“God Gave Me a New Beginning – Even at My Age”

To a lot of people birthdays are kind of a big deal. We all love celebrating the birth of our kids, family, friends and other loved ones. And at The Hope Center it gives us great joy to celebrate the birth of the guys in our residential recovery program: Foundations.

For the residents in our program, the celebration of their birth is special because many of them came to The Hope Center in desperate need of help for victory over addictions and other destructive lifestyles that were destroying them. The fact that we celebrate their life is a major victory for each of these men. And since they’re a part of our family, we love celebrating them!

So last Friday we celebrated the birthday of one of our residents, Terry Barnes. If you’ve volunteered or stopped by The Hope Center there’s a good chance you’ve seen Terry. Since being in the program Terry has worked in our kitchen and more prominently in our shelter as a deskman. So there’s a chance you have seen him smiling around The Hope Center.

IMG_2758But even if you’ve seen Terry you might not know much about him or his journey in life, especially the most recent journey of recovery and redemption at The Hope Center. So we asked Terry to give us a little summary of his thoughts as he celebrates another birthday. Here is what Terry has to say:

“I want to thank God first, then The Hope Center and the pastors and staff. I came to The Hope Center on June 1, 2018. I will graduate January 19, 2020. God has given me a new beginning at even my age. He’s shown me how to be accountable and responsible, and to believe and trust in Him. I say that because I found myself in a very difficult situation last month and God showed me He was right there with me and He gave me patience and strength. When I leave here, I am going to live a different lifestyle and give praise and thanks to God every day for changing my life.”

We are so proud of Terry and all the work he’s put into his personal recovery and relationship with God. He’s just a few short months away from completing our Foundations Life Recovery program. Please continue to pray for Terry as he moves quickly towards that finish line. And please remember to pray for the many other men who are in our recovery program and those who will enter our program hoping for a lasting change and freedom in Christ.

Please join us in wishing Terry a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Here’s to many more, Terry!

And we want to thank our friend, Stormy, for baking another delicious birthday cake for our celebration! Every month we celebrate a birthday Stormy faithfully bakes and decorates a cake for our residents to enjoy. We appreciate her kindness and generosity so much!

To learn more about our recovery program please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/foundations. If you’d like to talk to someone about our program, including enrolling in Foundations, please call 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Two Weeks Until Thanksgiving!

We’re just TWO weeks away from THANKSGIVING!! Who else is excited?????

With Thanksgiving just around the corner things at The Hope Center are picking up as we prepare for our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast on Thanksgiving Day at 11:30am in the Trinity Center.

The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is one of the oldest annual Thanksgiving community meals in the area. This is one of our most cherished traditions but it’s a huge undertaking. Obviously we serve meals to thousands of men, women, and kids throughout the year but our Thanksgiving feast is unique in that this is a special large family celebration for everyone in the community.

Thanksgiving List-001

We created a Thanksgiving Needs List for anyone in the community who might want to help us celebrate and give thanks to God this Thanksgiving. And since we feed people every day of the year, you’re helping us continue to feed your neighbors long after Thanksgiving Day.

Any help is appreciated. We go through a lot of food each month so any and all donations will be used. If you’re interested in donating any of these items for Thanksgiving please contact our office at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

We have been feeding the community since 1955 – thanks to generous, compassionate people like you in our community. We thank God daily for giving us a community who sees the need and steps up to help. To learn more about all the various programs and services at The Hope Center please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Happy, Happy Fall-O-Ween!

We may be a few days away from Halloween but Wildside Youth already started the spooky celebration with their well loved event, Fall-O-Ween!

73 Kids ages 5-12 flooded the Trinity Center for an evening of scary fun! The costumed kids enjoyed playing all sorts of festively themed carnival games in addition to free time play which included a crowd favorite: GaGa Ball!

The kids also had some fun partaking in the Trick-or-Treat Game Show which helped to finish the lesson about “corruption” in the series “Seven C’s of the Bible”. Throughout the various events during the month of October the kids have been learning about how Satan is full of tricks and continues to trick us today but Jesus is the ultimate treat because He loves us, forgives us, and saves us!

The kids this year were also able to experience the Halloween indoor tunnel which is the largest Wildside has done in the past five years. The indoor tunnel may sound silly but anyone who’s experienced it knows how much fun the tunnel truly is! It’s definitely one of the highlights of Fall-O-Ween.

But you know another highlight and fan favorite at Fall-O-Ween??? The food! From hotdogs wrapped to look like mummies to all sorts of treats, the kids at Fall-O-Ween sure didn’t get tricked when it came time to munch down on some great food!

Fall-O-Ween is always a great time for everyone – including our volunteer staff! Even as we’re saying goodbye to Halloween and all the tricks involved, the fun at Wildside is far from over. November ushers in a whole new month of activities for kids.

In November Wildside will host two Sunday Night Wild services (November 3rd & 17th) along with a Thanksgiving Party on November 12th. And then on Thanksgiving Day Wildside will host kids activities at the Trinity Center starting at 11am for our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There’s a lot of fun happening this month at Wildside and your kids can be a part of all the action! Just email info@wildsideyouth.com or call 301.739.1165 to learn more.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. Transportation to and from events is complimentary but space is limited and fills up quickly. Go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com to learn more about our youth program at The Hope Center.

Interested in volunteering and being a part of the fun at Wildside events?? We’re always looking for people to help at our Wildside events so if you’d like to learn more please call 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And as we noted, we are hosting our annual Thanksgiving buffet again this year on Thanksgiving Day (November 28th) at 11:30am in the Trinity Center. Doors open at 11am and kids activities kick off at the same time. All are invited to attend! We’ll have plenty of delicious food like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, succotash, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and more! This is a FREE event for people of all ages and tickets are NOT required. Spread the word and invite everyone to join us on Thanksgiving Day for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast at 11:30am in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center. More info to come so follow us on Facebook @hopecenterhagerstown or call 301.739.1165 for more info.

A Bowl of Chili and a Smile

On Sunday the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church from Greencastle hosted a lunch for our residents and Soup Line guests! This isn’t the first time the youth group has served at The Hope Center and we were so happy to have them back again this year!

The group was led by youth leader, Vicky Patterson and included eight other volunteers of students and adults. The youth group prepared and served our residents and guests a perfectly fall lunch of chili, cornbread, salad, carrots, cookies and lemonade.

Volunteers make a huge difference at The Hope Center so we appreciate each and every one who gives of their time to serve our residents and guests in some capacity. But there’s just something so refreshing in seeing young people giving back to the community and learning the importance of helping others. Daily we hear and see such tragic news of how loveless and selfish our world seems to be but not often enough are we reminded of the good in the world and how the love of God continues to be spread through the actions of caring people in our community.

We are so thankful for Vicky and the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist for being a part of our story of hope at The Hope Center. We genuinely appreciate the day of service given and look forward to hosting the youth group again next year!

To learn more about St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Greencastle, PA please visit http://www.stmarkstlukeparish.org.

If you’d like your youth group, Sunday School class, civic club, business, or family to serve just like the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email us at volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about serving at The Hope Center.

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.

 

A Sunday School Lesson Brought to Life

Last week our good friend, Amanda, dropped off about 30 goodie bags for our guests at The Hope Center. Inside the bags were a bottle of water, crackers, cookies and fruit snacks.

IMG_7097But Amanda didn’t make these all on her own. In fact, she was just dropping them off on behalf of the children at New Life Christian Ministries. One Sunday morning the kids created these bags as a part of the lesson they were learning about Jesus. They were being taught that Jesus is for everyone – including people in our society who are sometimes overlooked or forgotten about. They created the bags for The Hope Center for us to give out to people so that they don’t feel overlooked but included and loved by God.
We want to say a huge thank you to the kids at New Life Christian Ministries for making the goodie bags for our guests. We handed them out to people who came to our daily Soup Line. The guests who received the bags were so grateful and happy to get the treats to take home!

We also want to thank Amanda and the other children’s ministry leaders at New Life Christian Ministries. What a wonderful way to not only teach the importance of showing God’s love to everyone but also getting the kids involved in a works project for those in need!

We say this often but it never gets old: we’re so thankful for our community! People, like those at New Life Christian Ministries, are helping to make a difference in Hagerstown – even if it’s just simply a bag of treats. And they’re helping to raise a generation who will continue to fight the good fight and show love and compassion to all people . Thank you to New Life Christian Ministries and all the other churches, businesses, civic clubs, organizations, families and individuals in our community who support us in various ways all throughout the year! We truly thank God for each of you and your commitment to taking care of your neighbors in need!

To learn more about The Hope Center and all the ways we help the community or to learn how you can get more involved and partner with us to reach Hagerstown then visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Looking for a church in the Hagerstown area? Why not check out New Life Christian Ministries? New Life Christian Ministries is located at 12031 Hopewell Road in Hagerstown. To learn more about the church, including the service times, various ministries, and upcoming events please go to http://www.nlcm.org.

Maranatha VBS ‘Stacks a Sled’ For Those in Need

This past Sunday Maranatha Brethren Church in Hagerstown had a celebration in their morning worship to conclude VBS 2019.

The theme for the VBS was ‘Polar Blast – Where Jesus’ Love is Cool’. The theme verse was Psalm 13:5, “I trust in your unfailing love.”

Not only did the kids learn about the deep, never ending love of Christ, but they were also given the opportunity to show that love to others. The VBS missions project was to “stack a sled”. The boys and girls competed against each other by bringing food items to stack on their sleds. In total the kids donated 848 food items for The Hope Center!

But showing God’s love to others didn’t stop with the missions project. At their VBS this year the crafts were another way for the kids to show love to others by creating blankets for us to hand out to individuals and families in need this upcoming winter!

We are so beyond thankful to the VBS directors, Christy Spicer & Sue Thornton, for thinking of The Hope Center and including us in their VBS. And we are so thrilled to be included in such a tremendous way! Being a part of watching children learn to give to others and care for others and put God’s love into practice towards strangers and others in need is exactly what our world needs right now. Maranatha has always been a faithful partner with us as we reach the least, the last, and the lost in Hagerstown and this VBS was just another reminder of their commitment to helping their community in need. What a beautiful way to show the young generation how to put God’s love into daily practice.

Thank you, Maranatha, for your generous, loving spirit and always helping us in our ministry to our city.

If you are looking for a church to visit or join then please take a look at Maranatha. Maranatha Brethren Church is located at 19835 Scott Hill Dr in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.maranathagbc.net to learn more.