Faith Chapel of Johnstown Serves a Heaping Dose of Happy

We were so happy to have some of our friends from Faith Chapel in Johnstown, Pennsylvania serve lunch to our residents and Soup Line guests!

The group of 8 made the two hour trip from Johnstown last Saturday. While they came prepared to cook and serve meals for the community, they also brought donations of diapers, peanut butter, creamer, and clothing for our Thrift Stores!

The group, organized by Larry & Cindy Lazer, also lead singing and an inspirational message for our Soup Line guests before the meal.

This is not the first time that the group has made the trek from Johnstown and we certainly hope it’s not the last. We appreciate their commitment to helping the least, the last, and the lost in the community.

If your church, Scout Troop, youth group, or business would like to prepare and serve a meal just like our friends from Faith Chapel then please contact us. We are always looking for groups to help on the weekend. Please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at The Hope Center! We celebrated today with our Soup Line guests who got special themed treats and a few of our lucky guests went home with some Valentine’s prizes!

Soup Line is our daily free lunch for anyone and everyone in the community. We serve our community meals, like Soup Line, every day of the year including all holidays and during inclement weather.

Soup Line is one of the important parts of our food ministry and a huge part of our goal to end hunger in Hagerstown and surrounding areas and to make sure no one is food insecure – ever.

And thanks to generous people like you who financially sponsor us and donate food all year long, we are able to feed more people than ever. Which is why we are moving ahead with a refurbishment and expansion of our food services area at The Hope Center. In the next coming months we’ll be revealing the plans for an expanded dining room and kitchen to help accommodate the growing number of guests for meals, and a much larger pantry to house all the food that is donated and used for daily meals and our food bag program.

So as we celebrate this day of love, we want to express our love to you for supporting us and partnering with us to feed the hungry in our community! Thank you so much and we love each of you for your kind, caring spirit! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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!