Celebrate National Coffee Day!

Coffee is probably the most important part of everyone’s breakfast routine. We all need a good cup of joe to jolt the brain awake and prepare us for the stresses and happiness of each new day.

coffee2On September 29th, America is celebrating our most beloved hot beverage! Stores and businesses across the country are offering free cups of coffee or special coupons to celebrate the day.

A coffee lover comes in many different shapes & sizes. We hail from the Northeast to the Southwest and even places like Alaska & Hawaii. Coffee lovers come from all social backgrounds and are all ages. Pretty much, everyone is a coffee lover.

As you enjoy your morning brew or celebrate with an afternoon latte, remember that not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a hot cup of coffee each day. There are people who have fallen on hard times and don’t have the resources to drink a cup of coffee each day.

Join us in helping to restore hope to these people by starting with a cup of coffee. It may sound silly, but a cup of joe can help break down barriers and be the first step to building a relationship that could change a life forever!

At The Hope Center, we go through a lot of coffee. From our residents, to our transient guests, to our daily meal guests, to our weekly Koffee Klatch ladies group, there is a lot of coffee consumed. And all that coffee consumption can quickly add up.

Our pantry runs low on essentials, like coffee & sugar, quite often. So why not help celebrate National Coffee Day by grabbing a cup for yourself and a container of coffee for those in need?

This weekend as you go to your favorite grocery store, pick up an extra can or jug of coffee for The Hope Center. Something as small as a can of coffee can go along way. By supplying us with coffee, you allow us to use our resources for other programs & ministries to help reach people in need for Christ.

Money that would be spent purchasing coffee & sugar can go towards helping men break from their addictions that have destroyed their lives. This money can go towards providing comfortable beds and warm blankets for the homeless during the cold winter months. There are so many ways that your coffee donation can actually help make a difference in our city.

But the most important way that your coffee donation can make a difference is that someone who feels lost, desperate and alone knows that there are caring, loving people in this world and there is a great, loving and compassionate God who wants the best for them.

Restoring hope and changing lives is too big for humans. It’s a God-sized task. He just asks that we show His love so He can rescue lives.

And love can come in all forms, even a cup of coffee.

If you would like to donate coffee or get involved on a regular basis at The Hope Center, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

To drop off coffee & sugar donations, please stop by our Administrative Office, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. If you need to arrange another time, please call us at 301.739.1165.

If your church, Sunday School class, youth group, civic organization, Boy/Girl Scout troop, business or any other group would like to host a Coffee & Sugar Drive, please contact us for details. This is a wonderful way for the community to pull together to help make a difference.

Thank you for caring & sharing! Your support helps tremendously!

For more info on The Hope Center, please go to www.hagerstownrescue.org.

It’s the Season of Giving

This past week we were happy to receive a very large donation of items. These nonperishable food items and personal care items were collected by the Sunlight 4-H Club. The members of the 4-H packed bag after bag full of items that will be used to fill food bags for needy families. The personal care items (socks, gloves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.) will be used for our residents or given to transients.

Food bags are an important part of our family assistance ministry. While we suggest each family join the Washington County Food Bank Program, we also don’t turn down families in need of food. As food prices continue to rise, a bag of food can help a family to not be forced to choose between paying their electric bill or feeding their family.

When a transient (homeless) first checks in at the Hope Center, he is given a bag full of trial-sized toiletries. He is also given a towel to use while staying with us. As the men run out of items like soap or shampoo, they are given new items during their stay.

Giving food or providing soap are both simple yet effective ways of telling people that God loves them and that no matter how bad their current circumstances are, there is hope.

Thanks again to the Sunlight 4-H Club in Washington County and thanks to every other group and individual that helps to keep our pantry stocked! We appreciate your help!

It’s All About the Oreos!

This time of year, we are all usually reflective and thankful for everything that we’ve been given. Whether it’s our family, friends, health or wealth, we are always glad to be living the life God gave us.

During this time of year, at the Hope Center, we overwhelmingly see the best in people. The generous giving of food, service and money helps us to remember to be thankful for the caring community that assists us in reaching people in need. And our neighbors help us reach people all year long without any government assistance or handouts. That makes us very thankful.

But during this time of year, you come across people in the community who want to help specific families or individuals in need. From people offering to help serve food or baking treats for our residents to families desiring to sponsor gifts for families in need, this wonderful time of year brings out the best in Americans.

This year, an anonymous donor wanted to do something special for a family. This donor wanted to go grocery shopping for any family, couple or person that we felt could use the groceries. As you know, the price of food has continually risen month-after-month. Just buying the basic items can be tough on families with fixed incomes.

So, we thought about all the different families that we know could use some assistance. Little did we know that God already had a family in mind. We tried to reach a couple different families to offer the groceries to but we absolutely couldn’t get in touch with these people. It seemed a little discouraging at the time. Again, God knew what was up. He had a family that He wanted to give the groceries to.

Becky, Hope Center Staff, delivers groceries to Phyllis & Wayne

After failed attempts to take the groceries to the families that we thought should have them, God showed us the exact couple He had in mind. The special couple that God had selected is a young couple who have been good friends of the Hope Center for quite a while. In fact, they met at the Hope Center!

A few years ago, God brought two people, Wayne and Phyllis, separately to the Hope Center. Each one was dealing with a form of brokenness. Both were searching for help. Neither one realized what God had in store!

Phyllis was battling a drug addiction that started as a way to ease the pain of an abusive relationship. As the drugs failed to relieve her pain, she began considering suicide as her only permanent escape. Lost in fear and depression, Phyllis wandered into the chapel service at the Hope Center one evening. While listening to the message that night, Phyllis discovered the hope that she’d been missing in her life. She began attending the service regularly, eager to learn about this God who loved her when it seemed that no one else could. One evening at the conclusion of the nightly chapel, Phyllis made a decision that would not only change her life, but her eternity as well. She went to the altar and accepted Jesus as her Savior. From that night on, the Lord began to work miracles in her life, changing her from the inside out.

During the time that Phyllis was gaining her life back, Wayne seemed to be losing his. From his health, his work, his home – even his family, Wayne’s addiction to drugs and alcohol was destroying him and everything that was important to him. Eventually Wayne hit the bottom. He was reduced to living in his car, being hounded by drug pushers. At that point, Wayne cried out to God for help. God’s intervention came through a young man who encouraged Wayne to call local agencies for assistance. Wayne called the Hope Center and found out that there was a place for him. The caring young man filled Wayne’s car with gas and sent him on his way. The day after arriving, Wayne talked and then prayed with staff member Carl Black. Like Phyllis, Wayne accepted Christ into his life.

It wasn’t long before Phyllis and Wayne met at a Hope Center chapel service. They began dating within a few months and eventually were married.

Today, the couple still attends church, are involved in small groups and Bible studies and are actively learning more about God and working to reach their families for Christ.

But life isn’t always easy. Wayne and Phyllis have both been struggling with health issues and work stress. Wayne, dealing with a disease that caused a disability, has struggled to work to support his wife. And as his health allows, he does small repair or painting jobs for people. Phyllis, too, is dealing with some health issues but that doesn’t stop her from working hard. Both of these people are inspirations of the power of Jesus to totally change lives and give hope to handle any situation that comes.

When we were figuring out what family to give the food to, God had already worked it out for us…He just hadn’t made it known instantly. But we knew it was meant to be all over a pack of Oreos. Included in the bags upon bags of groceries, the donor had purchased a pack of peanut butter Oreos. While shopping, the donor felt the urge to buy Oreos, specifically the peanut butter flavor. The donor debated whether to buy the original Oreos or the peanut butter flavor. After all, everyone has individual tastes, not everyone likes peanut butter, and it’s usually safe to buy the original flavor of something. But the donor just felt that the peanut butter ones just HAD to be purchased. So, going against the donor’s own judgment, the peanut butter Oreo’s were purchased.

The thing is, God knew who was to get the groceries. And God knew that Phyllis’ favorite cookies were peanut butter Oreos. When the groceries were delivered, some jokes were made from a Hope Center staff person about wanting to take some of the Oreos. At that point, Wayne quickly spoke up and said that the peanut butter Oreos were Phyllis’ favorites. Little did any of us know, God had specifically picked those out that day in the grocery store. Just for Phyllis!

Phyllis and Wayne are two incredibly kind and generous people who were already talking about sharing their groceries with neighbors who are struggling. This is how God wants us to be with each other. To care for each other. To help each other in need.

We want to thank the generous donor for the groceries. It was a large amount of food purchased. The donor, wanting to stay anonymous, said that they just wanted a way to thank God for His blessings and to help someone else in need or to be an encouragement to a family.


Eagle Scout Helps Out!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it plenty of times more…we love our friends and neighbors that help us reach this community. From volunteers that help paint buildings to those that feed the hungry and others that help with our camp to donors that give their gently used clothes, housewares, furniture to people that give bags of food and financial donations, we rely heavily on the generous support of the kind-hearted people that live in this area.

And because of all the support that we get, both financially and in-kind gifts, we are able to reach those in need without taking any money from the government! This ministry is totally sponsored by caring people recognizing the need to help those less fortunate. And we thank each and every one of you for your support!

We especially love when young people get involved with helping others. Its nice to see the younger generation recognizing a need and getting involved to help meet those needs.

On Saturday, December 10th, a young man from Mercersburg, PA dropped off a ton of bags of clothes and boxes of food to the Hope Center.

Sonny Shank, Executive Director, with Chris Fritz of Mercersburg Academy

Chris Fritz, a 16 year old student at Mercersburg Academy, brought some of his family members to help him unload a pick-up truck full of donated items. As a part of an Eagle Scout project, Chris had a clothing and food drive from November 6th – December 6th. He had drop points in Maugansville, Hagerstown and at Mercersburg Academy. He was able to get his community involved in giving to others. While he could have chosen other projects in the area, we are extremely thankful that he chose to give to the Hope Center.

His donation, along with the many donations that we receive each day, go to help the homeless or individuals and families that are in desperate need. Food donated will be used in our kitchen that serves 5 meals a day or in food bags and boxes that are handed out to anyone in need of some assistance. The clothing and other in-kind items donated are either placed in our Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & downtown Chambersburg) or used to give to people in urgent need of specific items.

Again, we appreciate kind people like Chris and all the others that help us keep our doors open, lights on and our pantry stocked! As our economy continues to be shaky, there are many people that need a little help to make it through the tough times. It’s because of people like you that help us remind people that God cares for them and no matter what they are going through at this moment, there is always hope!