Give an Old Suit New Life

Fall is less than two weeks away and the new season is a perfect time for a new suit. And Ingram’s Mens Shop in Hagerstown is giving you a chance to not only receive money off a new suit but also give back to your community!

During the month of September, when you trade in one of your suits Ingram’s Mens Shop will give you $100 towards a new suit AND donate your suit to The Hope Center for men in our program & community who need a suit.

You know the feeling of confidence that a suit gives and Ingram’s Mens Shop is the place to go to get a quality new suit. And Ingram’s wants to make sure that men in our area who are starting over have a chance to feel that same feeling of confidence in a suit.

We’re in the business of putting a new man in a suit – and you can help put that man in his very own suit. Men in our Foundations Life Recovery program give 13 months of their lives confronting the addictions and issues that have cost them everything – family, friends, jobs, housing, and their confidence. We work with them to help them become the amazing men God created them to be. Providing them with a suit of their own is just the icing on the cake of their success. The gifted suit can be an encouragement and motivation for these guys as they venture back into the workforce and rebuilding their lives.

Please help us spread the word by telling your coworkers, church, family, friends, and neighbors. Follow us on Facebook and share our posts to your social media followers.

Ingram’s Mens Shop is located at 18047 Garland Groh Blvd in Hagerstown. Visit http://www.ingramsmensshop.com to check out the high quality selection of suits and other apparel at Hagerstown’s premier mens shop.

To learn more about our rehabilitation program please visit https://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-

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.

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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

“The Best Gravy You’ve Ever Had!”

Another year hosting our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is in the books!

Our annual holiday celebration, which is one of the oldest and longest continually running community Thanksgiving meal in the city, was another success as people from all over the area joined us to volunteer or enjoy the feast as guests.

Our kitchen was busy days before the feast preparing various dishes for the buffet including the roast turkey and our famous (and delicious) stuffing.

But as the sun rose on Thanksgiving our kitchen crew knew exactly what to do: prepare the best Thanksgiving buffet in town!

And they sure did! The feast this year was absolutely delicious. From the amazing stuffing made by Dorcas Black to the “best gravy you’ve ever had” by Diane Ellis, our guests, staff and volunteers sure did have a great spread to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

But before the meal was served , our guests were treated to a great message by Matt Sargent who was the former director of our Foundations Life Recovery program. Matt had a little fun with the crowd by presenting them with a plated preview of the Thanksgiving feast which turned out to be the meal Snoopy served to Charlie Brown. But then he came clean and presented everyone with an actual plate of the delicious food they were about to enjoy. He brought it all together to remind each of us that God has great things for our lives and that we shouldn’t just settle for the “Snoopy meal” of life when God is busy working to provide us with an amazing “Thanksgiving feast” in life.

Once the message was concluded and the meal was prayed over, our guests were eager to hit up the buffet line! Everyone enjoyed all the wonderful food and most had no problem going back for seconds.

We are so thankful for all of our volunteers and staff who helped to make this Thanksgiving successful. There are so many people who work behind the scenes in preparation to the feast, and so many wonderful volunteers who give up their holiday to serve others. We are beyond grateful for everyone who played a role in our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There are many names we’d like to mention – but more on that at a later time.

Our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is a chance for us to celebrate all that we’ve been given throughout the year and to come together to give thanks to God for His continued blessings and faithfulness in our lives and at The Hope Center.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together to collectively give thanks to our great God. But we are always in a spirit of gratitude to God for all He does at The Hope Center throughout the year. From the men in our Foundations Life Recovery program whose lives have been changed and freed from the dangerous addictions and abuses that have caused so much physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, to the families who receive clothing assistance, to the kids who are learning and growing spiritually at Wildside Youth, to being able to provide safe overnight housing to homeless men and feeding thousands of hungry people each year, God continues to wow us with all His blessings and continued faithfulness to this ministry and our call to reach the least, the last, and the lost for Him.

And we can see God at work each and every day because of the faithful and generous people in our community who have partnered with us to keep our doors open for almost 65 years. And not only do we keep our doors open – we don’t charge our neighbors in need a dime to receive services. And even more amazing is that we receive no tax money from the government. Each day operating is a miracle because God continues to send all the right people to help provide all of our needs. And we can’t thank Him enough for each of you.

Each of you are having a profound impact on our community and in individuals lives whether you totally realize it or not. Every time you drop off a bag of clothing, buy a can of coffee, donate financially, volunteer an evening, you are helping to fight the good fight and bring HOPE back to thousands of people.

So thank you for your compassion and dedication to The Hope Center. Each life is precious and we are using the resources that you help to give to remind each person who comes to The Hope Center that they are important, they valuable, and they are loved – by a great God and His incredible people.

This Thanksgiving, and every Thanksgiving, we are so genuinely thankful for you! You’re making a difference. So again, thank you. We hope God blesses you this Christmas season.

 

 

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.

 

You Say Tomato…

We go through a lot of food each week. From the multiple meals each day to our residents and guests to the bags of supplemental groceries we give to individuals and families in need, we certainly do use a lot of food.

And when it comes to our food service program, we do our best to make our dining room feel like home to every person who stops by for a meal. While the overall look doesn’t necessarily say “home sweet home” we do our best to make sure the food on the plate has a “welcome home” kind of taste to it.

IMG_7921So our cooks and kitchen staff do everything they can to make sure that each meal is more like how “mom” did it so that our guests feel the comfort of a good homecooked meal.

And one of the most used items in our kitchen, and most kitchens around the globe, are tomato products. Our cooks use tomatoes in a multitude of ways to create delicious comfort dishes to serve.

And as you can imagine we go through a lot of tomato products each month. Right now we are currently in urgent need of tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and whole tomatoes for our daily meals. Any size jar or can of these products would be helpful!

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In addition to the tomato products for our hot meals, we are also in urgent need of 14-16oz jars of peanut butter for our food bags. Peanut butter is one of the most important items at our Food Bank and we go through it the quickest.

We’ve also listed some other items that we use quite often in our food bags for neighbors in need like boxes of mac & cheese and canned meals.

If you, your school, workplace, church or civic club are thinking about hosting a food drive this fall then this list can be a jumping off point to items to suggest for collection.

For more info on how & when to donate or to learn more about hosting a food drive please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And to learn more about our food programs and all the other programs and services at The Hope Center and even how you can get more involved please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

“I Knew I Needed a Change”

As a friend and supporter of The Hope Center, you are vital to the ongoing success of this ministry and the work God is doing in the hearts and lives of men, women and children.

But do you realize how God is using you to make a difference in the lives of those He sends our way?

Many of you are aware of our food programs, like Soup Line and our Food Bank. And most of you are aware that we have a homeless/transient overnight shelter for men that is open year round. But what many of you might not be familiar with is our Foundations Life Recovery program. Foundations is our free rehabilitation program for men battling addictions and who’ve strained their relationships and lost employment. For the duration of their program the men reside in our dormitory located in our main building but separate from our shelter. These men attend classes and work jobs around The Hope Center as they maneuver through the program.

Let me share with you the story of one of our current residents, Terry Barnes. This is Terry’s story:

IMG_2758“I came to The Hope Center on June 1, 2018. I knew I needed a change and I asked God to show me the way. And He did! My son brought me to The Hope Center and it was here that I finally had hope! I have been moving forward every day, trusting in Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.’

To celebrate Father’s Day I am going fishing with my son! What a blessing! I never had a father to experience good times and memories with, so I have committed to be the best father I can be. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the change He made in my life so I can be a father that my children love and respect.

I will graduate from Foundations program in August 2019. I came here as a project for God to rebuild and work in me. I am thankful for everyone here at The Hope Center for their guidance and support. And I am thankful for all those wonderful people who support The Hope Center.”

Terry’s story says it all. Your support of God’s work at The Hope Center is crucial. When you give you’re helping men like Terry rebuild their lives and create a fresh start. God is healing lives and restoring families and you are a part of this miracle.

If you’d like to learn more about partnering with us to help restore lives then please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

If you or someone you know is in need of help with addiction or need life recovery then please contact us immediately. Our program is free for men ages 18 and older. Foundations Life Recovery is a 13-month residential program aimed at helping men break their destructive habits and showing them the value that God sees in each of them. To talk to someone about the program please email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165. We currently do not have a program for women but we do have resources and connections to help women get the recovery they need as well.

Wildside Kick’s Off Another Summer of Adventure!

On May 14th Wildside hosted it’s annual Camp Wild Kick-Off Party! They had 54 kids join for an evening of Jesus, fun, games, and food.

Every month during the school year Wildside hosts themed parties for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. The Camp Wild Kick-Off Party is the final party of the season, but obviously, a celebration of the upcoming summer camp season which starts in July!!

The Camp Wild Kick-Off Party is always a crowd favorite because it’s another sign that the school year is coming to an end and it builds the excitement for another summer of fun at Camp Wild!

The evening started off with one of the kids’ favorite activities: dodgeball!

Following the huge game of dodgeball, everyone came together to enjoy some music and an interactive Bible lesson. The lesson time started with a song that the Wildside kids love, “Take it All” by Hillsong Kids. Following the music everyone jumped right into the lesson “Livin’ the Good Life”. The lesson is part of a series teaching the kids how to resolve conflict and live peacefully with God and each other. The kids learned that in order to resolve their personal conflicts they must state the problem, listen to the other person, and look for the solution. They learned that our greatest problem is our sin, that we need to listen to Jesus, and that He is the solution to our sin problem.

After the message, one of the Wildside kids, Aleshia, wowed everyone by reciting 10 Bible verses she had memorized in school! This passage of scripture told the story of Thomas doubting and then believing in the resurrected Jesus. How awesome to see so much scripture memorized by such a young lady.

Following the lesson time, the kids were able to spend their Bear Bucks at the Marketplace, play one of our carnival-style games, and eat dinner. Each of the carnival games was themed after camp. This summer, campers will travel to Latin America and explore God’s diverse array of people, cultures, animals, and environments.

Wildside ended the evening with a small dodgeball competition. We had twenty kids join the competition to battle it out for the winning title and the prize. After awarding the winners with Hershey bars and certificates, we handed out some prizes for a few well behaved children who stood out to the staff.

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Even though Wildside has wrapped up their parties for this school year, there’s still so much more fun planned for 2019. The fun continues this summer at Camp Wild! Camp Wild is an exciting, free day camp for kids ages 5-12. Registration is now open so don’t wait to sign your kids up for Camp Wild 2019. To learn more go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

If you would like to help volunteer at Camp Wild this year please contact us as soon as possible by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com.

“Those Frightened Eyes Still Haunt Me to This Day.”

By John Miller

JohnMiller (2)It happened 25 years ago. I was in my early 20’s. My wife sat on the kitchen floor looking up at me with tears because in anger I pushed her and she tripped over our young daughter. Those frightened eyes still haunt me to this day. I ran out of our small mobile home into the woods from sheer embarrassment at having abused my young wife. Now, she and our daughter were legitimately afraid of the one who was supposed to protect them from harm.

I found in the woods a huge log, sat down and wept. You see, I was full of rage and unreconciled pain from my childhood. My drug-addicted birth mother abandoned me when I was 9 months of age. She couldn’t handle being a mom and a drug addict so she made her choice and danced her “Woodstock Flower-girl” way into the sunset searching for her next “buzz”. Dad came home from work and found me in the crib with a wet diaper and an empty bottle. Dad was fighting his own demons of alcoholism and the next 14 years turbulently unfolded. We never did see “mom” again, to this day we don’t know where she ended up. Dad went through another bad marriage before he met his third wife and today I claim her as my “mother”.

But in my early 20’s, Dad was still trapped in the bottle and I was working through my own pain of feeling worthless, abandoned, and extremely inadequate to be a father and husband. I became a father at age 16. I did not grow up in church or in a Christian environment. When I met my girlfriend, now wife, we had no Biblical guidelines in our relationship. She stepped off the school bus in our Senior year of high school with tears and told me the news. Everyone pushed abortion but in our hearts we knew that was wrong and had our firstborn 9 months later, I had turned 17.

At age 19, after 2 years of a very troubled marriage, Melissa recovered her childhood Christian Faith and rededicated her life to Jesus Christ. I followed her to church one day and after listening to the Gospel for a few months and researching the evidence for the Bible, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior and Lord! However, though I was truly saved, I had some inner wounds that needed healing.

That day in my early 20’s, as a young Christian sitting on that log in the woods near our home, I poured my heart out to the Lord. I said: “Lord, I know I’m saved, but I’m still struggling with how to control my tongue and my temper. I need your help Lord. I can’t do this alone. You have to help me. I want to be a better man.”

I had to walk back to that mobile home where a frightened mother and daughter waited for the angry monster to return. I walked in with swollen, moist eyes and announced my apology, stating that I am going to change. Well, those are nice words, but we’ll see. What about the next time I become angry? What then? What kind of hope can I give them in that moment to show that I am allowing the Lord to heal my pain and help me recover godly, gentle manhood to lead my family with love and in a safe environment?

I began to study verses of Scripture in the book of Proverbs about anger. I memorized verses like Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 15:18, also Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:21, Galatians 5:22, and Philippians 4:13. These verses became lodged in my heart and mind! God’s Word was bringing about transformation. I urge you to look at these verses that will help not just in areas of uncontrolled anger but any area of weakness and sin that trips you up!

Over a period of time and “proving”, the Holy Spirit had more of me. I didn’t get more of Him, He got more of me as I surrendered areas of my life over to Him and continue to do so every day of my life! You see, this old flesh is still in me! I need these truths every day if I want Jesus to be seen in me. He has brought healing, trust, and a feeling of safety to my marriage. We still have disagreements just like every marriage but now it’s “safe” to argue. And since those early days, my dad and stepmom have given their hearts to Jesus! I baptized them myself! God broke the addictions in their lives and has given them a beautiful marriage.

I don’t know where this blog finds you today but I want you to know there is hope. Hope is found in a personal relationship with the Lord and His Word. God’s Holy Spirit can heal and fill you to overflowing. You cannot do this alone. You need the Lord to give you the strength every day. Please, surrender to Him now and be diligent, intentional, and deliberate in knowing Him and His Word. Call the Hope Center and inquire about how you can learn more about this Hope. It’s the answer! HE is the Answer!

To talk to someone at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Learn more about The Hope Center and all the programs & services we offer the community free of charge by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

John & Melissa Miller are familiar faces around The Hope Center. As former pastor at Faith Christian Fellowship, John & Melissa would help with evening chapel services and have both ministered in various ways to our residents and guests at The Hope Center in the past. Currently they are the V.P. of Operations/Missionaries for Churches in Missions. To learn more about the Millers go to http://www.johnandmelissamiller.com or visit http://www.churchesinmissions.org.

Maranatha Brethren Makes the Holidays Happy With a Christmas Prayer

Last Friday our residents and guests were treated to a holiday performance and dinner hosted by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church.

Every Christmas the choir from Maranatha performs their seasonal cantata in the Trinity Center for anyone and everyone in the community. This year the choir performed, ‘A Christmas Prayer’. Our guests enjoyed listening to Christmas music and were reminded about the true meaning and purpose of Christmas. The crowd enjoyed hearing a full choir plus various soloists perform as the Trinity Center was filled with Christmas spirit.

Following the performance the choir from Maranatha was joined by others from the church to serve a free dinner to everyone in attendance.

It was another bitterly cold night in Hagerstown but that didn’t stop people from coming out to hear the choir sing. We had over 100 people spend the evening celebrating the birth of Jesus with us!

We are so thankful for all the support and love that Maranatha has given our ministry and residents & guests over the years. Their Christmas cantata performance has become one of our new Christmas traditions and we are so thankful for the choir coming to perform and serve the community.

If you were unable to join us last Friday then why not stop by Maranatha Brethren Church this Sunday evening (12/16) for the full Christmas cantata, ‘A Christmas Prayer’, being performed by the choir in their church. For more information on the cantata performance please call 301.733.1717. Maranatha Brethren Church is located at 19835 Scott Hill Dr. just off of Jefferson Blvd. in Hagerstown.

To learn more about Maranatha Brethren Church please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net

New to Hagerstown, BJ’s Restaurant is Making Their Mark in our Community

Earlier this year a new restaurant opened at The Valley Mall and has been the talk of the town – and you can tell by the constant wait times just to dine there.

BJ’s, located at 17318 Valley Mall Rd, has only been opened for a few months but is already making an impact in the community that they serve.

On October 29th, 11 employees from BJ’s in Hagerstown volunteered to serve lunchtime meals to our residents and Soup Line guests as a part of their TASC FORCE (Team Action to Support Communities).

But they didn’t just come to serve the food – they also brought the food. They served our residents and guests food from their own menu at the restaurant and prepared by their own chefs which included salad, pizza, chicken quinoa bowl, grilled chicken alfredo, and chocolate chip cookies! We’re hungry just thinking about all the great food they served!

We had a full house eating lunch that day and we can confidently say that all of our residents and guests enjoyed their lunch from BJ’s! We were so thankful for the crew from BJ’s, not just that they prepared and served lunch, but that they also mingled and interacted with our residents and guests and made their time with us feel like one big family meal.

So we want to say ‘thank you’ to BJ’s for all they did for our residents & guests and we will welcome them back any time they want to help out in the community again!

And if you haven’t been to BJ’s yet then you definitely need to go! If you’ve never heard of BJ’s before then check out http://www.bjsrestaurants.com to see their menu and get business hours.

Our guests and residents can openly attest to their delicious food but in addition to their incredible menu, including everyone’s favorite treat, Pizookie, they also have wonderful, kind employees and are an organization that is committed to giving back to their community and being involved by helping others.

Has BJ’s inspired you or your organization to get involved? If so call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to talk to someone about how you can partner with us to help those in need. You can also learn more about our food services and other community programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.