitchen they got a wonderful meal. And to keep it festive we had Halloween themed treats along with prizes for random, lucky guests. But in the spirit of Halloween all of our guests took home a bag of Halloween candy! We love hosting special holiday parties at Soup Line with our community guests. After thanking us for the celebration, one guest said, “it was nice to feel like a kid again!”

Thanksgiving 1Now that Halloween is a thing of the past it’s time to look ahead at all the fun we’re having at The Hope Center in November. And of course the main thing we’re preparing for is our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast on Thanksgiving Day. Our buffet lunch begins at 11:30am in the Trinity Center with kids activities beginning at 11am. There’s plenty of parking located on our central lot off of Church Street between Walnut & Prospect Streets. And there’s always tons of food for our guests to enjoy so invite your whole family and all your neighbors!

And for the kids in your family don’t forget to bring  them to Wildside’s Thanksgiving Party on November 13th from 5-7pm at the Trinity IMG_9175Center. And they’re also welcome to come at 11am on Thanksgiving Day for kids activities prior to our Thanksgiving buffet. All Wildside activities are free. Register your kids by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com. Learn more about Wildside activities by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

 

 

Rock the Run 5K: Run For a Cause

As you know our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is approaching. On Saturday, April 28th, Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown will play host to a bunch of scallywags, buccaneers, princesses, princes, mermaids, knights and all sorts of interesting folk.

RTR Pirate Princess

We’re so excited for the upcoming race and the fun changes that we’ve made to the 5K this year. But all of the changes that have been made are to give us a fun event that draws people together to run/walk for a good cause. The point of Rock the Run 5K is not just to run around Hagerstown – it’s to raise support and awareness for the community programs that we do at The Hope Center.

We’ve been using the 5K as a way to get people participating who may not actually know much about what we do for the community. And our sponsors help to underwrite the cost of the 5K so the money raised by the participants goes towards the very programs we’re promoting.

As in the past years of Rock the Run, we’ve focused on the programs and services to the hungry and homeless in Hagerstown. And we’re focusing on those same programs again this year, but now we’re taking it up a notch.

We are currently moving forward with a refurbishment and expansion project of our current dining room and kitchen/pantry. The kitchen/pantry is basically the heart of our entire ministry as so many people visit us each day of the year for fresh meals or groceries for their homes. We serve thousands of people a year from a kitchen that has seen better days. We are so thankful for the kitchen that we have because God has allowed us to feed so many. But now we see the need growing and we want to keep up with that need and be able to provide even more. By redesigning the layout and adding an expansion of the current building we will open up so much more space to accommodate more people in our dining room while also creating a kitchen workspace that allows our staff and volunteers to cook and serve more efficiently. And our pantry is going to get expanded too as it serves not only the hot meals served daily but also houses all the food that will go into food bags and boxes for needy families in the community.

So each person who registers to run/walk in our upcoming 5K is helping to create a new experience to feed and help so many more needy people in our community. The money raised here stays here. And since we take no money from the government, all of the programs and services at The Hope Center are truly a community partnership from the hearts of our generous and kind neighbors.

So why not register now to be a part of something huge! And invite your family, friends, neighbors, Sunday School class, coworkers, and anyone else to join you at Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess. And did you know you can even get your kids involved? That’s right! We have a Kids Fun Run at 8:30am just before the 5K itself. For only $5 your kid can be a part of the experience to help those in need. And we’ll have activities for them to participate in while you hit the pavement for the 5K. Just go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register and learn more. And be sure to spread the word!

2017: A Year to Remember

I don’t know about you but it just seems that each year gets a little shorter and goes by a little faster. 2017 is quickly coming to an end but it literally feels like it just started. It’s definitely been one interesting year.

2017 had it’s ups & downs, good times  & bad, high points & low points but with everything going on in our nation and in the world in general, we’ve seen God working and doing things at The Hope Center more than ever. God has been blessing this ministry and He has given us so many wonderful people in the community who have helped us make 2017 one of the best years ever!

From hosting another successful Rock the Run 5K in April, to Camp Wild in the summer, The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast, and all the other activities in between, it truly has been a great year and we’re thankful to each one of you who volunteered, donated, supported, and prayed for us in 2017.

But we’re excited and looking forward to all the incredible and amazing things God will do in the upcoming year. And once again we will be hosting our Rock the Run 5K in April except we’ve got a pretty big (and fun) twist on it this year! You and your friends & family will definitely want to be a part of that. And along with our 5K we have so many other activities, events, and opportunities for you to get involved in bringing hope to Hagerstown.

And as we’re on the cusp of a brand new year we want to give one final salute to 2017. And there’s no better way to do that than posting pics from all the various things that happened at The Hope Center this year. And if these pics aren’t enough and you just need to see a few more then jump over to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on the ‘More’ tab in the upper tool bar. There you can click on the Year In Pictures gallery. Enjoy the look back at 2017! And Happy New Year!

Spring 2017 is Going to be Wild!

We’re two months into 2017 and things are getting already getting crazy! And no, we’re not talking about the unseasonably warm, but wonderful, weather we’ve been experiencing.

We’re talking about all the exciting and fun activities hosted by Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center!

In January Wildside hosted a Football & Cheerleader party to celebrate the Super Bowl and then they turned right back around and hosted a Valentines party to celebrate everything about love.

These large themed events are free for any kid ages 5-12. Each month Wildside has a fun theme for each event complete with games, activities and food to celebrate the theme. Kids from all over Hagerstown join their friends at Wildside to have fun, eat some great food and learn some Biblical lessons in a way that is geared specifically for them.

Sorry your kids missed the events in January and February? Don’t worry, there’s still so much more fun for kids the rest of the year. Take a look at the upcoming schedule of events and mark your calendars to make sure that your kids don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Wildside Spring 2017 Schedule:

  • March 5th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • March 14th – St. Patrick’s Party (5-7pm)
  • March 19th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 2nd – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 11th – Easter Party (5-7pm)
  • May 7th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • May 16th – Camp Wild Kick-Off Party (5-7pm)
  • May 21st – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)

And like we’ve already mentioned, all this is provided free for the kids. Thanks to the generous financial donations of people and groups in our community along with funds generated from the proceeds of sales in our two Thrift Stores, Wildside is able to reach these kids for Christ and provide a safe and fun atmosphere for them to let loose and enjoy life.

If you’d like to learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries or Camp Wild hosted by Wildside Youth then go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com and http://www.campwildusa.com. To register your kids or talk to someone about Wildside events call 301.739.1165 or email us at info@wildsideyouth.com.

Thinking about volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about all the various ways, including Wildside Youth activities, that you can become a volunteer and help make a difference in our community.

Our Residents Party with the Kingdom Heirs

On Saturday, December 17th our residents were treated to a special Christmas event just for them!

The Kingdom Heirs Chapter #459 of the Christian Motorcyclists Association spent Saturday afternoon feeding and fellowshipping with our residents.

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The local motorcycle club prepared a delicious meal, brought Christmas gifts and spent time talking with our men and even singing Christmas songs together.

Everyone had a great time…especially Derek who borrowed a tambourine to accompany his well-known smile during the Christmas songs.

We want to thank The Kingdom Heirs for investing time in our residents this Christmas. For most people Christmas is a time of celebration with family and friends but for others it’s a hard reminder of the harsh reality of life. The Kingdom Heirs took time out of their busy holiday season to make sure that our men had a great time and were reminded that the entire point of Christmas is that God proved how much He loves each of us no matter what.

Our men enjoyed this Christmas party and many didn’t want it to end!

Thank you, Kingdom Heirs, for showing our guys exactly what Christmas is truly about. We want to make sure that our residents and guests feel God’s love during this season instead of emptiness, loneliness and hopelessness. The Kingdom Heirs definitely helped to make our residents feel special and we can’t thank them enough for all they did!