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.

Where is Your Hope?

One of my favorite hymns, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, states in the first verse, “My HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” It states in the third verse, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my HOPE and stay.”

The ministry of the HOPE Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission is reaching out to the many who have nowhere else to turn. They are not aware of the blessed HOPE that is Jesus Christ until they find their way to the Rescue Mission. Lives have been changed through the sharing of the HOPE of the Gospel. (Romans 8:24 & 25)

Hebrews 11:1 states: Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things to come. As this message of HOPE is given to so many who are down and out and have no place else to turn, the love of God through His Son Jesus gives a whole new perspective. Not only are our sins forgiven, but Titus 2:13 tells us, Looking for that blessed HOPE and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. We now know where we will spend eternity, and His return could happen today.

But are believers sharing this HOPE, the good news of our salvation? 1 Peter 3:15 says, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the HOPE that is in you with meekness and fear.

I praise God for the ministry of the many Rescue Missions founded by my dear Uncle Jim Resh and the HOPE they have given to thousands over the years. As we are living in the end times when the rapture could happen at any moment, believers need to be ready to share the Gospel at every opportunity. We also need to give our support to ministries like The HOPE Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Lynette Brewer

Written by Lynette Brewer

Lynette Brewer lives in Westminster, Maryland, has been President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Westminster Rescue Mission and has recently become a member of their Board of Directors.

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

The first Friday of each month is set aside to celebrate birthdays at The Hope Center, and this month we were able to celebrate another birthday with one of our residents, Eddie!

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Our friend, Stormy, provided another delicious birthday cake for our celebration!

Eddie has been at The Hope Center for a while and he is nearing the end of his program. He’s been working hard to straighten his life out and allow God to mold him into the man he was designed to be.

We asked Eddie to give us a quick testimony of what God is doing in his life. It’s great to see and hear another story of victory from one of our residents.

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“Upon my arrival to The Hope Center I can safely say that I was completely broken.  Between drug addiction and a complete disregard for my own life, I was heading to one of two places – prison or a casket.  I knew of a place called The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission where I could go and change my life with God’s help.  I now have one month left in the long-term recovery program here at The Hope Center and I can proudly say that my life is changed!  I now live for God and His glory.  Once I graduate I will be going to Philadelphia, PA where I have been accepted into an internship program through Urban Hope Ministries.  I will have the wonderful opportunity to minister to kids and young adults who have or are around the same life crisis conditions I once had.  God took my mess of a life and is now going to use it for His glory!”

Eddie, just like the other men who come through The Hope Center, was on a path of destruction and death but he allowed God to make the necessary changes in his heart and mind and now he’s a totally new man.

Eddie is fighting the good fight and he’s able to celebrate another year of life thanks to God’s help. Hope has been restored into Eddie’s life and now he’s able to spread the message of hope & change to hundreds of people in Philadelphia.

Eddie is just one of the many men who seek real help from a real God at The Hope Center. Thanks to faithful supporters like you, we are able to provide our residents with a safe environment of love and support to help conquer their addictions and other destructive habits.

When you donate financially or through gifts such as food or gently used items for our Thrift Stores, you are helping to change lives. You may not realize it at the time but it’s true. People like Eddie are made brand new in Christ because of the generosity of loving and caring people like you.

Thank you for supporting The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. We thank God for friends like you because now a person like Eddie is able to change the world for Christ.

If you aren’t familiar with The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission and want more info or would like to become a supporter of our ministry then call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, check out www.hagerstownrescue.org to learn more about the many programs and ministries we provide to our community.

Happy Birthday!

The first Friday of each month is birthday month at The Hope Center!

We love to celebrate another year of life each month for the residents in our Foundations Life Recovery program. And we love the delicious cake made each month by our friend, Stormy!

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In October we celebrated with Mark, John & David. Mark and John have been previously enrolled in the program and are glad to be back and hoping to finish strong this time.

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David is a newer resident. He enrolled in the program in July 2013.  He came here from Carroll County.  Unfortunately David was unable to join in the birthday celebration because he was hospitalized for a time. As soon as he returned from the hospital, we were happy to celebrate his birthday!

David Smith & Sonny Shank

Please continue to pray for the men, like Mark, John & David, who are enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program. As you read about Mark & John, this is not an easy fight and sometimes men leave the program to return to their destructive ways. Pray that God continues to work in their hearts and that the men allow God to make changes and are open to

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. Each time that we celebrate birthdays is a constant reminder to all of us that God is in the business of hope & change. Your support helps to keep programs like Foundations Life Recovery operational and gives men like Mark, John & David a chance to celebrate their birthday each year.

For more info about The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, including details about our Foundations program or learning how you can become a supporter, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Setting the Record Straight

Recently there was an article published in the Herald Mail that exposed some criticism of the way transients and residents are housed at The Hope Center.
While we totally understand the concern expressed by the Chief of Police and others, we feel that the article was inadequate in actually telling the whole story. There are always two sides to every story and usually the truth lies in the middle. But in the case of this article, there were some important facts that were either forgotten or left out.
Please allow us a few minutes of your time to explain our side of the story.
We want to begin by saying that Hagerstown is our community, too. We all live in the greater Hagerstown area. Our families live, work and play here. We have parents, children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors who are valuable and important to us. With that being said, we would not knowingly put these precious people in harm’s way. Hagerstown is our town. It’s the place that we call home. This community is valuable to us, which is why we help our neighbors in need. We are here to help build a better Hagerstown. We are not here to ruin lives or put anyone in danger.
While making Hagerstown a better place to live and work is very important to us, it is also very important to us to help individuals in need, no matter where they call home. How can you turn away a stranger in need just because he or she isn’t a local? We’ve been called to help give hope to all people. Whether our guests are families, individuals, men, women, children, teens, homeless or hopeless, we are here to help get those at the bottom back on their feet, get their lives back in order and show them God’s love. We are not here to judge. We are here to help.
We do screen individuals who come into our facility as best as we can. Many times, transients and residents are sent to us by the court system, hospitals or social service agencies. We trust that the information given to us is accurate and up-to-date. We want to be a place which our local and state governments can trust as a real program to help repair broken and hurting people. We want to provide a service to agencies that want these individuals to get help. So when we are contacted by various counties, agencies or governments, we do everything we can to help.
Concerning one of the men in question in the Herald Mail article, our intake staff person talked to the Worchester County official about the man. In the desperation of the situation of trying to find this man some quick housing, some of the important facts about his crimes were not presented. Based on information presented by the county, we allowed this man to come in as a transient without knowing that he was a violent criminal. The same day that he arrived we were contacted by the Worchester County Parole & Probation informing us that he should never have been allowed to leave that county.  We then contacted our local Parole & Probation office.  They instructed us to allow him to stay the night.  The next day we escorted the man to their office at which time he was returned to Worchester County.
Please understand that we were the ones proactive to notify local authorities about this man’s whereabouts. We have always cooperated with the authorities. We want to help everyone who comes into our facility, but safety of our staff, residents and guests is of great importance to us.
Unfortunately, Hagerstown has become a sort of dumping ground for guys leaving the prison system outside of the city. Since the state doesn’t return the inmates to their respective homes after release, many are left without options. They usually end up looking for a place to stay in Hagerstown. Many times they become transient or homeless until something works out for them. But the problem is that these former inmates are stuck in Hagerstown and often find themselves associating with all the wrong people. When inmates are released from the prisons, we try to help them continue their rehabilitation into society. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s always up to the individual. We can only try to help. Either way, these guys are on the streets in Hagerstown. Whether we allow them to sleep in our facility at night or they stay somewhere else. These guys for a time are crashing in our town.
The picture has been painted that the guys who come through our program or stay as transient guests are all violent criminals. Sure, they all usually have a past associated with crime or abuse. But many people do. Here at The Hope Center we try to give each man the benefit of the fact that people can change for the better – that your past is behind you and the future can promise you something new. That’s the way God sees each of us. No matter what your social standing is. No matter what side of the tracks you’re from. No matter what school you went to or how many degrees you have. God doesn’t care what your income is nor is He impressed with your address. He loves people of all walks of life. He wants the best for everyone and He welcomes all people, no matter the sin committed, to take comfort in His forgiveness.
And that’s why we’re here. We are to be God’s love here in Hagerstown. We want to help all those in need. But we want to make sure that we are not hurting our own town which is why we notify local authorities about dangerous individuals. We don’t want to be known as an agency that doesn’t care about our neighbors and knowingly puts others in harm’s way. That doesn’t fit our purpose.
We are here to bring hope to people. Homeless people. Hungry people. Abandoned people. Scared people. Lost people. Rich people. Poor people. Old people. Young people. Good people. Bad people. As long as there are people in need, we will be here to help bring hope to them. And this service is done without any tax money. God provides our needs through churches, groups, schools, businesses and individuals. We are here to be a service to you and anyone who needs immediate help.
We understand that problems with crime in the city are very difficult challenges for the authorities and government to deal with. But we hope that each of you understand that we are here to help make our community better. We are working, thanks to generous supporters like you, to help our local authorities make Hagerstown a better place in which to live, full of hope rather than crime.

Good Friday Reflection

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

Today, Good Friday, is a day of reflection. Today we look at the incredible, painful sacrifice that Jesus endured on our behalf.

We all know that His body was beaten beyond recognition. We all know that He suffered extreme physical pain, even before He was crucified. We all know that His body was so weakened that He couldn’t even continue to carry His cross down the Via Dolorosa.

We know of His fear in the garden. We know of the immense pressure He was going through leading up to the moments of betrayal.

We know of the betrayal of Judas. We know of the betrayal of Peter. We know how His heart hurt knowing His close friends would turn their backs on Him.

But do we know the actual pain of His heart when His Father turned His back? Do we understand the incredible moment in history when God actually turned His back on a human? Imagine Jesus realizing, at that very moment, that God couldn’t look at Him. That God, in righteous justice, had to turn away. Imagine the empty feeling that Jesus felt and had to endure through those minutes. No physical pain could ever be worse. No human taunts could hurt as bad. No betrayal by His closest friends could ever cause such emptiness.

Yet through it all, He persevered and endured physical, emotional and spiritual pain and death for each of us. For me! For you!

It was because of us that Christ was beaten, bruised, killed and abandoned. It was our selfish sin that caused the pain. It was our inability to be reconciled on our own that caused His punishment.

Today is a day of meditation. A day of thanksgiving. A day of prayer. Because of the events of today, two thousand years ago, history changed. Not just the history of man but the history of eternity.

When Christ said, “it is finished”, He meant it. At that moment, all the sins of the past, all the sins of the present, and all the sins of the future were paid in full. At that moment, Christ stormed the gates of Hell. But more importantly, at that moment, God’s wrath towards me and you was fulfilled. And at that moment something new was given to mankind: hope.

You and I will never have to endure the pain of separation from God, if we so choose. We have escaped the curse of humanity. We have been given a free pass to Heaven. And more importantly, we have been given an opportunity to be God’s children. Through the sacrifice, pain and torture of Jesus, we now have hope.

Because God couldn’t look at Jesus on that cross, He can now look at us. When He sees me He doesn’t see me as a person riddled with sin. Sentenced to death. He sees me as redeemed. He sees what Jesus did for me. And He sees a heart that has accepted the payment of Christ. A heart filled with the hope of a promise of eternal life with God. Free from death and pain. Free of the punishment of this wicked world.

Today, in the midst of your daily hustle and bustle, take time to remember the extreme price that Christ paid for you. Think about How he was totally separated from God. Think about the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that He suffered for you.

And remember that today was just the beginning. Three days later Christ emerged victorious. For us. Fully resurrected by God. God no longer turned His back on His Son. Instead, He looked at Him with pride. Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. And He made it possible for us to be heirs of the Kingdom.

Today we celebrate hope. The world was dark and dying without Jesus’ sacrifice. But once He said, “it is finished”, hope was born. And that same hope that was offered to me has been offered to you. It has been offered to the worst of the worst. To the repeat offender. To the most wicked.

Because of Christ’s death and resurrection we have hope of eternal life.  If you have never experienced the hope of Christ, what a better day than Good Friday to do so. If you believe that Jesus was truly God’s Son, sent to die for our sins and if you believe that God raised Him up therefore beating Satan, sin and death, then you need to declare to God, right now, that you believe all these things and you accept Christ’s payment for your life. That from this day forth, you are redeemed thanks to what Christ did for you on Good Friday. Make the choice today to pray, asking for forgiveness and accepting Christ’s awesome gift. There is no better way to celebrate Good Friday!

“Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.”

A Message From The Director

Bruce "Sonny" Shank
Executive Director

When I think of Easter, one of the first things I think of is the cross. Not just any cross, but the cross on which Jesus Christ, the Messiah, God’s own Son, died. The cross of Christ can mean different things to different people. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

In this brief verse we are given two distinct views of how people see the cross. To those who are perishing it is considered foolishness, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God. The cross becomes a dividing line in how we view the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 we are told that Satan, the god of this age, “has blinded those who do not believe to the truth lest the light of the Gospel of Christ should shine upon them.”

Now, it would seem that we have a dilemma in that Satan blinds them to the truth so they cannot believe. But in the next verse (2 Corinthians 4:5) Paul gives the solution for this blindness: “preach…Christ Jesus the Lord.” And in 2 Timothy 4:2 we are told to “preach the Word!” In Romans 1:16 Paul proclaims that “the Gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.”

It is in this powerful, life-changing message of Easter, the Gospel of Christ, the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, and His burial and resurrection that every ministry of The Hope Center finds its core!

Every person who comes to The Hope Center will hear the message of Easter which is the promise of new beginnings and new life made possible through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross!

The Hope Center offers the hope of new life through Christ to men, women, and kids every day through nourishing meals, shelter, Christian care, classes, and many other programs and services made possible through your generous support.

Thank you for partnering with us to share the message of hope to destitute people. Lives are being changed…because you care!

Stories of Hope – The Transformation of Jose

“God, if you are real, PLEASE HELP ME!”

One man’s journey to transformation thanks to you!

Jose never really had a chance…

At the tender age of four, Jose, his mother, and his sisters were on the run – fleeing for their lives from a father who’d rather hit them than hug them.

It was a living nightmare.

As a teenager, Jose’s heartache continued as another man – a step-father who Jose loved deeply – walked out of his life…leaving him broken with no explanation.

That was just too much for his young heart. And Jose had to dull the pain…he turned to alcohol…and his life quickly spiraled out of control. Then a few years later, on one dark night, overwhelmed by feeling lost, alone, unloved, and without any purpose in his life, Jose called out, “God, if you are real, please help me!”

And God heard him…loud and clear.

A few weeks passed and a few of Jose’s friends invited him to go to church. And on that Sunday, for the first time ever, Jose heard the Gospel of God’s redeeming love, His acceptance, and His forgiveness…and Jose responded!

But there was still a battle raging within Jose, keeping him in constant struggle…as he was confronted with the consequences of his rebellion, being jobless, wanting to grow spiritually, and having nowhere to turn for help.

Jose called out to God again for help…and this time, God led him to The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission!

Today, because of your support, Jose is experiencing peace for the first time ever – and has even been reunited with his sister after 17 years.

Jose is growing in God’s Word and is learning to surrender more and more. In his own words, “I need to have more of God and less of me.”

Having just graduated from our program last month, Jose is now planning to enroll in classes at Liberty University where he will pursue Pastoral Studies – devoting his life to God and ministering to others who, just like him, need help putting their lives back together.

Thank you for being an important part of Jose’s transformation and giving him hope for the future!

Give Online!

We’ve made it really easy for you to be able to help us spread God’s message of hope to people in need!

We are now able to accept online donations from your credit or debit cards! If you’d like to give to the Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission then head over to our website, hagerstownrescue.org.

It’s a simple and quick process. Once on our site, just click on the “donate” tab and then click on the “give online” tab in the pop-out tray. You can decide how much to give. Give once or make it a weekly or monthly habit…it’s all up to you! And since we use PayPal, you can rest assured that your personal information is secure!

When you give to the Hope Center, your money is going to support several different ministries and outreach programs helping addicts, homeless, youth and families in need. Since our facilities never close at any point during the year, your gift will help us provide housing for our residents, shelter for transients and emergency services for individuals and families in need.

Thank you for helping us in any way you can! Whether it’s through a financial gift, in-kind (food, clothing, furniture, etc.) gift, volunteering or praying for us we know that we couldn’t do all that we do without your support! We thank God for our friends and neighbors that are so proactive in helping to bring hope to those in need!