Mark Your Calendars: The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is Coming!

Thanksgiving is one of America’s most treasured holidays. And unfortunately it often gets overlooked between the excitement of Halloween and all the festivities of Christmas. But this holiday is one where families and friends come together to celebrate, reflect, reconnect, and, most importantly, give thanks to God for all the blessings of the year.

Thanksgiving 1Thanksgiving shouldn’t be spent alone which is why we have hosted a community Thanksgiving feast since our beginning. When The Hope Center first started in 1955 we were just a small facility on Jail Alley where alcoholic men could find refuge and safety and a chance to start anew. But Jim & Ellen Resh, our founders, didn’t just want it to be a rehabilitation facility. They wanted the men who were struggling with their addiction to feel like they were valued and were a part of a family.

So naturally, the holidays became an important part of The Hope Center. And as the years passed we welcomed the community to join us as we host a Thanksgiving buffet for anyone and everyone in the community who just wants some great food and good company on Thanksgiving.

We never want anyone to go hungry or feel lonely. God has blessed our ministry since the beginning and we continue to show His love to our neighbors each and every day in as many ways as we can. We are so thankful to still be able to host The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast again this year – continuing a tradition since the 1950’s and hosting one of, if not the oldest and continually operational Thanksgiving meals in the community.

So we are extending the invitation to anyone in the community this year who is looking for a wonderful place to celebrate and give thanks. The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast starts at 11:30 am at the Trinity Center (located on Walnut Street next to our Thrift Store in Hagerstown). And since this is an activity for everyone, even kids, we’re hosting activities for your children that day as well starting at 11am. All are welcome to come and we hope that you spread the word to your friends and family!

If you already have plans for Thanksgiving but want to still be a part of this tradition then why not donate some food for the event? We plan to serve around 300 guests that day so you can imagine all the bread, corn, potatoes, butter, cranberry sauce and turkey that’s needed to keep our buffet stocked. And on top of that we’ll still serve breakfast and dinner to others so we’ll go through a lot of food that week. Any donation of food or other resources can make a big impact. If you’d like more information about donating then please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. You can also check out more info on our food programs at http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. Thank you for helping us keep our Thanksgiving tradition going year after year! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day 4On Monday we celebrate the American worker! Our nation was built on the backs of great people who sacrificed and poured their own blood, sweat and tears into making this such a successful, diverse, and creative nation. Even today people from all over the world do anything they can to be a part of this nation of hard workers.

We’re happy to celebrate the women and men who keep this nation moving forward. Thank you to each of you who work hard at your jobs and then give back some of your earnings to support our mission to bring hope to the less fortunate. We appreciate your hard work and your kind and generous heart to give to others. Our supporters, donors, and partners are an example of everything that is good about America.

So we honor each of you hard workers on Monday! Thank you for all you do!

Our Administrative Offices, Thrift Stores, Wildside Youth, Sorting/Donation Center, and Recycling Facility will all be closed on Monday, September 4th, so that our staff can enjoy a time of relaxation and celebration.

Our daily food service and overnight shelter will be open and operational on Monday, September 4th. If anyone is hungry and needs a delicious meal on Labor Day then please join us at 1:15pm for our Soup Line. And men looking for a place to sleep for the evening can check in beginning at 5:30pm. If anyone has any questions about Labor Day schedules or any other inquiries please call 301.739.1165 or visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

We hope everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day!

Fourth of July Schedule

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In observance of Independence Day The Hope Center will operate on the following schedule:

OPEN

  • Overnight (homeless) Shelter: regular schedule (registration begins at 5:30pm)
  • Soup Line: Doors open at 1:15pm
  • Evening chapel service and meal: regular schedule (7pm)

CLOSED

  • Administrative & Camp Wild offices
  • Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg)
  • Donation & Sorting center
  • Food Bank
  • Recycling facilities

Everything will return to normal operating schedule on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017. If you have any questions about services on July 4th please call 301.739.1165.

Thank you and have a safe & fun Independence Day!

Happy Fathers Day!

Celebrating our parents or being celebrated as a parent is a special thing. God gave us the miracle to bring life into the world and the huge responsibility of raising those lives.

Unfortunately sin has a way of damaging and destroying lives which often results in so many broken relationships. But throughout all of our failures and familial problems, God has the opportunity to change lives and bring people back together.

At The Hope Center, Father’s Day is a day of many feelings: sadness, fondness, thankfulness, regret, and hope. Many of the guys who are in our Foundations Life Recovery program and those who’ve been a part of it in the past have had to deal with broken relationships with their parents and even estrangement from their own children.

By the time most of the guys who come to The Hope Center to break their addictions and deadly habits they have already lost everything: their homes, their jobs, and unfortunately, their families. Some of the guys who come are fathers themselves and have lost all contact with their children. Other guys who come have been abandoned by their own fathers and left with a void in their lives. Others have fathers who care so deeply for their sons and hurt as they watch them destroy themselves.

But the purpose of Foundations, the 13-month life rehabilitation program at The Hope Center, is to help these men start a relationship with God and allow Him to create a new man out of the old.

The men who are a part of our program are not just working to break the addictions that have caused so many issues, they’re also striving towards the goal of reconciling with their families and being the father, husband and son God created them to be.

Fathers Day Pic (2)

From L-R: Sonny Shank (Executive Director), Wade, Dominic, Darrell, Justin, Howard and Louis

We talked to a few of our residents about their relationships with their fathers, and for those who are fathers themselves, about their relationships with their own children. Here’s what they had to say:

WADE

Wade joined Foundations in January of this year. He is the father of three daughters and grandfather to seven. For two years, Wade did not have any relationships with his daughters and he, himself, has no relationship with his father. At one point, Wade found himself in a depression that was so deep he became suicidal. One of his daughters, who lives in Maryland, bought him a one-way ticket to Hagerstown and he enrolled in Foundations at the beginning of the year.

Since coming to The Hope Center Wade said his depression is gone, his health is being restored and he has reconnected with his family and now has a good relationship with his daughters. At 54 years old, he feels healthier and more energetic and is able to focus his attention on his relationship with his daughters.

DOMINIC

Dominic is brand new to Foundations, having enrolled at the beginning of June. He is the father of a daughter in Carroll County and has one granddaughter. When talking about Father’s Day, Dominic recalls that he never really had a good relationship with his father who is now passed away.

Dominic came to The Hope Center because he knew he was making poor choices and wanted to get his life right with God. His hope this Father’s Day is to learn and grow so that he can be a better example to his daughter so that she will have a desire to honor him as her father.

DARRELL

Darrell joined Foundations in October of 2016. For Darrell, Father’s Day is a day of celebration and also mourning as he lost both his grandfather and father at an early age in life. His grandfather died when he was seven and then only three years later his father died when he was ten. For a young boy to lose two role models in his life wasn’t easy.

This Father’s Day it’s his desire that through all he’s learning and how he’s growing spiritually in the Foundations program that he will be the man God wants him to be to honor his late father and grandfather.

LOUIS

Louis is in the final stages of his time in our Foundations Life Recovery program. Having enrolled in May of 2016, Louis is a gold level resident and is quickly approaching completion and graduation from the program!

For Louis, Father’s Day as a kid wasn’t ideal because he had a broken relationship with his father because his mother would not allow his dad any visitation. In fact, he didn’t really know much about his dad until he was 12 or 13 years old. At the age of 16, his father was awarded custody of him because he was being physically abused by his mother.

Since then, he and his dad have built a good relationship and he’s learned a lot from his father. His dad is currently 72 years old and is recovering from a stroke but is very happy and thankful that Louis is enrolled in the Foundations program at The Hope Center.

JUSTIN

Justin enrolled in Foundations in mid-April. While his father is still a part of his life he says that he has a broken relationship with him. His father, who doesn’t know the Lord, is dealing with addictions too. Justin says, “I don’t blame my father for my addiction. My choices are my own.” And while Justin is working hard to conquer his addictions and clean up his life, he’s also hopeful that in the process he can rebuild his relationship with his dad.

Since being at The Hope Center, Justin believes that there is hope that God can bring reconciliation to his relationship with his dad because of his own relationship with God.

HOWARD

Howard is a 2013 graduate of Foundations and is now an employee at our Hagerstown Thrift Store.

Thinking back on his life, Howard recalls that his “second” father adopted him when he was 15 years old. But as he got older they went their separate ways for several years. It wasn’t until he enrolled in Foundations in 2012 that he reunited with his father.

While in the 13-month program, his father asked him to come live with him. But Howard, understanding the value of the program and having a deep desire to complete it, told him that he would stay and finish at The Hope Center instead.

Since graduating, Howard has a very close relationship with his dad. They work together in their church, and they are working together to help homeless people. Howard says, “I love my dad and I thank God that we have an excellent relationship.”

This Fathers Day we celebrate the men who were men by acknowledging their addictions and entered our program to start a life lasting change. Please join us in celebrating these guys as they fight the good fight to be the incredible men God already sees.

Continue to pray for the men who are currently enrolled, have graduated or moved on, and for those who will come in the future seeking victory and reconciliation. Your support in all ways has helped to bring these men to Christ, conquered their addictions and restored their families. Thank you for caring and sharing for each precious life who seeks help at The Hope Center

Happy Memorial Day!

“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!

While God is marching on”    -Battle Hymn of the Republic

Memorial Day 3

As Americans we love our freedoms but sometimes we often forget the extreme price that has been paid for those freedoms. We can easily get caught in our day-to-day routine of balancing family with work and navigating such busy lives that we sometimes forget how blessed we are to not just live in a prosperous nation but also one that enjoys such incredible freedoms.

As we go to picnics, parties and gatherings today, we need to remember the thousands of patriots who have gone before us sacrificing their lives, their blood and their families so that we can enjoy such human freedom that was once only imagined as a dream.

We thank God everyday for our military and their families who give up so much so that we can be free. Thank you to each of you who are currently serving right now to make sure that these shores are protected and our rights and freedoms continue.

Thank you to the families who watch as their loved ones leave for long periods of time to put their lives on the line for millions of fellow Americans that they’ve never met.

And we thank God for giving us the honor of living in a country where we value freedoms and each other so much. We hope that each day serves as a reminder of the blessings given to each of us from above. May we continue to fight for freedom, both here and elsewhere, defending those whose voices have been silenced and whom God asks of us to help.

On this Memorial Day, we hope that we all can come together, in spite of our differences, to thank those who have given their lives so that we can all live in peace and be free.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

 

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!

 

 

Making Spirits Bright…One Cookie at a Time

Do you love to bake?

Do you love spreading Christmas cheer?

Would you love helping to make someone’s Christmas magical?

This time of year can be difficult on many people who are dealing with loneliness and depression. And often times a simple gesture or small token of love can boost the spirit of another person.

The guys in our Foundations Life Recovery program will be spending this Christmas with their Hope Center family. Many times our residents have burned bridges with family, friends and other loved ones while they were consumed with whatever addiction was destroying them. Christmas at The Hope Center can be difficult on some because they are away from the people that they love while fighting hard to restore the life God created for them.

We try to make Christmas as special as possible at The Hope Center. Our Ladies’ Auxiliary hosts a special Christmas party just for our residents. We go all out decorating the facilities at The Hope Center and we bring our staff, Board of Directors and Ladies’ Auxiliary together with our residents for a special Christmas service where our residents receive Christmas gifts and celebrate with us as one big family.

So, would you like to help us make Christmas magical for our residents and guests? It’s simple and cheap but it can bring a smile that will last through the holidays.

christmas-cookies-1We are asking our friends in the community to bake cookies, candies, cakes, pies or any other Christmas treats for our men to have on Christmas day. And look, we understand if baking isn’t your thing. If that’s the case just grab a can of nuts or some of your favorite fruit for our residents and guests. We’re just hoping to show these precious people that the community stands behind them and supports them as they fight the good fight to restore their lives. It’s our goal that by next Christmas these men are reunited with their loved ones and celebrating with them.

If you’re interested in helping to make the season bright for our residents & guests then turn that oven on, grab those cookie trays and prepare the icing! You can drop off your food donation at our Administrative Office which is open M-F from 8:30am – 5pm. We do ask that when you drop off the food to please let us know that it’s for the Christmas day celebration for our residents.

We appreciate each and every one of you who will help to keep a smile on someone’s face and show God’s love, even if only through a cookie, to someone who needs to see it.

For more info or inquiries, please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.