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.

 

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

 

 

 

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Day Two

The second gift on our list is one that is universally beloved by all: spaghetti sauce! There’s nothing better than sitting down to dinner with a plate filled with hot spaghetti topped off with that delicious sauce.

12 Gifts 2018 2-001

We are always in need of spaghetti sauce, especially for our food bag program. In every food bag we put simple, easy, and delicious foods that are generally loved by everyone. And spaghetti easily falls into that category. Spaghetti is a quick but nourishing meal that busy families, or families with limited cooking background, can make without a lot of fuss or time.

But our kitchen also loves using spaghetti sauce for various meals for our residents and community guests so we go through spaghetti sauce quite frequently.

Any donation of spaghetti sauce is welcome but we do ask for 24 oz jars so they can easily fit into a food bag. No matter the brand or the flavoring of the sauce – we’ll use it! And if you’re feeling extra Italian at the grocery store and want to pick up some boxes of spaghetti then we most certainly will gladly accept those as well!

To donate please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Or just swing by and drop off any donations to our office between 8am – 5pm M-F. And please help us by spreading our Christmas wish list to all your friends, family, co-workers, church, civic group or scout troops.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Day One

We’ve made our Christmas wish list and we’ve checked it twice and now we’re sharing it with you in the hopes that you can share it with others too!

From now until Christmas we’ll randomly post 12 different gift ideas that you, your family, church, friends, co-workers, civic club, and scout troop can help us get to make 2019 another stellar year. And if you are considering having a food drive many items on this list are a good starter for donated items for your drive!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas are things that we need all throughout the year so you can always keep this list and reference it as the seasons change in 2019.

So lets, get our 2018 Christmas list started…

12 Gifts 2018 1-001

There’s no better way to start our Christmas list than the way most of us start our day – with coffee! We have a lot of overnight guests and a lot of people eating their meals with us so you can only imagine how much coffee we go through each year as we feed thousands of people. So we are always desperately in need of coffee and powdered creamer. Any bit of coffee helps so pick up your favorite or grab one that’s on sale; we’ll use it and our guests will enjoy it no matter what!

To donate just stop by our office Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm. If you’re unable to drop it off during those hours please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Any gift donation, big or small, is always welcomed and important to the continued success of this ministry. We appreciate any support from the community. But the most impactful thing is to share this with as many people as you can! We’ll be posting each of the 12 Gifts of Christmas on our Facebook page so you can always spread the holiday cheer through our social media pages. If you don’t follow us on Facebook just go to http://www.facebook.com/hopecenterhagerstown.

 

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