In Loving Memory of Jean Blaise Kikudi

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to one of our own, Jean Blaise Kikudi. Jean went home to be with the Lord the end of September at the age of 52. He was employed at The Hope Center as an evening deskman/security for our emergency men’s shelter. But his is the story of God’s transformational love and the visible manifestation of what God is doing in the lives of those who step foot into The Hope Center.

Volunteer Appreciation 2013 019 (2)Jean Blaise was born in the summer of 1966 in the Congo. He earned a BS in Economics and became a naturalized US citizen in February of 2003. Unfortunately Jean Blaise found himself in some trouble and was convicted of a felony and was paroled to The Hope Center. When he first arrived he wanted nothing to do with The Hope Center and it was obvious that he did not want to be here. But in September of 2009 he applied for enrollment to Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month rehabilitation program. On December 1, 2009, Jean was officially entered into the Foundations program to start getting his life back on track.

During his time as a resident in Foundations, Jean totally changed as God began to doDSC_1390 (2) major work in his life. God worked in his life and Jean’s attitude and personality were completely transformed. What was once a scowl on his face became a huge, infectious smile. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!” Jean was not afraid to share his story of transformation and his testimony was incredibly inspiring and one that encouraged the other men in our Foundations program to continue fighting the fight to recovery. Jean completed the program and graduated on April 15, 2011.

Following his graduation he became employed at The Hope Center. He continued to be involved with The Hope Center in other ways including singing with the residents when visiting churches, attending other Foundations Life Recovery graduations, and helping anywhere he could. In addition to helping at The Hope Center, Jean was very involved with his church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hagerstown.

Jean BlaiseIf you’ve ever volunteered at The Hope Center, especially for the evening chapel and community meal, or had hosted our residents at your church you’ve probably seen Jean and his big pearly smile. Jean was a great man who came from a very good family and almost lost it all until God did an incredible work in his life.

We are so deeply saddened by the death of Jean Blaise but it is the promise that God gives us of eternal life that helps us deal with the sudden loss of our graduate, coworker, and most importantly, our friend. His death was shocking and difficult to process but we all have the hope that he’ll be waiting for us with his huge smile as God calls us home one day.

To each of you who have supported The Hope Center by praying, financially sponsoring, donating gently used items, volunteering, hosting food drives, or being involved in any other way, you were a part of helping to change Jean’s life for good. He may never have met each of you and you may never have known him, but God used you to help bring Jean to him and now Jean is singing the song of victory.

Thank you for supporting us as we work each day to help people like Jean. Your support helped save a man and change his life completely. Thank you for caring and sharing. God used your gift and turned it into an investment of eternal proportions.

To God be the glory!

 

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Wildside’s Birthday Bash Kicks Off the Party Season!

Imagine one giant party to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Sounds kinda wild, doesn’t it? Well Wildside Youth Ministries likes to do things a little different so they kicked off their school year party season with a huge birthday party celebration!

All the kids who attended the Birthday Bash on September 25th were able to celebrate their birthday. Each month was given a celebration and no one was left out of the fun! 52 kids ages 5-12 attended the first Wildside party of the season where they played birthday themed carnival games, painted faces, made crafts and enjoyed some great food.

But the most important part of the evening was learning about having the most important birthday: a spiritual birthday. The kids in attendance learned all about the importance of being born again and following Jesus.

Wildside is the youth ministry at The Hope Center. In addition to monthly large event parties during the school year, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings during the school year as well as The Crew which is the student leadership development program for older kids in the program. And each summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp for kids in July & August. All Wildside activities are free for kids ages 5-12. Learn more about Wildside and upcoming events by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Your financial donations to The Hope Center help fund these important activities for kids in Hagerstown. We are able to keep Wildside and our other programs and services for free for our guests because of generous and faithful supporters in our community. Thank you for your support of The Hope Center as we continue to reach everyone in our community – even kids – for Christ!

Want to learn more about donating or volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to get all the info you need on how to become a partner with us.

Who’s Hungry? Auxiliary Sandwich Sale is Here!

Ham Sandwich FallIt’s the best time of the year: country ham sandwich sale!! Our Auxiliary is currently taking orders for their delicious country ham sandwiches. Place orders from now until October 13. Sandwiches will be available for pickup on October 19th. To place an order please call 301.739.1165 or 301.790.3843.

The country ham sandwiches are only $3 each and proceeds from the sales of the sandwiches goes to the many programs and services at The Hope Center. Since we take no government funding and also provide all services for free our Auxiliary plays a major role in helping to fund important programs, sponsor various projects, and make sure our residents have different special activities throughout the year. Your sandwich purchase goes a long way in helping feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, recovery to the addict, and so much more. To learn more about the various programs at The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Interested in making a difference in the community by being a part of our Auxiliary? We’re looking for new members so if you or someone you know is interested please email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or call 301.739.1165 to talk to someone. Spread the word and invite others to join you at our Auxiliary!

Happy, Happy Birthday!!

Join us in wishing Dustin & Albert HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Dustin celebrated his birthday in July and Albert just celebrated his this week. Both men are in our Foundations Life Recovery Program. Each month we celebrate the birthdays of the men in our residential program – and of course we have cake! Our good friend Stormy bakes birthday cakes each month for our residents!

Dustin joined our Foundations program in January of this year. While here he made a profession of Christ in his life and is seeking to make positive changes in his life that will help him once he leaves the program. He is about halfway through the Foundations program so please continue to pray for him in his journey as he grows and faces the challenge of confronting the various things that have caused problems in his life.

Albert joined Foundations in September of 2017 after being released into our facility from prison. While in prison he made a profession of Christ which is what lead him to apply to our Foundations program at his release. He wanted a safe, Christian environment to help him grow and change his life patterns and to be in a place where he can build a positive bridge into his future. He quickly joined a local church in Hagerstown and has continued to grow spiritually which has helped him develop great relationships with others. He is very close to graduating from Foundations so continue to keep praying for Albert that he finishes strong and has the confidence to go boldly into his new life without fear. He’s excited about his opportunity to share his new life with others in the community who need to hear about the power of Christ just like he did.

Please continue to pray for all of the men who come in and out of our Foundations Life Recovery Program. It’s not easy for guys to acknowledge that they need to join the program and make necessary changes in their lives and it’s even harder for them to continue once they join. These men are facing serious challenges in their lives and they need all the prayer and support possible. Please continue to invest in their lives through prayer, volunteering, and donating to The Hope Center. Your donation of food, used clothing, shoes, housewares, furniture, etc, and your donation of time serving food, hosting a chapel service, painting or doing anything at The Hope Center are all part of helping these men rehabilitate their lives and giving them the recovery and victory they so desperately want and need. Your support truly does make a difference and God uses it to help them move forward in the face of personal issues. Thank you for helping us celebrate these men and their birthdays.

To learn more about volunteering or donating to The Hope Center or for more information about our Foundations Life Recovery Program for men please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165.

Thrift Store Day is Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that tomorrow, August 18th, we’re celebrating Thrift Store Day at our Hagerstown store!!

We’ve got a great day planned to celebrate our store and the wonderful people who shop there. The store opens at 8:30am and the savings and activities with happen throughout the day. Take a look at the schedule of events below to get an idea of how the day will go so you can plan your trip – or multiple trips – effectively.

All activities and sale areas are easily accessible from our central parking lot located off of Church Street between Walnut and Prospect Streets. The Trinity Center is located at the back of our parking lot behind the Thrift Store. For more information please call 301.739.1165 or visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

THRIFT STORE DAY SCHEDULE FULL

Please note: all activities and sales are subject to change and while supplies last. The Fill-A-Bag Sale, Coat Sale, and Auxiliary food sale are only in the Trinity Center from 10am – 2pm or while supplies last. These sales WILL NOT be in the Thrift Store itself. Please do not bring your own bag to our Fill-A-Bag sale. Bags for that sale will be provided for you. The rotating flash sales will take place randomly throughout the Thrift Store during store hours. It is not a storewide sale. No vouchers will be accepted on Saturday, August 18th, 2018. Thank you. 

 

“We Just Wanted to Help”

Cuteness alert: The Turner kids may just be the sweetest thing in Hagerstown – which is good because they used that sweetness to bake some delicious foods for a bake sale that they recently hosted at their house.

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Cassie, age 11, Mae, age 9, Bethany, age 7, and Joshua, age 5, are little entrepreneurs who sold all sorts of homemade mouth-watering treats like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, rice krispie treats, oatmeal cookies, and lemonade.

They invited church friends and neighbors to stop by and support their bake sale. They had 37 customers ranging in age 2 – 96 years old!

But the Turner kids didn’t have a bake sale for personal profit: their goal was to raise money to help others by supporting various agencies in the area, including The Hope Center. So after their bake sale the kids, escorted by their parents, Joe & Katie, stopped by to drop off a check for $22.

“We just wanted to help”, one of the kids said as their mom was saying that they drive by The Hope Center often and felt and just wanted to give to our mission.

We are so thankful for the kind and generous spirit of this family, and especially these four incredible kids. It’s so awesome to see kids getting involved and making a difference in their community by supporting The Hope Center and other organizations in the area. The donation from their bake sale will help to feed people who stop by for food bags or a daily meal, or will help to provide shelter for a homeless man who would be sleeping on the streets. God can take a simple bake sale and use it to save lives and change lives. And how exciting is it to think that when these kids reach Heaven they will see the full extent of how God used lemonade and cookies to further His kingdom and reach people for eternity!

Thank you so much Cassie, Mae, Bethany, and Joshua for your generous heart to help others for Christ! And the next time you have a bake sale we’ll be sure to stop by to taste how sweet helping others truly is!

If you’d like to learn how you can donate and help others just like the Turner kids then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. And to get a full scope of the programs and services we provide free-of-charge for our community please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Camp Wild 2018 Needs List

We’re less than a month until the start of Camp Wild 2018! We’re always as excited as the campers each year for the return of Camp Wild. But preparing and operating Camp Wild is a lot of work and requires so much.

 

Camp Wild 2

Camp Wild is a free week-long day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. The camp operates for four weeks each summer and focuses on kids from four different regions in Hagerstown. Each week is a target area where kids living in those areas can receive complimentary transportation to and from camp each day. In addition to free transportation, the campers also enjoy free lunch, snacks, activities, art projects, prizes, and more! To learn more about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Camp Wild can host around 60 kids each week for the four weeks of camp. Kids are free to come whichever week they want but complimentary transportation can only be provided in the designated week schedule.

Camp Wild is dedicated to the principles first established over 40 years ago when Conoco Camp first opened its doors for inner-city kids. The Hope Center and Camp Wild believe that every child should have a summer filled with fun, adventure, and new friendships and children should be given a chance to experience something new and different. But most importantly, all of this should be done in a safe, encouraging environment where kids are able to learn about Jesus in ways geared specific to their lives and culture. To make sure that every kid has this opportunity we’ve kept Camp Wild free – and it’s been that way dating all the way back to the very beginning.

But to keep it free we need the assistance of our faithful community to provide the essentials to keep Camp Wild free and operational each year. Now is your chance to help reach over 200 kids, and their families, this summer simply by providing some of the items on our needs list below. And spreading the word to your family, friends, church family, social networks, coworkers, and local businesses never hurts. We appreciate any donation you can give and we greatly appreciate continued prayer all summer long.

Once you’ve purchased items, please feel free to drop them off at our Administrative Office whenever you can. The Admin Office is located on 125 N. Prospect Street but parking and entrance is off of our central parking lot on Church Street between Prospect and Walnut Streets. To talk to someone about Camp Wild donations please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Thank you so much for caring and sharing with the kids of Hagerstown this summer!

Camp Wild 2018 Needs List:

PANTRY ITEMS

  • Taco shells
  • Fruit
  • Pasta sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Ranch dressing
  • BBQ sauce

PRODUCE

  • Shredded lettuce (16oz bag)
  • Baby carrots (2lb bag)
  • Watermelons

DRINKS

  • Little Hugs
  • Sprite (individual bottles)
  • Gatorade (individual bottles)

REFRIGERATED FOODS/MEATS

  • Butter (80oz tub)
  • American cheese slices
  • Shredded taco cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Hot dogs (beef)
  • Ground beef (5lb rolls)

FROZEN FOODS

  • Chicken nuggets
  • French fries

BREAD

  • Hot dog rolls
  • Bread (sliced loaves)
  • English muffins

SNACKS AND CANDY

  • Granola bars
  • Little Debbie snack cakes (oatmeal pies, brownies – nut free)
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Twizzlers (2lb tub individually wrapped)
  • Hershey chocolate bars (regular sized bars)
  • Hershey chocolate bars (10 ct mini bars)
  • Freeze pops