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.

“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.


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.

Spring 2017 is Going to be Wild!

We’re two months into 2017 and things are getting already getting crazy! And no, we’re not talking about the unseasonably warm, but wonderful, weather we’ve been experiencing.

We’re talking about all the exciting and fun activities hosted by Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center!

In January Wildside hosted a Football & Cheerleader party to celebrate the Super Bowl and then they turned right back around and hosted a Valentines party to celebrate everything about love.

These large themed events are free for any kid ages 5-12. Each month Wildside has a fun theme for each event complete with games, activities and food to celebrate the theme. Kids from all over Hagerstown join their friends at Wildside to have fun, eat some great food and learn some Biblical lessons in a way that is geared specifically for them.

Sorry your kids missed the events in January and February? Don’t worry, there’s still so much more fun for kids the rest of the year. Take a look at the upcoming schedule of events and mark your calendars to make sure that your kids don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Wildside Spring 2017 Schedule:

  • March 5th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • March 14th – St. Patrick’s Party (5-7pm)
  • March 19th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 2nd – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 11th – Easter Party (5-7pm)
  • May 7th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • May 16th – Camp Wild Kick-Off Party (5-7pm)
  • May 21st – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)

And like we’ve already mentioned, all this is provided free for the kids. Thanks to the generous financial donations of people and groups in our community along with funds generated from the proceeds of sales in our two Thrift Stores, Wildside is able to reach these kids for Christ and provide a safe and fun atmosphere for them to let loose and enjoy life.

If you’d like to learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries or Camp Wild hosted by Wildside Youth then go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com and http://www.campwildusa.com. To register your kids or talk to someone about Wildside events call 301.739.1165 or email us at info@wildsideyouth.com.

Thinking about volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about all the various ways, including Wildside Youth activities, that you can become a volunteer and help make a difference in our community.

Volunteers Are the Heart of The Hope Center

In 2015 we celebrated 60 years of hope at The Hope Center. And a major part of what makes it possible for us to continue to provide services to men, women & children for free are all the hours of service given by faithful, caring friends in our community who serve as volunteers at The Hope Center.

Since 1955, The Hope Center has been a lighthouse to the needy in our community. Whether it was a man addicted to alcohol, a mother in need of clothing for her children, or a family who needs some food assistance, our doors have been open everyday to help those in need without asking a dime from any of our guests…or the tax-payer.

Friends, businesses, churches and other groups in the area have financially supported us from the very beginning allowing us to help so many people without being a burden on the tax payer.

But volunteers help supplement all of our finances by providing hours upon hours of compassion and hard work in many different ways at The Hope Center.

As we celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2015, we had some special events taking place in the community which gave us some new opportunities for volunteers to get involved and make an impact in our city. But many of the areas that volunteers gave so many hours were activities and events that happen on a regular basis at The Hope Center.

In total, we had 719 different volunteers work more than 13,394 hours! That’s incredible! This is exactly why we think that our volunteers are the best!

These volunteers worked throughout the year in one or more of the following areas of service:

  1. Sorting room
  2. Wildside Youth events (www.wildsideyouth.com)
  3. Camp Wild (www.campwildusa.com)
  4. Chapel services
  5. Men’s ministry check-in desk and teaching classes
  6. Off site: baking cakes, making sandwiches, providing food for after chapel (these are on a regular basis)
  7. Outreach: 60th anniversary events (Rock the Run 5K; Party-in-the-Park; Ladies’ Tea; Anniversary banquet); Thanksgiving Day and more.

Our volunteers gave in so many different ways throughout the year. And we’re so thankful for each and every one of them!

But our volunteer opportunities didn’t stop in 2015. We are always looking for volunteers to join the ranks of our volunteer program all the time. We have so many different areas for volunteers to get involved.

In fact, our 2016 Party-in-the-Park will be held on Saturday, October 22 at Wheaton Park in Hagerstown. We are currently looking for volunteers for this fantastic outreach opportunity. This is a great service project for youth groups to get involved with in their own community.  We will need volunteers to help with food, games, music, face and nail painting, crowd control, popcorn machine, cotton candy, set up and tear down, etc.

If you, your family & friends, church group, civic club or more would like to volunteer at our upcoming Party-in-the-Park then give us a call today at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We welcome you to help us reach our city and provide hope for those in need!

For more information about all the various volunteer opportunities at The Hope Center go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.



St James Youth Honor God by Helping Others

On Sunday, we were privileged to have a group of students from St. James Brethren Church visit the Hope Center.

The kids are a part of The BYIC youth program at St. James Brethren Church in St. James, MD. Each month the students learn about a specific theme. The current theme is honor. They’ve been challenged to honor those who are different and those who are unpopular in society. They came to see how the Hope Center reaches out to people who are often overlooked or not accepted by society, just the way Jesus did.

The students were welcomed into the Hope Center chapel where they were given the opportunity to meet some of the residents and hear their stories. The residents who spoke to the kids gave great testimonies about life, the mistakes they have made, and the hope that Christ gives to turn your life around and become a new person. The men encouraged the kids to guard their hearts, be aware of the friends that they keep and always listen to their parents! While each resident’s story was about their darkest hour and the moment that God changed them, the kids connected with each story.

After the residents were finished, the kids were given a brief tour of the Hope Center. They learned about the transient (homeless) ministry and the food services that the Hope Center provides. They learned about the food bank program that the Hope Center is a part of and then they were given the opportunity to help pack some boxes of food for people in need.

The kids, along with three very efficient leaders, packed 60 boxes of food for our food bank ministry. Each student was given a specific task,such as assembing boxes,  attaching Hope Center labels to each box, and retrieving cans and other food items for each box.

The group had a great time putting the boxes together and actually did a great job working as a team to get the project finished.

Thank you to Sara for contacting us about ways to get her students involved with helping others! They were so open to hearing from the men and so excited to actually be put to work! It’s so refreshing to see young people who are excited about helping others!

It’s important to teach kids the value of loving others and practicing the principles that Jesus taught of helping the less fortunate and reaching out to those in need. We’re thankful for groups like BYIC and the many others who give of their time to learn about our ministry and then help us in the fight to end hopelessness.

The BYIC youth group meets every other Sunday in the ministry center at the church from 4-6pm. All youth from 2nd-12th grades are welcomed to attend. St. James Brethren Church is located at 17718 Lappans Rd in St. James. In addition to the monthly meetings, St James also has a summer camp program, Kings Kids Summer Kamp, for kids in grades K-5th. The church also has a state accredited child care program for infants of 6 weeks to 12 years old.

If you would like more information about the BYIC youth program at St James Brethren Church or you would like to know more about the church itself, jump over to www.sjbchurch.com or connect with the church on facebook.

National Peanut Butter Day!!

Now this is a day to celebrate!! National Peanut Butter Day!

Here are some interesting peanut butter facts according to nationalpeanutboard.org:

-The average child will consume 1,500 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates from high school.

-Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter

-Americans eat enough peanut butter in a year to make more than 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

-Americans consume on average over 1.5 billion pounds of peanut butter and peanut products a year!

-Peanut butter is consumed in more than 90% of American households.

As you can see, America loves peanut butter! And at the Hope Center, we do too! That’s why it’s always at the top of our “needs” list. We use it for recipes in meals for our residents & guests, in food bags/boxes for hungry families and we use it each year for Camp Wild.

Peanut butter is one of the most important staples for our food bag ministry. One simple jar can be a huge health blessing to needy families with kids. Peanut butter can serve as a sweet treat while also giving kids important nutrients.  According to nationalpeanutboard.org, peanuts and peanut butter contain over 30 essential nutrients and peanuts have a higher antioxidant over grapes, Concord grape juice, green tea, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots to name a few.

So grab a spoon and your favorite brand of peanut butter and join us in celebrating the All-American treat! And when you go to the grocery store this week, pick up an extra jar for families in need. That way all of us can celebrate National Peanut Butter Day for years to come!

Wildside Winter Olympics

Last night was the kick-off of Wildside’s Sunday Night Wild! Did you miss out on all the fun? Don’t worry. There’s gonna be a lot more fun every Sunday night from 7-8pm at the Sanctuary at Wildside Kids. Sunday Night Wild is a great way to learn about Jesus, sing awesome songs, play games and earn Bear Bucks!

But there’s more to Wildside than Sunday Night Wild. Tomorrow night is Wildside’s annual Winter Olympics event! This free event is for kids ages 5-12. There will be Olympic-themed games, tons of delicious food, you’ll learn more about Jesus and have a chance to win some incredible prizes!! This event is full of non-stop fun so don’t miss out! Join Wildside from 4:30-6:30pm at the Trinity Center (Walnut St, next to the Mission Thrift Store). Invite your friends, family and neighbors!!

We’ll see ya tomorrow night at Wildside’s Winter Olympics! For more info or to get your name on the Wildside event mailing list, call Fran at 301.739.1165 or go to www.wildsidekids.com.