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!

My, My What a Spring It Was!

Summer has officially arrived! We love those long, hazy and hot days of summer. The smell of grilling out, the taste of a cold glass of lemonade and the chance to cool off by taking a dip in the pool are some of the things we like the best about this season. But we also love hosting hundreds of kids each summer at Camp Wild, our free summer day camp for kids in Hagerstown.

But before we kickoff Camp Wild season at The Hope Center, we want to take a moment to look back at Spring 2017.

From our 3rd annual Rock the Run 5k, to Easter celebrations, to Soup Line parties and more, our spring was loaded with activities.

We started celebrating random “National Holidays” with our Soup Line guests. On any given day we would include our guests in a “holiday” of sorts which could include prizes and a themed meal. There’s so much negativity and hurt in the world today so we wanted to have some fun with our guests and bring smiles to their faces as they celebrate such days as Oreo Day, Strawberry Day and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day.

But of all the springtime celebrations, of course nothing can compare to the importance of Easter. And this Easter we had so much going on! We hosted everything from a Wildside Youth party complete with a huge Easter Egg Hunt, to our Auxiliary bake sale, Easter celebration with our staff, residents and guests and an Easter cantata performance by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church with a delicious meal too! Easter is obviously so important to our ministry because it is the basis for the change and hope that we offer at The Hope Center. The power of Christ’s resurrection is what makes all this change possible. So we make sure that our residents and guests understand how important this celebration is to the power of hope.

As soon as Easter was over we were tying our running shoes for our 3rd annual Rock the Run: A Race for Hope presented by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. Each year our race gets better and better as we see so many new faces. But with all the new faces, we’re so thrilled to see so many participants returning to support The Hope Center. From our sponsors, to our volunteers and participants, our race this year was an overwhelming success! And we’ll be hosting it again in April, 2018 so plan to join us. Learn more about the race at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

And just this past weekend the awesome folks at Germantown Church of God hosted our residents for an evening of fellowship and great food! The people at the church have been hosting this picnic for years upon years and it’s an activity that our men genuinely love. We were so thrilled to have some of our staff join our men as we mixed and mingled with the people from Germantown Church of God. In fact, our very own Sue (she’s the voice you hear every time you call The Hope Center) is wife to Mark, the pastor of Germantown Church of God. We’re so thankful that the church continues to provide this evening of relaxation and fellowship for our men.

So as we bid farewell to yet another spring, we excitedly look forward to what God has in store for this summer. Camp Wild is just weeks away and things here are focused on making sure that our campers have another safe, fun and action-packed experience this year. Keep up-to-date on Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating supplies for Camp Wild 2017 then call us at 301.739.1165.

We want to thank each of you who have prayed for us, supported us and volunteered with us thus far in 2017. We couldn’t do all that we do without the loving support of each of you. Your gifts, time and talents do not go unnoticed by our staff or our Heavenly Father. Thank you for caring and sharing and investing so much in the lives of so many! We look forward to all the great things in store for the rest of the year!

If you would like to learn more about all the different ways that The Hope Center is working in our area then go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. Thinking about volunteering? Great! We’ve got the information you need at http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

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!

 

 

Join our Thanksgiving Tradition!

We are just days away from Thanksgiving! If you are planning on spending the day alone or you don’t have any plans at all then why not celebrate the holiday with our family?

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Our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is the longest running free community Thanksgiving Day meal in Hagerstown. It’s practically a Thanksgiving tradition that you might want to be a part of.

Our buffet is full of the most delicious food including roast turkey, mashed potatoes, our famous stuffing, sweet potatoes, succotash, sauerkraut, cranberry sauce, fruit, pumpkin pie and more!

And did we mention it’s all for free??!!! There’s no charge and no reservation needed. Our activities for kids start at 11am and then we kick everything off at 11:30am. Come alone or bring friends, family and anyone else with you on Thursday because the Trinity Center is one of the biggest dining rooms in Hagerstown and all are welcome! We promise there will be plenty of food and you’ll have plenty of good conversation.

For more info about our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

*Just a reminder: our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg will be closed on Thursday, November 24th. Both stores will reopen for normal business hours on Friday, November 25th.

**Our overnight transient shelter for homeless men will be open as usual on Thanksgiving. Our food bank, sorting room and soup line will not be open on Thanksgiving Day but all are welcome to come to the Trinity Center at 11:30am for our buffet feast.

 

Day To Serve Prompts Local Food Drive

Americans are probably the most generous group of people on earth. This is being said without any actual statistics or facts to back it up but we’re just going on a hunch that we’re right about that claim.

But getting people to give or give back is not always easy since Americans are also probably the busiest group of people on earth. Getting involved and helping in the community is high on most people’s “must do” list but often times it is difficult because of all the demands of daily living. And that’s why the Governor created the Day To Serve.

The Day To Serve is an annual program to encourage volunteerism in the State of Maryland. The Governor of Maryland established this day andgo asked Marylanders to get involved in their communities between September 10th and October 10th.

dsc_0074A group of Maryland state employees consisting of Roberta Barkley, Barbara Allen, Amy Miller and Tracy Leb decided to host a food drive at a local grocery store. After contacting several stores, Save-A-Lot allowed the ladies to set up their food drive in front of their store. So on September 23rd, these woman hosted a food drive to benefit The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission at the Save-A-Lot store in the South End Shopping Center.

This was the first food drive that they’ve hosted and were very pleased with the amount of food given and support from the community in helping others. In fact, the ladies were able to collect 350 pounds of food for The Hope Center pantry! Roberta, the food drive organizer, chose The Hope Center because she said she liked knowing exactly where the donation would be going and who it would be helping.

At The Hope Center, we feed thousands upon thousands of people a year. We don’t just feed the men who are in our residential rehabilitation program. We feed the homeless. We feed families. We feed anyone who needs a meal. Whether it’s a hot meal served at our daily Soup Line or it’s a bag of groceries given to a needy family, our kitchen and pantry is constantly busy making sure no one in our community misses a meal.

But with all the food that we serve or give out, our panty is in constant need of replenishment. And that’s why food drives like the one that Roberta, Barbara, Amy & Tracy hosted are so important to us at The Hope Center. Food can get costly and feeding thousands could easily break the budget but the generous support of people in our community helps to make sure that we can continue to feed and help people without costing them a cent or using tax money.

In addition to asking for food donations, Roberta contacted local dentist offices asking for donations of toothbrushes and paste. Two generous offices, Robinwood Dental Center & Dr. Toothman’s, gave the toothbrushes and toothpaste for the food drive. Personal care items such as toothpaste, brushes, deodorant and soaps are very important too as we give these items to our residents, overnight homeless guests and anyone who may need them. As simple as these items may seem, they can quickly help restore a persons value.

We want to give a huge thank you to Roberta, Barbara, Amy & Tracy for putting together this food drive and taking time out of their busy schedules to get the community involved in helping others. And we want to thank the Save-A-Lot store for allowing these ladies to host their food drive at that location. Another big thank you to Robinwood Dental & Dr. Toothman for donating the toothbrushes & paste for our guests.

Have you been inspired to host a food drive? Maybe you just want to get your family involved with giving food. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help feed your neighbors in Hagerstown then call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Please consider frequenting these generous local businesses:

  • Robinwood Dental Center is located at 11110 Medical Campus Rd. Suite 148 in Hagerstown. Learn more about their services at http://www.robinwooddentalcenter.com.
  • Toothman Orthodontics is located at 81 N. Edgewood Dr in Hagerstown and 5100 Buckeystown Pike Suite 196 in Frederick. Go to http://www.toothmanorthodontics.com to learn more about their services.
  • Save-A-Lot store is located at 1161 Maryland Ave in Hagerstown. If you’re unfamiliar with Save-A-Lot stores then visit their website at http://www.save-a-lot.com

 

 

 

 

Our Pantry Needs You!

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35

Since our beginning in 1955, one of our missions was to make sure that the hungry in Hagerstown had a welcomed place to eat. As our society has changed and economic troubles have hurt families, our mission to feed the less fortunate has changed from not just serving a hot plate of food but also making sure that families had food in their own cupboards to help them get through the month.

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Our pantry is looking a little too similar to Old Mother Hubbard’s these days. To be honest, it’s becoming a little difficult to keep our food bags filled with a nice variety of food.

Please consider helping us keep our pantry full for all of our daily guests, our residents and all our neighbors who need food bags for their homes.

The next time you’re at the grocery store, why not pick up a few of these items and drop them off? Or your church, Sunday School class, workplace, school, civic club, Boy/Girl scout troop or neighborhood could host a food drive to collect some of these much needed items.

Please help us fight hunger and hopelessness in Hagerstown!

PANTRY ITEMS NEEDED:
  • Macaroni & cheese boxed dinners
  • Hamburger Helper or similar boxed dinners
  • Spaghettios, Ravioli, or similar heat & serve pasta
  • Creamy peanut butter (15-16 oz. jars please)
  • Cans of soup (all varieties and sizes – except no cream soup please)
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Tuna (5 oz. cans please)
  • Any canned meat (Spam, chicken, potted meat, etc.)
  • Rice A Roni (all varieties)
  • Pork ‘n Beans
  • Spaghetti (1 lb. pkg)
  • Spaghetti sauce (cans or jars 24-26 oz.)

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Thank you for helping us feed our city! We appreciate your commitment to following God’s call to help take care of the poor and less fortunate in our community. For more information about our food program or to talk to someone about food drives or other ways you can help, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Our 60th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off Was a Blast!

Our 60th Anniversary celebration kicked off in March with a party planned outside at Wheaton Park just two blocks from The Hope Center.

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As the day approached, the weather man wasn’t providing us with exactly what we wanted to hear. There were some nice, mild days in the forecast but, unfortunately the day of our outdoor party was not going to cooperate.

We all know that God is in charge of the weather and He wouldn’t allow anything to happen that day that would be more than we could handle so we pressed forward with our plans to host a party for our community. We prayed that the weather would cooperate enough for us to have a good day but, more importantly, that God would bring the crowds to our event.

The morning of our party was much colder than we had hoped. In fact, it was below freezing … literally with a wind chill of 14 degrees. Our volunteers were not going to let a little cold bother them so we began setting up for our party. But God, just reminding us that He’s watching over us and showing us that He’s definitely involved in our event, provided an absolutely unexpected miracle that day.

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The director of the Head Start program at the MLK, Jr. Center had received our fliers about the Party-in-the-Park and had promised to help distribute them in the neighborhood.  Because of the frigid temperatures the morning of the party, this kind lady offered to allow us to use the MLK Jr Center, a community center/gym located just one block away from Wheaton Park. We hadn’t inquired about the building.  We didn’t even know it was an option. But God knew – and He had a plan! 

Of course we couldn’t say no! For the sake of our volunteers and guests we quickly took her up on the offer. And we’re so glad we did! The warmth of the building was a literal God thing that day!

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Our volunteers quickly began setting up the rec center for our event. We had plenty of carnival games, a photo booth, face painting, finger nail painting, food, prizes and more.

As the time approached for the start of our event, we wondered just how many people would brave the chilly weather to come to a park event.

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We never expected to have the turnout as we did. Not only had God provided an indoor facility for us to use, He brought the people out in droves! We had close to 300 guests for our “park” party! The line to get into the building was out the door for a long time!

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Parents, grandparents and kids filled that building with the sights and sounds of happiness & memories being made. Everyone had a wonderful time playing games, goofing around, eating, and just hanging out.

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We even had a surprise visit by the Easter Bunny!

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In addition to all the indoor activities, we were able to have the egg hunt outside for all the families. Over hundreds of eggs filled with candy were hidden in plain view for all the kids who were there. Within a matter of minutes the eggs had been found but not before parents and their children had their chance to have fun together racing around to get as many as they could.

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We had so many prizes that day but we were so excited to have drawings for a few big door prizes like big stuffed animals from LifeWay Christian Bookstore, a Mickey Mouse Easter-themed basket with a special Mickey Mouse plush all the way from Walt Disney World, and a brand new tablet!

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We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our 60th Anniversary celebration! God reminded us that He is still with us, supporting us just as He’s done the past 60 years.

We want to thank so many people for their hard work in making this event come to life.

First, we want to thank the kind people of the MLK Jr Center for offering us their facility to use. We appreciate their commitment to the community and all they do to help improve the lives of our neighbors.

 

DSC_0014We also want to thank a few 4th graders from Fountaindale Elementary School who wanted to do something nice for the community. These girls created “health bags” which were full of personal care items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other items. They collected all the items themselves and put it all together for our guests. These wonderful young ladies made 75 bags for our guests! We’re so thankful that these girls have such a big heart for others and that they actually did something to help make a difference.

To all of our volunteers, thank you! A BIG thank you! These awesome folks were willing to brave the cold temperatures to have this party outside. And they adjusted quickly to the changes once we moved the party indoors. Our volunteers probably had just as much fun as the guests and that’s exactly what we were hoping for. Thank you, volunteers, for giving your Saturday to spend it with total strangers. You may never know the impact you made on the lives of our guests but God does and someday you’ll be amazed at what those few hours on that cold Saturday morning did for someone else’s eternity. Thank you for supporting this ministry and helping us reach so many people for Christ! It’s because of faithful people like you that The Hope Center has been so successful. We thank God for our volunteers and we’re so proud to call you a part of The Hope Center family!

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A big thank you to Maranatha Brethren Church for providing food, prizes, activities and volunteers for this event. To all our donors and supporters, it’s not cheap nor easy to host an event like this but because of your generosity, we were able to provide our guests with a great Easter party!  Even if you only bought a bag of candy, that candy was used to tell someone that they are loved by a great God who cares so much for them. Thank you for caring & sharing and helping us show our community the love of Christ!

To Krista, Gene, Sue and Adrian, thank you for the hours of planning that you put into this event. Your heart for others is evident by how hard you worked to put this entire event together. And even when the weather wasn’t kind, your enthusiasm and optimism helped make the event so successful. We are so beyond thankful for your commitment and investment in this ministry. We know that God will bless you so much more than any of us can imagine and one day in Heaven you will see the rewards of your service. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting together such a great event!

And to Mr. & Mrs. Shank, who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes from day one on this event, and all the other 60th Anniversary events yet to come. This is a challenging year of celebration but God has put the right people in place to make it all come to life! Your love for Christ and this ministry is evident in everything that you do each day and we don’t thank you enough for your hard work and sacrifice. Thank you for all you do and for helping to reach the least, the last and the lost for Christ. Even though its tiring and difficult, just remember as The Hope Center founder, Mr. Resh, would say, “keep on, keepin’ on!” To God be the glory!

Rock the run logo jpgOur 60th Anniversary celebration is rolling right on with our first 5K event in April. Rock the Run 5K: A Race for Hope will take place on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. This race will help to raise awareness & support for the ministry at The Hope Center that deal with homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. So many lives are affected by homelessness and hunger and this is our way of helping to get people involved to end the hopelessness. Registration is only $25 until race day and you can register now at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

Be sure to visit http://www.hopecenter60.com to learn more about The Hope Center, see pictures from the past 60 years, and get all the info about the other upcoming events planned for 2015.