Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at The Hope Center! We celebrated today with our Soup Line guests who got special themed treats and a few of our lucky guests went home with some Valentine’s prizes!

Soup Line is our daily free lunch for anyone and everyone in the community. We serve our community meals, like Soup Line, every day of the year including all holidays and during inclement weather.

Soup Line is one of the important parts of our food ministry and a huge part of our goal to end hunger in Hagerstown and surrounding areas and to make sure no one is food insecure – ever.

And thanks to generous people like you who financially sponsor us and donate food all year long, we are able to feed more people than ever. Which is why we are moving ahead with a refurbishment and expansion of our food services area at The Hope Center. In the next coming months we’ll be revealing the plans for an expanded dining room and kitchen to help accommodate the growing number of guests for meals, and a much larger pantry to house all the food that is donated and used for daily meals and our food bag program.

So as we celebrate this day of love, we want to express our love to you for supporting us and partnering with us to feed the hungry in our community! Thank you so much and we love each of you for your kind, caring spirit! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Day Two

The second gift on our list is one that is universally beloved by all: spaghetti sauce! There’s nothing better than sitting down to dinner with a plate filled with hot spaghetti topped off with that delicious sauce.

12 Gifts 2018 2-001

We are always in need of spaghetti sauce, especially for our food bag program. In every food bag we put simple, easy, and delicious foods that are generally loved by everyone. And spaghetti easily falls into that category. Spaghetti is a quick but nourishing meal that busy families, or families with limited cooking background, can make without a lot of fuss or time.

But our kitchen also loves using spaghetti sauce for various meals for our residents and community guests so we go through spaghetti sauce quite frequently.

Any donation of spaghetti sauce is welcome but we do ask for 24 oz jars so they can easily fit into a food bag. No matter the brand or the flavoring of the sauce – we’ll use it! And if you’re feeling extra Italian at the grocery store and want to pick up some boxes of spaghetti then we most certainly will gladly accept those as well!

To donate please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Or just swing by and drop off any donations to our office between 8am – 5pm M-F. And please help us by spreading our Christmas wish list to all your friends, family, co-workers, church, civic group or scout troops.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Another Successful Thanksgiving Feast!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already a week ago! We hope each of you had as great a day as we did at The Hope Center celebrating our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast.

It was a bitter cold day in Hagerstown but inside the Trinity Center it was full of warmth, happiness, gratitude and love! We weren’t sure if the extremely cold temperatures would keep people away but, in fact, they may have brought even more people to our feast. The Trinity Center was packed and people kept coming even as we were ending the meal. We had so many guests joining us that we even started to run out of some of our food like the delicious sweet potatoes!

And speaking of sweet potatoes did you know that we use 18 #10 cans of sweet potatoes? Guess we’re gonna have to up that number next year. It takes a lot of food to feed everyone on Thanksgiving Day. We roasted 18 turkeys for about 300 pounds of the meat to serve. Along with the turkey and sweet potatoes we used 48 pounds of butter, 75 loaves of bread, 275 pounds of potatoes, 26 dozen eggs, and 24 pounds of brown sugar. That’s just a basic glimpse into our grocery list for the day!

But to have a feast the size that we did we cannot underestimate the importance of all the staff, volunteers, and donors who helped make it all possible. From days before Thanksgiving we had volunteers at The Hope Center helping with the turkeys, stuffing, delivering pies, and other activities. And our staff worked hard keeping all the day-to-day activities at The Hope Center running smoothly while also doing so much extra work to prepare for our celebration. And then Thanksgiving Day so many volunteers and staff showed up to make sure this year was the best yet. And they did a fantastic job!

We even had a rare opportunity to celebrate the birthday of Sharon Hughes on Thanksgiving. Sharon is the oldest child of Jim & Ellen Resh, the founders of The Hope Center. Sharon and her family are still actively involved in our ministry and you can often see her and her husband, Henry, volunteering at various activities. In fact, Sharon and Henry were at The Hope Center first thing in the morning to help in the kitchen. And it was Sharon’s sweet potatoes that quickly disappeared during the feast. But on Thanksgiving we were able to share in the birthday celebration of Sharon who was celebrating her 78th year on earth! We are so thankful to be able to celebrate Sharon and her family for all they do and have done throughout the years at The Hope Center. What an incredible testament to Jim & Ellen that their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are still involved in helping their neighbors in Hagerstown. Thank you, Sharon and all of the members of the Resh family who were on hand to help at Thanksgiving!

Again, we couldn’t have done this day without all of our fabulous volunteers who gave of their holiday with their families to be a part of our family for the day. Our Thanksgiving volunteers are always so friendly, happy, and hardworking and we appreciate each of them tremendously. While we did have first time volunteers, we were also excited to see all the returning volunteers who’ve made serving at Thanksgiving a holiday tradition for themselves! It’s always nice to see volunteers who’ve become more like family each year.

And lastly, none of this celebration would be possible without the generous support of our community. Through financial giving and food donations, each of you who gave this holiday and throughout the year are helping to feed thousands of hungry men, women, and children, provide essential necessities like medicine, baby products, groceries, blankets, clothing, and more, and giving housing to at-risk men in the area who are homeless or transient. Your support doesn’t just make Thanksgiving happen. It’s so much bigger than that one day. Your support makes sure that our facility is open every day of the year, during holidays and inclement weather, to help meet the most basic physical and emotional needs of people while also providing spiritual support to help people see the value in themselves exactly the way that God sees them. From providing a free summer camp to city kids, to food bags for families, to hot showers for men who have no where to go, your support makes each day Thanksgiving to thousands upon thousands of people who are often lost or forgotten in our society. And through your generous support we can do all we do without relying on any government money. No tax money is used at The Hope Center so our programs and services are 100% for the community paid for by loving people in the community. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for caring and sharing for the least, last and the lost in our community.

Thanksgiving is such a special time because we see the good in our world and we can thank God for His continued support each year. We hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we hope this holiday season is a true blessing to you and your family. Thank you to everyone who helps make HOPE possible in the heart of Hagerstown! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and may God give you a Happy New Year!

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!

 

Yo Ho, Matey! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Everyone loves a pirate and a lot of us would love to be one. But unless you work at Disney World, talking like a pirate on a regular basis might draw some funny looks. Fortunately for all the wannabe scallywags out there, there are two days out of the year where it’s absolutely ok to be a pirate – and one of those days is today! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

And the second pirate day, you ask? Well it’s our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess! One Saturday a year Fairgrounds Park is overrun by pirates, princesses, knights, mermaids, and more running for fun and a great cause.

RTR Pirate Princess

On Saturday, April 27th, 2019, anyone and everyone can dress up, act, and run like a pirate! This is your chance to show your pirate side and raise money for a great cause – helping us combat homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown.

We’re currently in the beginning stages of renovating our kitchen, dining, and pantry areas at The Hope Center. Our kitchen feeds hundreds of men, women, and kids a year. Meals are served to anyone in the community who is hungry – no matter age or housing status. But because of how many people we serve, we need to improve and expand our food services area. With a brand new, up-to-date kitchen, larger dining room and more efficient pantry, we’ll be able to help make sure no one in Hagerstown and the surrounding area are ever without something to eat.

Our sponsors and every person who registers to participate in our Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess will be a part of helping to feed the hungry in our community.

 

And who says helping those in need can’t be fun? That’s why we encourage each participant to dress up and invite their family and friends to join them. We even have a 1 mile Kids Fun Run for the smaller buccaneers in your family! From our photo booth, to kids activities, themed music and more, Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is a legitimate race for hope with a fun twist.

So go ahead and mark your calendars now! Saturday, April 27th, 2019, at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. For more info about our 5K please visit http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

So to all you scallywags out there surrounded by landlubbers, happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! And we’ll see you and your best Jack Sparrow inspired self at Rock the Run this April!

 

NOW HIRING!

We are currently hiring for the following positions for our ministry team:

  • Deskman – part-time position; evening/nights and some weekends
  • Furniture Sales Hagerstown Thrift Store – part-time position; must be available Saturdays
  • Cook – part-time/full-time position; day time; some evening and weekends availability
  • Truck Driver – part-time position; Class A license required; no moving violations or accidents in past 5 years; experience driving commercial truck preferred

To learn more about The Hope Center and get a better understanding of the various programs, services and ministries you’d be a part of please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com. If you’d like to talk to someone about these positions, any further requirements, or if you have any questions, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

Thank You, Eaton of Williamsport!!

Recently the awesome employees at Eaton in Williamsport had a community drive to collect various items for our residents and guests. DSC_0741

They collected things like socks, washcloths, food, toothpaste, brushes, and other personal care items.

We want to send out a huge THANK YOU to the employees at Eaton, and especially, Jamie, Judy, and Bea who organized the donation drive and also Maddi for reaching out to us.

DSC_0734We are so thankful for this much needed donation to The Hope Center! While food donations are important and much needed, we also often need things like personal care items, medicines, pillows, towels, washcloths and the such. With the men who are residents in our 13-month program, Foundations Life Recovery, as well as the hundreds of transient/homeless who seek shelter every night of the year, we go through a lot of personal care items. And we also gladly hand out personal care items to people in the community who are in need. So receiving these items is such a huge blessing to our program.

Thank you again to everyone at Eaton in Williamsport who was a part of this donation drive!

If you, your place of employment, civic club, church, scout troop, or another organization want to host a food or personal care drive like Eaton then please contact us. We feed thousands of people each year and give out personal care items just as often to anyone in our community in need. These donations help us keep our costs down so we can continue to provide all services free of charge for all guests and residents – especially since we take no government funding or tax money. A tub of toothpaste, a pair of socks, and a jar of peanut butter may not seem like much but they can make the difference in the lives of a needy neighbor more than you will ever know.

To learn more visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. To talk to someone about donating please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net