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

 

 

 

 

The Good Shepherd Ministries: Joining the Fight Against Hunger

We’d like to say a big “thank you” to the awesome people from The Good Shepherd Ministries in Hagerstown!

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Recently, The Good Shepherd Ministries hosted a church-wide food drive to benefit The Hope Center.

Andrea Reaves, wife of Assistant Pastor Brad, and grand-daughter of The Hope Center founders Jim & Ellen Resh, organized the food drive for the church.

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The church provided approximately 460 pounds of non-perishable food for our food ministry! We are so thankful for their generous donation to help feed the needy in Hagerstown.

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Our food program is one of the most vital parts of our entire ministry for our guests. From food bags to multiple free meals throughout the day, our kitchen and pantry is always busy, and sometimes short on necessary items.

Food drives, like the one hosted by The Good Shepherd Ministries, are an important resource for our ministry. When you feed hundreds of people a week while also providing families with bags of groceries to supplement their own pantries, you can go through a lot of food. Food drives ensure that our pantry is always stocked and ready to meet the needs of our community.

Since everything we do at The Hope Center is free, and free from any tax money, we rely heavily on the generous support from churches, individuals, civic clubs, Scout programs and more to help keep our facility open, operational and free for anyone who is in need.

Thank you again to The Good Shepherd Ministries for partnering with us to help combat hunger in Hagerstown. If you’re currently looking for a church to attend, visit The Good Shepherd Ministries. For more info about this great body of Believers, go to http://www.mytgsm.com.

If you would like to host a food drive to benefit The Hope Center but just aren’t quite sure how to do so, contact us and we’ll gladly help you out. Call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

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And don’t forget that in April our 2nd Annual Rock the Run: A Race for Hope is taking place at Fairgrounds Park. On Saturday April 23rd, join fellow runners, joggers & walkers as we hit the streets to raise support and awareness for homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. It’s a simple and fun way to make a difference in the community and help neighbors in need. Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to learn more.

Superheroes Come in All Sizes

Captain America. Iron Man. Black Widow. Spider-man. We all have our favorite superheroes, whether they wield a hammer, are faster than a speeding bullet, or protect humans with their mutant powers, superheroes make for great stories, spectacular movies, and can teach kids great lessons about helping others.

But what exactly is a superhero? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a superhero is, ” a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also :  an exceptionally skillful or successful person.”

Do superheroes truly exist? Obviously they do. From the men & women of our Armed Forces, to firemen & women, police, and more, there are so many people who give above and beyond the call of human duty to make a difference.

It’s refreshing when a superhero comes in the form of a little boy.

DSC_0161Our superhero, Carson, is quite the little guy. For his birthday, like most little boys, Carson wanted a superhero theme. But his superhero birthday proves just how much of a hero Carson and his family is.

Instead of gifts for Carson, he and his family decided to help others by having party guests donate items to The Hope Center.

Included in the party invitation was a list of the items that are always needed in our pantry. From peanut butter, to sugar, coffee, creamer, cans of vegetables, box dinners, and more, Carson’s family wanted to make sure that they could help keep the hungry in Hagerstown fed.

In addition to items for our pantry, the family asked for other necessary items like paper towels, toilet paper, and napkins. They also gave party attendees the option of donating personal care items like soap, deodorant, shampoo, disposable razors, and shave gel for our overnight homeless guests.

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And in the grand tradition of superheroes, every kid who brought a donation received their official superhero cape!

It’s not everyday that a superhero celebrates his birthday in a way that it helps so many people in the community. Carson and his family may never know the full impact of their donation but God sees their generous spirit and we know that He will bless them as much as they blessed us.

We are thankful for parents who teach their kids the importance of giving to others, helping the less fortunate, and showing God’s love to all people.

Happy birthday and thank you, Carson, for being a real superhero! We thank God for you and your family and all the people who helped to make your birthday so special for us!

 

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.