April Showers… bring May’s Pantry Item of the Month!

We’ve successfully made it through April! With the new month comes the hope of warmer, sunnier weather and the opportunity to start getting out and experiencing our world a little more.

The new month also brings a new pantry need – BOXED DINNERS. Boxed dinners are a staple item in our food bags. From boxes of pasta salad, to Hamburger Helper, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, stuffing mixes, and more, the boxed dinner is an important part of our food bags.

Item of the Month-001

To donate please drop off at our Administrative Office during business hours (M-F 8:15 – 11:30am and 12:15-2pm). Our office closes at 2pm for visitors but we do have staff working until 4pm. To drop off between 2 – 4pm please call our office so we can be prepared. Our offices are located on our central parking lot located at 215 W. Church St. in Hagerstown.

If you’d like to order food online please use 125 N. Prospect St., Hagerstown, MD 21740 as our delivery address. And remember, when shopping at Amazon be sure to use AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) for your orders. When you shop from AmazonSmile Amazon will donate a portion of the proceeds to The Hope Center! For more info about AmazonSmile please email us at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com

Thank you to each of you for all you’ve been doing to help us help others during this pandemic. Your support and love during this has definitely helped us stay encouraged and hopeful. It’s in times like this that we truly see the best in people and we thank God for each of you.

If you or your family are in need of grocery assistance please call our office at 301.739.1165 during business hours (M-F 8:15-11:30am and 12:15-4pm) to schedule an appointment for a food bag. We are happy to help provide you with some food but we ask that you please schedule an appointment so we can make sure we have a food bag prepared. For more info on our food programs and how we can help during the COVID-19 crisis please call or email us at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com

COVID-19 Update: Food Assistance for All!

In these unprecedented times we’re all dealing with a lot of issues. During this health crisis and time of economic hardship we want to make sure that no one is food insecure and feeding your family should not be a worry to deal with. God has provided us with very generous supporters, friends, and partners in the community who’ve helped make sure we have plenty of food to help feed those in need.

We are now supplying food bags to any individuals and families in need in our community. We will be waiving the required food bank card supplied by the Washington County Food Bank during this time. We understand the need to feed yourself and your family and we want to help as much as we can.

COVID-19 FOOD ASSIST-001

To receive a food bag we ask that you call our Administrative Office at 301.739.1165 during office hours to set up an appointment time to receive a food bag. We are asking that you make an appointment so we can make sure to have a food bag prepared for your arrival. We will even walk the food bag to your car to help protect you and your family.

When calling, we will simply ask for your name and address. No financial information will be needed. When you arrive to receive your food bag we will ask for an ID to verify.

It’s quick and easy and will hopefully help to alleviate the stress of feeding your family during this time.

The food bag program is during office hours only which are Mon – Fri 8:15am – 11:30am and 12:15pm – 4pm. Please only call during these hours to schedule an appointment for a food bag. Also, food bag distribution will only take place during office hours. We will continue to hand out food bags while supplies last.

And remember, our daily meals are still being served and free for anyone and everyone in the community. We’ve adjusted how meals are served in order to protect all of our guests and staff from the potential spread of coronavirus. If you or anyone you know is in need of a delicious hot meal please join us each day of the week for a free meal. Our Soup Line and evening meal are now meeting in the Trinity Center which is located at the back of our parking lot (215 W. Church St) behind our Thrift Store. No appointment is needed for any meals served and all ages are welcome to dine with us.

For more information on all our food service programs or to learn more about how we’re fighting COVID-19 together please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Again, to schedule an appointment for a food bag please call 301.739.1165 Mon – Fri 8:15am – 11:30am and 12:15pm – 4pm.

Spring is Here!

Hello Spring

Happy Spring! While it hasn’t been the harshest winter at all the arrival of spring is still a happy moment… especially with everything that’s going on around us. The thought of warmer sunshine, green grass, birds chirping and the return of color to the earth is something to celebrate!

And now that spring is here and we’re more cooped up than ever I’m sure most of you are taking this opportunity to do a little spring cleaning. While we’re currently not able to accept your donations of gently used items we will gladly take your spring cleaning surplus as soon as we can!

Once we get the all clear to reopen our sorting department we’ll let you know. Our trucks will be back out on the donation trail helping you to clear out your unwanted items. We rely heavily on proceeds from the sales generated by our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg to help fund all of the programs and services at The Hope Center so your donation of items will be gladly accepted once we are back in business.

And did you know that your items could be part of our voucher program too? When people in need ask for various items like clothing or housewares we give them a voucher to use in our Hagerstown Thrift Store. That voucher allows them to pick the items they need without any cost to them. So when you donate your items they very well could end up in the hands of the most needy in our community.

And if your donated items are sold in one of our stores you can know that the money stays here in our community to help feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, and provide after-school activities for at-risk kids in surrounding neighborhoods.

So happy spring – and spring cleaning! We pray for safety and good health for each of you during this COVID-19 crisis. Remember, if you are in need of food or a hot meal please stop by The Hope Center. Our essential services are still open and operating on normal schedule during this crisis. For more info please call 301.739.1165.

If you’d like to volunteer or donate food, medicine or other necessities please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Happy Spring!

We’re Still Here to Help

In all the chaos and confusion of the current global crisis – we’re still here to help!

Staff 1We’ve been cancelling any activities, programs, services, and ministries that are not essential but we are still open and helping to make sure that during this pandemic anyone who is hungry gets food and any men who need overnight shelter have a place to rest.

Safety is a top priority and we’re making sure that everyone, whether staff, guest, or volunteer is safe throughout this crazy time.

And though we’re here to help – we need help too. With the closure of our Thrift Stores we will desperately need financial donations to help keep us open and operating during this time. Proceeds from our Thrift Stores are a major part of our operating budget since we don’t receive any government funding of tax money. Any donation will help us continue to help those in need in our community during this Covid-19 event.

And if you are able to volunteer, we need your help! We will do everything we can to make sure you are safe as you help us help others. If you are elderly or have a medical condition that puts you at risk of Covid-19 we ask that you refrain from volunteering and just help us in other ways. Again, safety is a top priority.

We need help so in any way that you can, please do! From food donations, to personal care items, to forehead scanning thermometers, or just financial donations, any little bit will help.

Fred Rogers, star of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, was once quoted saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Please help us as we help others in this crisis. God is not absent during this and He will get us through it.

To learn more about donating or volunteering please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. To donate online go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on ‘Financial Giving’ in the drop down menu under the ‘Donate’ tab.

Thank you for caring & sharing!

Pasta for the Win!

Each month we are going to highlight an item that we need or use consistently at The Hope Center. Most items we highlight are used for food bags that we distribute to families and individuals who are in need of food assistance. Food items donated may also be used in our kitchen for one of the many daily meals served free-of-charge to our residents, overnight homeless guests, and community guests seeking a hot meal.

Whether it’s the coldest day in winter or the warmest day in summer, there’s something just perfect about a nice bowl of pasta and sauce.

Maybe it’s the comfort of the taste. Maybe it’s the bold simplicity of the meal.  Maybe it’s the ease of the process. Perhaps it’s just the happiness shared between your taste buds and your tummy. Or maybe it’s all of the above.

No matter what the reason — there’s just something wonderful about a bowl of pasta and sauce.

And that’s why spaghetti is one item on our list that is a “must have” for every food bag. It’s easy to make, is a hearty meal, and, most importantly, tastes perfect. So each food bag we distribute receives a 24 oz jar of pasta sauce and a box of spaghetti. Even if the family or individual is a novice in the kitchen, pasta is a meal that basically anyone can make.

Pasta Sauce-001

So for the month of February we are asking for donations of 24 oz jars of pasta or marinara sauce. We ask for the 24 oz size so as not to fill up too much space in a food bag so we can include other food items as well.

If you, your church, civic club, Scout troop, or business would like to donate pasta sauce please drop any jars off to our Administrative Office Mon – Fri 8:15 – 11:30am and 12:15-5pm (our office is closed daily from 11:30am – 12:15pm). If those hours do not work please contact us at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com to arrange a more suitable time.

Also, if you’re planning a food drive then be sure to add pasta sauce to the list of much needed items! If you need any other ideas of food items that are frequently used then please contact us so we can give you an idea list.

If you would like to learn more about our food program, or you are in need of food assistance, please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/food-programs

Sales, Smiles & Savings – Thrift Store Day Had it All!

What makes a successful Thrift Store Day? Great weather? Energetic volunteers? Excited bargain shoppers? All of the above!

On September 14th we hosted our 2nd annual Thrift Store Day at our Hagerstown location. It was a day full of sales, smiles, and savings! From a storewide sale in our Thrift Store to a special BOGO sale in the Trinity Center, our shoppers had plenty of great items to choose from at rock bottom prices.

In addition to the various sales, our Auxiliary had a food stand in the Trinity Center during the BOGO sale where they sold some delicious food items all day long! We also hosted a mini outdoor festival for any kids or kids at heart who wanted to play some games, jump around in a bounce house, and snack on some complimentary popcorn and cotton candy. The weather this year was perfect for our street festival – unlike last year which was unfortunately rained/flooded out.

All-in-all it was a spectacular day!

We want to thank all of our staff and volunteers who helped to make it all come together so perfectly. We are so grateful to each and every one of our volunteers who gave up part of their Saturday to help us create a wonderful festival and shopping experience for our guests. We are so blessed to have so many friends in the community – some old and some new – who give of their time so easily to help us bring events like this to life. Again, thank you to everyone who helped to make Thrift Store Day so successful!

And to our customers, the regulars and the newbies, thank you for your support of The Hope Center! Our customers may not truly be aware of how important they are to the overall success of all the various programs and services at The Hope Center.

Our Thrift Stores actually have two purposes: one is to provide great quality gently used goods at low prices so that individuals or families on any budget are able to afford material goods without busting their budget. The second purpose of our Thrift Stores is to help fund all the many programs and services offered free of charge to people in need in our community.

Every time you shop at our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown or Chambersburg you are actually doing more than just bargain shopping – you’re providing hope to so many people. A large portion of our yearly operating budget is funded by the proceeds at our Thrift Stores. Purchases made in our stores help to keep the lights on, the doors open, and the food warm for thousands of men, women, and children in the greater Hagerstown area.

When you donate your gently used items like clothing, furniture, housewares, and more, you’re helping to feed families. You’re helping to give overnight shelter to homeless men. You’re helping to provide a fun, safe after-school event for inner-city kids. You’re helping to give lasting change to men desperate to break their addictions.

So many lives have been touched, helped, and changed thanks to our shoppers and in-kind gift donors at our Thrift Stores. As you switch your wardrobe over to fall & winter and get rid of spring & summer clothes you no longer need, take a minute to think about how that one article of clothing has the power to do so much good in your community.

When you donate to and shop at our Thrift Stores you’re part of an eternal master plan that’s so much bigger than you can imagine. God is using your donations and thrift shopping to heal the broken, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and save the addict. Your purchases at our Thrift Stores may not seem like much but God turns your purchase into something spectacular.

So, again, THANK YOU to all of our shoppers, donors, staff & volunteers for shopping, giving and helping to make our Thrift Stores so successful. There are so many lives who were saved because of each of you. Thank you for caring and sharing.

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering at The Hope Center then call us at 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

To learn more about our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/thrift-store or call 301.739.1114.

If you are interested in donating your gently used items or becoming a financial partner of The Hope Center please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/donate or call 301.739.1165.

 

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!

Pantry Needs

Our pantry is currently in desperate need of the following items:

  • 16 oz jars of peanut butter
  • Spaghetti
  • Spaghetti sauce

peanut butter 1Any help is a big help as we continue to feed so many in our area. These food items are used not only for our Soup Line meals but also in our food bags that are given to families in need.

Please spread the word and help us replenish our pantry. These simple items are essential to the needs of men, women and children in our area but also serve as an opportunity to show God’s love and create the chance to bring people to Christ.

To learn more about our food programs, including food donations, please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

To learn more about hosting a food drive please call 301.0739.1165 or email Becky at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-36 & 40

We Thank You for a Great 2016!

A message from our Executive Director, Sonny Shank:
sonny-shank-executive-director“As we close out this year and look forward to the challenges of 2017, I look back with awe and thanksgiving for the provision of God’s hand. And as I reflect on this year, one thought stands out in my mind … 2016 was a year of caring and giving by many of the most generous people in the world – friends like you who support God’s work here at The Hope Center. So, on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and those we serve, I want to thank you for giving the gift of love and compassion in such a personal and caring way. You are a blessing to so many!
Although 2016 was not without its difficulties and struggles, we rejoice in the good things that happened here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. As of the end of November, 82 different families were given free groceries (171 bags given thus far); 44,326 meals were served; 11,637 were given safe shelter; 381 different men were provided overnight lodging. Throughout 2016 hundreds of kids attended our Wildside Kids events, including four weeks of Camp Wild. And just recently on Thanksgiving Day we served a traditional turkey dinner to approximately 200 people!
But the greatest joy of 2016 is the transformation that has taken place in the lives of many of the men enrolled in our long-term recovery program. I wish you could meet each one of the men and see the change that God is making in their lives. In case you have ever wondered just how important your support is, I want you to read a few notes that the men recently wrote for our donors:
~I’m thankful for a place to get myself clean and sober. Great people here. Coming closer to God.
~I’m blessed that The Hope Center has this program.
~Being here at The Hope Center has helped me get my life back in order. I’ve gotten my driver’s license, a bank account, a full-time job and a car. My relationship with God is strong which above all is most important.
~I’m thankful that these doors were open to me when I felt like all doors were closed. God healed my heart!
~I’m thankful for the goodness of God’s people to inspire me and give me hope for my own life.
~Thankful for a place to sleep and food to eat. I would be out in the cold if it weren’t for The Hope Center.
God is working in the hearts of men like Raymond, Frank, Nathan, Gus, Donald, Louis, Darrell, Larry, Stephen, Justin, William and so many others. These men have been blessed through you! That’s why we need your continued help to meet the rising needs before us.
It is always a challenge to try to keep our commitment to caring for everyone who comes to us seeking assistance, while at the same time being concerned about our ability to keep
up financially. As we close out 2016 will you consider making a generous end-ofyear gift to help those in need? The Hope Center needs your help, and we pledge to you that we will use your money wisely. Thank you! May God bless you and grant you a prosperous and Happy New Year!”
Gratefully yours,
Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank
Executive Director

Our Christmas Wish List

As Christmas approaches we’ve had people asking what types of items they could get for our residents, guests and neighbors in need. So we decided we’d go ahead and make our very own Christmas Wish List. Some of the items on this list are for our residents, some for our overnight homeless guests and others are for individuals or families in need in our community.

Our shelter and dormitory never close. Both overnight sleeping facilities are open everyday of the year. And when we welcome new guests we make sure that they have all the proper toiletries and items needed to have a fresh start.

And our overnight shelter isn’t the only facility that is always open. Each day of the week, all year long, our kitchen is open to provide anyone in our community a delicious, free meal. And during the week our Administrative Office hands out food bags to neighbors who need some food assistance to get through the month.

So whether someone is hungry or tired, we will be here to take care of their needs. And we thank you for helping us help them. God gave us a very supportive community who has provided for us each year since 1955 allowing us to keep our doors open but free for all of our guests while also not being a burden to the tax-payer as we receive no funding from the government.

As you hit the stores this year, please maybe pick up one or two items on our Christmas Wish List so we can help make the season brighter for our neighbors in need.

For our overnight shelter:

  • New pillows (we can only accept new pillows for sanitation reasons)
  • New or gently used blankets
  • New or gently used bath towels

For our residents and overnight guests (men only):

  • T-shirts (assorted sizes)
  • Briefs (assorted sizes)

Food for our Pantry:

  • 15 oz peanut butter (used as a staple for community food bags)
  • Spaghetti
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Canned meat: tuna, chicken breast, spam, etc.
  • Cereal: please no Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Puffed Wheat or Puffed Rice
  • Boxed dinners: Hamburger Helper, Rice-A-Roni, Tuna Helper, etc.
  • Tomato soup
  • Creamer (always needed)

To donate items, please stop by our Administrative Office Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5pm. If there is a time conflict please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Thank you again for helping to make Christmas special for our community. We hope each of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with all your friends and family!