The Dog Days of Summer

When most people think of homeless the image often envisioned is one of a person huddled up beneath an overpass wrapped in blankets and scarves. Our minds often go towards the homeless struggling to find shelter and stay warm in the bitter cold months of the year. Obviously that image is true.

But there’s another image that is often overlooked – that is an image of homeless people trying to find someplace safe and shady to cool off in the humidity and blazing sun of the summer.

To think that homelessness is more relegated to the cold months isn’t exactly a true portrayal of the situation. Homelessness is a year-round issue. While the summer seems safer for people because they aren’t dealing with frostbite and wind chill, the summer has it’s fair share of dangers for the homeless including heat stroke, dehydration, bugs such as ticks and mosquitoes, to name a few.

And that’s why our shelter is open for homeless men all year long. We’ve been providing year-round shelter for men since we opened our doors back in 1955. And with the overnight air-conditioned accommodations comes a delicious meal, cool beverages, and a refreshing shower.

During the summer months our ability to provide to hurting people with the help they need is a real challenge. You may not be aware of the difficult financial position we face during the summer months. During July and August, our income often drops, but the need in our community continues, and even increases.

Each year we face a “summer slump.” With summer vacations, picnics, reunions, gardening, and other summer activities, it is often easy to forget the homeless and hungry during the warm summer months. But our needs go on all summer long! And we are confident that our great God will continue to meet our needs through generous, compassionate people like you – just as He’s done since 1955!

Your gift in the summer will help us continue our outreach to needy people in our community and will make a tremendous difference during this challenging season.

Will you consider sending a special gift at this critical time? Remember this – we don’t provide just a handout, The Hope Center embraces people with the love of God. Your gift in the summer will help us continue our outreach to needy people in our community and will make a tremendous difference during this challenging season.

You may send your gift to The Hope Center at P.O. Box 685, Hagerstown, MD 21741. Credit card donations are accepted by calling 301-739-1165 or you may give through PayPal by clicking here: http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/financial-giving

 

 

 

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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. 

Wildside’s Birthday Bash Kicks Off the Party Season!

Imagine one giant party to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Sounds kinda wild, doesn’t it? Well Wildside Youth Ministries likes to do things a little different so they kicked off their school year party season with a huge birthday party celebration!

All the kids who attended the Birthday Bash on September 25th were able to celebrate their birthday. Each month was given a celebration and no one was left out of the fun! 52 kids ages 5-12 attended the first Wildside party of the season where they played birthday themed carnival games, painted faces, made crafts and enjoyed some great food.

But the most important part of the evening was learning about having the most important birthday: a spiritual birthday. The kids in attendance learned all about the importance of being born again and following Jesus.

Wildside is the youth ministry at The Hope Center. In addition to monthly large event parties during the school year, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings during the school year as well as The Crew which is the student leadership development program for older kids in the program. And each summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp for kids in July & August. All Wildside activities are free for kids ages 5-12. Learn more about Wildside and upcoming events by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Your financial donations to The Hope Center help fund these important activities for kids in Hagerstown. We are able to keep Wildside and our other programs and services for free for our guests because of generous and faithful supporters in our community. Thank you for your support of The Hope Center as we continue to reach everyone in our community – even kids – for Christ!

Want to learn more about donating or volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to get all the info you need on how to become a partner with us.

Thank You, Eaton of Williamsport!!

Recently the awesome employees at Eaton in Williamsport had a community drive to collect various items for our residents and guests. DSC_0741

They collected things like socks, washcloths, food, toothpaste, brushes, and other personal care items.

We want to send out a huge THANK YOU to the employees at Eaton, and especially, Jamie, Judy, and Bea who organized the donation drive and also Maddi for reaching out to us.

DSC_0734We are so thankful for this much needed donation to The Hope Center! While food donations are important and much needed, we also often need things like personal care items, medicines, pillows, towels, washcloths and the such. With the men who are residents in our 13-month program, Foundations Life Recovery, as well as the hundreds of transient/homeless who seek shelter every night of the year, we go through a lot of personal care items. And we also gladly hand out personal care items to people in the community who are in need. So receiving these items is such a huge blessing to our program.

Thank you again to everyone at Eaton in Williamsport who was a part of this donation drive!

If you, your place of employment, civic club, church, scout troop, or another organization want to host a food or personal care drive like Eaton then please contact us. We feed thousands of people each year and give out personal care items just as often to anyone in our community in need. These donations help us keep our costs down so we can continue to provide all services free of charge for all guests and residents – especially since we take no government funding or tax money. A tub of toothpaste, a pair of socks, and a jar of peanut butter may not seem like much but they can make the difference in the lives of a needy neighbor more than you will ever know.

To learn more visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. To talk to someone about donating please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net

 

Welcome, Aimee Izer!

At the end of 2017, we said goodbye to our Sorting Room Supervisor, Dorcas Black, as she kicked off 2018 with her retirement. Dorcas, daughter of founders, Jim & Ellen Resh, has been a constant part of the ministry at The Hope Center since it’s very beginning. She has had the role of Sorting Room Supervisor since 2009.

As Dorcas prepared for her exit, we obviously had to find someone to fill her shoes and take over the task of keeping our sorting operation running smoothly and effectively. And we needed to find someone who could be mentored by Dorcas before she retired.

After sifting through over a hundred interested applicants, Aimee Izer was chosen to fill the role as Sorting Room Supervisor. As supervisor, Aimee will manage the employees who sort through all the boxes and bags of donated items. These employees also price all items, from housewares, to shoes, clothing, coats, toys, and everything else in our Thrift Stores. Aimee also makes sure that our stores, in Hagerstown & Chambersburg, have the items they need to keep the shelves and racks fully stocked.

Aimee Izer 1We are so happy to have Aimee join the ministry team at The Hope Center and we’re excited to see how God will use her to help us minister to the thousands of people who visit The Hope Center seeking helping.

We asked Aimee to briefly tell us about herself and the journey that brought her to work at The Hope Center:

“Sometimes the Lord encourages us to take a step of faith and trust His leading. That is what happened to me on November, 27th, 2017. After many months of prayer and searching for a new job with no success, the Lord said, “do you trust Me?” I had left my current place of employment without having the security of something else lined up.

The very next day I received an application in the mail from The Hope Center. I had applied for a position online about two weeks or so prior. The application had a note asking that I please complete and return as soon as possible. I was so excited, I immediately prayed and completed the application, dropping it off the next day. 

That afternoon I received a phone call to set up an interview for the following morning. I came in Thursday to meet with Mr. Shank. After a great meeting, I was offered a job as Sorting Room Supervisor. Praise God! He is so good and His timing is always perfect. I only had one week between jobs. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here. I truly believe that God was working and moving to bring me to where I am. I have been given such a great opportunity to continue to bring new ideas to an amazing ministry. I cannot wait to see how the Lord leads and allows me to become a part of The Hope Center. 

Along with working, I am a wife to my amazing husband, Terry, of 25 years. I’m a mom to four awesome sons, mother-in-law to two beautiful ladies, and “Gigi” to my two grandsons.

When I’m not at work, I love being a mom and grandmother, spending as much time with my family as I can. 

I also enjoy gardening, tea, reading, and decorating. I love the warm months of the year and being outside. 

I serve and awesome God who is so faithful to us. He has been challenging me to not just fill myself up with Him, but to pour out what He has given to me. Then he can continue to fill me again.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

Want to be a part of this ministry and give Aimee and her Sorting Room team something to do? Just donate your gently used items to us! The proceeds from the sales of your items help to underwrite the operating costs of The Hope Center so we can continue to provide free services to all our guests while also never costing the tax payer a penny. And in addition to store sales, any guest who desperately needs items like shoes, coats, clothing or household items can receive vouchers to receive those much needed items for free. Your donation can help so many different people in so many ways!

To learn more about donating to The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

Another Successful Year at Camp Wild

The carefree days of summer have come and gone but while we still bask in the warmth of this long summer season, we can look back at all the fun-filled days of another great year at Camp Wild.

Camp Wild gave over 200 kids in Hagerstown the opportunity to experience a week of action-packed fun where they played games, sang & danced, created art, explored new worlds, made friendships and learned about how to live a life for Christ.

If you’re reading this and you are totally unfamiliar with Camp Wild let us take a quick moment to catch you up to speed. Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. Transportation to and from the camp is provided for free along with lunch and all activities. The morning takes place in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center where the kids have time to play various games and sports while also interacting with our counselors. Then they have a time of praise & worship music where they can sing and dance their hearts out followed by a very interactive lesson time where the kids not only learn about Jesus but are challenged to think deep and learn how to apply what they’ve learned in to everyday life. Following the lesson time the kids break into small groups where they can discuss more with their leader. It’s midday by this time which means that stomachs are growling and it’s time for lunch. After everyone gets their fill of our delicious camp food, we pack up and head out to our outdoor adventure camp area located on the Conococheague Creek near Cearfoss. There the kids enjoy various activities with their groups like Sanaa (arts & crafts area), The Dig (archaeologist treasure hunt), Life Cycles (learning about animal life) and Zulu (African experience) among other attractions. Each day the groups rotate through the various attractions so that each camper has an opportunity to experience each one. Once the group attractions are completed then it’s free time for the campers to enjoy swimming, zip line, snacks, soccer, tubing, hayrides and more.

All of this fun is provided free of charge because we feel it’s important that every kid in Hagerstown has the opportunity to experience a fun-filled summer no matter what. But to keep it free we rely heavily on donations from churches, businesses and individuals in the community. And we’re so thankful for everyone who has partnered with us to provide a great summer for thousands of kids over the years!

And while we appreciate all that our sponsors in the community do, we cannot forget to thank the volunteers who put in countless hours and lots of energy bringing Camp Wild to life and touching the lives of all these kids. We understand that it’s a very tiresome, exhausting and challenging job at times but God has always supplied us with the right people to make our camp perfect each summer. Thank you to all of our counselors, assistants, stage hands, cooks, servers, drivers and anyone else who did so much to change the lives of kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ok, by this point you’re probably ready to see some pics from Camp Wild 2016, aren’t you? We don’t blame you! Enjoy the images of Camp Wild 2016. And if you want to learn more about Camp Wild then go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center doesn’t just host Camp Wild. The school year is full of various free activities for kids ages 5-12. To learn more about Wildside Youth go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. You’ll get all the up-to-date info about anything and everything Wildside.

Interested in volunteering? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com, call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Oh, What a Year!

60th-HiResIt’s always amazing how quickly one year can go by. It seems like just yesterday we were finishing plans for our first 60th Anniversary event in the spring.

And now, here we are at the end of 2015 looking back at what a fantastic year of celebration it has been.

In 1955, God called Jim & Ellen Resh to take a leap of faith and move their young family from Cascade, Maryland to downtown Hagerstown to help reach people in need for Christ.

They packed up their family and belongings and started an adventure backed by faith and never looked back.

Now, 60 years later, thousands of lives have been changed thanks to the faith, dedication and hard work of those who have helped keep the vision of hope alive.

We are so thankful for being able to celebrate 60 years of hope in Hagerstown. We are able to do everything that we do without any financial help from the government. Because God has been so faithful by providing for us through the generosity of our community, we’ve been able to help reunite families, mend broken relationships, restore a life destroyed by substance abuse, provide housing for the homeless, give food to the hungry and reach the young generation with the hope of Jesus.

To everyone who has supported us, helped us, prayed with us and worked with us, we want to say a very sincere and genuine, “Thank You”. God has used you to reach people and change lives in a way that none of us will know until we get to Heaven.

These past 60 years are a testament to the people of this community who put others before themselves and share the gifts that God has provided with those in need.

We thank God for the opportunity to be the oldest, continually operational homeless facility in Hagerstown. We’re here to help the least, the last and the lost. We’ve been doing this for 60 years and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

Now as the clocks signify the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, we look forward to partnering with you in the future to continue the battle against homelessness, hunger and hopelessness.

Thank you for making 2015, and the past 60 years, so memorable!

Happy New Year! May God bless you and your family in great ways during 2016!

If you’re interested in stepping back in time once more or want to see some of the exciting things that happened during our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration then go to http://www.hopecenter60.com. Our anniversary website has plenty of pictures, stories and information about The Hope Center and everything that we’ve done in the past 60 years.