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!

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!

 

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

 

It’s Finally Time for Some Spring Cleaning!

For a time it seemed like winter would never end! But those April showers helped to bring May flowers and some warmer weather. It’s always such a joy to watch the earth come back to life and to hear all the birds singing and enjoying the warmer temperatures.

And with the arrival of spring comes the annual tradition: spring cleaning. As you start to go through your house, room by room, getting rid of unnecessary items, please keep DSC_0805us in mind! With two Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg), we always welcome your gently used clothing, shoes, furniture, jewelry, housewares, and more. Sales generated in our Thrift Stores help to underwrite the cost of all of our programs and services so that we can continue to provide for our neighbors in need at no cost to them or the taxpayer.

If you are interested in donating various items to The Hope Center, here is some info you should know:

Furniture – accepted at the rear of the Thrift Store (central parking lot off of Church St) from 9AM – 4:30PM Monday – Saturday. Please do not leave items on the dock unattended, especially after business hours.

Furniture Items Accepted– beds (frames, headboards, footboards, mattresses* & box springs), couches, upholstered* chairs, dining tables and chairs, small tables (end tables & coffee tables), desks and chairs and dressers. We also accept rugs, bicycles, exercise equipment, wheelchairs and other handicap equipment.
*We cannot accept mattresses or upholstered furniture that is torn, stained or covered in pet hair.

DSC_0888Clothing & Miscellaneous – items accepted at the rear of the parking lot Monday – Saturday from approximately 8:30AM – 4:30PM (between 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM there is no assistance to unload vehicle. You may still drop off items but if you require assistance please come before or after.) Please do not leave items unattended on the dock after business hours.

Items NOT Accepted– wet/soiled clothing, computers, floor model televisions (we do take flat screen TV’s as long as they work), floor model stereos, office telephones (multiple line phones) refrigerators and freezers, washers and dryers, dishwashers, stoves, sinks and toilets, large wooden or metal desks (office), upright pianos, large organs, cribs & car seats (due to government regulations for resale), waterbed mattresses or frames and used ceiling/electric fixtures.

We accept corrugated cardboard at our Baling Facility Monday – Friday from 8:30AM – 11:30AM and 12:30 PM-1:30PM and on Saturday from 8:30AM – 11:30AM.

If you have items to donate that are not listed or you have questions about certain items, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We do have a truck that can pick-up your items. Each day our truck covers a specific area of town. If you’d like to schedule a pick-up, please call 301.739.1165 to get more details. You can quickly learn more about donating your gently used items here: https://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/in-kind-gifts

Also, you can get a receipt for tax purposes by making a list of items donated. Please remember to put your name & address on the list!! Your list can be turned in at the Thrift Store or you can get a form to fill out in the Thrift Store. You will receive your tax-deductible receipt by mail in two to three weeks.

Thank you so much for your generous donations to The Hope Center! These items will help families and individuals in your community in many different ways. Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about all the various programs and services we provide to people in need in our area.

Rock the Run 5K: Run For a Cause

As you know our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is approaching. On Saturday, April 28th, Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown will play host to a bunch of scallywags, buccaneers, princesses, princes, mermaids, knights and all sorts of interesting folk.

RTR Pirate Princess

We’re so excited for the upcoming race and the fun changes that we’ve made to the 5K this year. But all of the changes that have been made are to give us a fun event that draws people together to run/walk for a good cause. The point of Rock the Run 5K is not just to run around Hagerstown – it’s to raise support and awareness for the community programs that we do at The Hope Center.

We’ve been using the 5K as a way to get people participating who may not actually know much about what we do for the community. And our sponsors help to underwrite the cost of the 5K so the money raised by the participants goes towards the very programs we’re promoting.

As in the past years of Rock the Run, we’ve focused on the programs and services to the hungry and homeless in Hagerstown. And we’re focusing on those same programs again this year, but now we’re taking it up a notch.

We are currently moving forward with a refurbishment and expansion project of our current dining room and kitchen/pantry. The kitchen/pantry is basically the heart of our entire ministry as so many people visit us each day of the year for fresh meals or groceries for their homes. We serve thousands of people a year from a kitchen that has seen better days. We are so thankful for the kitchen that we have because God has allowed us to feed so many. But now we see the need growing and we want to keep up with that need and be able to provide even more. By redesigning the layout and adding an expansion of the current building we will open up so much more space to accommodate more people in our dining room while also creating a kitchen workspace that allows our staff and volunteers to cook and serve more efficiently. And our pantry is going to get expanded too as it serves not only the hot meals served daily but also houses all the food that will go into food bags and boxes for needy families in the community.

So each person who registers to run/walk in our upcoming 5K is helping to create a new experience to feed and help so many more needy people in our community. The money raised here stays here. And since we take no money from the government, all of the programs and services at The Hope Center are truly a community partnership from the hearts of our generous and kind neighbors.

So why not register now to be a part of something huge! And invite your family, friends, neighbors, Sunday School class, coworkers, and anyone else to join you at Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess. And did you know you can even get your kids involved? That’s right! We have a Kids Fun Run at 8:30am just before the 5K itself. For only $5 your kid can be a part of the experience to help those in need. And we’ll have activities for them to participate in while you hit the pavement for the 5K. Just go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register and learn more. And be sure to spread the word!

“Bring Hope” by John Miller

JohnMiller (2)My wife and I organize and facilitate missions teams around the world. Each trip is designed to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ in practical deeds and the spoken word. We build bridges to people groups in many countries in order to share the love of God. While preparing for a mission trip to a certain location here in the United States we called our contact in that particular area and asked this question: “Besides bringing people and resources to complete a week of ministry in your area, what is the most important thing we can bring with us?” She answered: “Bring hope”.

Many people live without hope. Their lives have taken them down a path they didn’t plan on or didn’t ask for. Some people suffer because of wrong decisions that accumulate over time, destroying marriages, jobs, health, and affecting children.  But some people suffer not as a result of poor decisions but simply where they “showed up” in the world. Perhaps they were born into a very poor family living in a depressed area of the world that offers little hope for advancement in education or trade skills. Their “lot in life” was determined before they arrived on the scene and every day is survival for them.

Hope is something people can’t live without, at least not truly “live” without. Hope defined means “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” It’s the optimistic desire for circumstances to become better and life to be easier. Life can be very draining on the single parent trying to do “double duty” or the well intentioned father who simply cannot find a job to help “make ends meet”. It seems that no matter how hard some people try, difficulties continue to assail them year after year. The effects of this constant barrage of trials in life slowly whittle away at a person’s hope, creating pessimism and despair. Whether they go through trials due to their own poor choices or they’re simply “in the way” of poor choices of another person, hope can go down the drain like dirty dishwater. The eyes reveal the emptiness and the face lacks a smile.

People need hope. When they’ve lost theirs, perhaps they can share some of yours. When our contact said: “Bring hope”, we knew exactly where the greatest hope is to be found and how to bring it. In Romans 15:13 we read, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope,  through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

As long as there is a God, there is hope! God is eternal and will always be God, therefore anyone can have hope! God is described in the verse as “the God of hope”. The word hope used in this verse is a Greek word that means “to anticipate, to expect, to have confidence”. God’s promises offer us a way to climb out of devastating circumstances and even in the midst of them we can still maintain a sense of anticipation that things will eventually get better and our confidence will be restored!

But we have to do something, according to this verse. Did you see it? “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope,  through the power of the Holy Ghost.” We must believe. It can be difficult to believe when that addiction has kept one in chains for so long. It’s not easy to believe when it seems it’s always “one thing after another”. A common thing we hear today is: “It is what it is”. Often, this phrase is verbal indication that a person has pretty much given up hope and is in “autopilot” mode. Faith must be restored by a deliberate choice to believe in the God of hope and His ability to restore, deliver, and make new.

Have you lost hope in a situation or a person? Do you know someone who needs to have their hope restored? Let’s be the bearers of good news that the God of hope is alive and well today! He can do anything! He specializes in the impossible and wants you to keep hope alive for your own circumstance and help others recover their hope too!

 

The Millers are familiar faces around The Hope Center. As the former pastor of Faith Christian Fellowship, John and Melissa would help with evening chapel services and have both ministered in various ways to our residents and guests at The Hope Center in the past. Currently they are the V.P. of Operations/Missionaries for Churches in Missions. To learn more about the Millers go to johnandmelissamiller.com or visit churchesinmissions.org. 

Happy Birthday, Louis!

The beginning of each month we have a special day to celebrate the birthdays of the guys who are residents at The Hope Center and are a part of our Foundations Life Recovery program.

This month we are so excited to wish Louis Dennis a happy birthday!! The birthday celebrations are made complete with a delicious cake by our friend Stormy.

Louis has been a part of Foundations Life Recovery program for 11 months. Louis has been progressing throughout the program and could be moved into our Gold Level this month which means he is close to completing the program.

Louis, who works in our Recycling Center, is very happy to talk about how he is growing spiritually since being in the program. In fact, he’s thrilled to tell people that he has even been baptized to show the world his commitment to his relationship with Christ.

We’re so happy to watch as Louis continues to claim victory each day as he continues to overcome his addiction issues and grow closer to Christ.

Join us in wishing Louis a very happy birthday!

If you or someone you know would like more information about Foundations Life Recovery program or would like to talk to someone about how to get help then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

 

Day To Serve Prompts Local Food Drive

Americans are probably the most generous group of people on earth. This is being said without any actual statistics or facts to back it up but we’re just going on a hunch that we’re right about that claim.

But getting people to give or give back is not always easy since Americans are also probably the busiest group of people on earth. Getting involved and helping in the community is high on most people’s “must do” list but often times it is difficult because of all the demands of daily living. And that’s why the Governor created the Day To Serve.

The Day To Serve is an annual program to encourage volunteerism in the State of Maryland. The Governor of Maryland established this day andgo asked Marylanders to get involved in their communities between September 10th and October 10th.

dsc_0074A group of Maryland state employees consisting of Roberta Barkley, Barbara Allen, Amy Miller and Tracy Leb decided to host a food drive at a local grocery store. After contacting several stores, Save-A-Lot allowed the ladies to set up their food drive in front of their store. So on September 23rd, these woman hosted a food drive to benefit The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission at the Save-A-Lot store in the South End Shopping Center.

This was the first food drive that they’ve hosted and were very pleased with the amount of food given and support from the community in helping others. In fact, the ladies were able to collect 350 pounds of food for The Hope Center pantry! Roberta, the food drive organizer, chose The Hope Center because she said she liked knowing exactly where the donation would be going and who it would be helping.

At The Hope Center, we feed thousands upon thousands of people a year. We don’t just feed the men who are in our residential rehabilitation program. We feed the homeless. We feed families. We feed anyone who needs a meal. Whether it’s a hot meal served at our daily Soup Line or it’s a bag of groceries given to a needy family, our kitchen and pantry is constantly busy making sure no one in our community misses a meal.

But with all the food that we serve or give out, our panty is in constant need of replenishment. And that’s why food drives like the one that Roberta, Barbara, Amy & Tracy hosted are so important to us at The Hope Center. Food can get costly and feeding thousands could easily break the budget but the generous support of people in our community helps to make sure that we can continue to feed and help people without costing them a cent or using tax money.

In addition to asking for food donations, Roberta contacted local dentist offices asking for donations of toothbrushes and paste. Two generous offices, Robinwood Dental Center & Dr. Toothman’s, gave the toothbrushes and toothpaste for the food drive. Personal care items such as toothpaste, brushes, deodorant and soaps are very important too as we give these items to our residents, overnight homeless guests and anyone who may need them. As simple as these items may seem, they can quickly help restore a persons value.

We want to give a huge thank you to Roberta, Barbara, Amy & Tracy for putting together this food drive and taking time out of their busy schedules to get the community involved in helping others. And we want to thank the Save-A-Lot store for allowing these ladies to host their food drive at that location. Another big thank you to Robinwood Dental & Dr. Toothman for donating the toothbrushes & paste for our guests.

Have you been inspired to host a food drive? Maybe you just want to get your family involved with giving food. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help feed your neighbors in Hagerstown then call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Please consider frequenting these generous local businesses:

  • Robinwood Dental Center is located at 11110 Medical Campus Rd. Suite 148 in Hagerstown. Learn more about their services at http://www.robinwooddentalcenter.com.
  • Toothman Orthodontics is located at 81 N. Edgewood Dr in Hagerstown and 5100 Buckeystown Pike Suite 196 in Frederick. Go to http://www.toothmanorthodontics.com to learn more about their services.
  • Save-A-Lot store is located at 1161 Maryland Ave in Hagerstown. If you’re unfamiliar with Save-A-Lot stores then visit their website at http://www.save-a-lot.com