We’re Still Here to Help

In all the chaos and confusion of the current global crisis – we’re still here to help!

Staff 1We’ve been cancelling any activities, programs, services, and ministries that are not essential but we are still open and helping to make sure that during this pandemic anyone who is hungry gets food and any men who need overnight shelter have a place to rest.

Safety is a top priority and we’re making sure that everyone, whether staff, guest, or volunteer is safe throughout this crazy time.

And though we’re here to help – we need help too. With the closure of our Thrift Stores we will desperately need financial donations to help keep us open and operating during this time. Proceeds from our Thrift Stores are a major part of our operating budget since we don’t receive any government funding of tax money. Any donation will help us continue to help those in need in our community during this Covid-19 event.

And if you are able to volunteer, we need your help! We will do everything we can to make sure you are safe as you help us help others. If you are elderly or have a medical condition that puts you at risk of Covid-19 we ask that you refrain from volunteering and just help us in other ways. Again, safety is a top priority.

We need help so in any way that you can, please do! From food donations, to personal care items, to forehead scanning thermometers, or just financial donations, any little bit will help.

Fred Rogers, star of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, was once quoted saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Please help us as we help others in this crisis. God is not absent during this and He will get us through it.

To learn more about donating or volunteering please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. To donate online go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on ‘Financial Giving’ in the drop down menu under the ‘Donate’ tab.

Thank you for caring & sharing!

Urgent Need: Coffee

It’s cold out and nothing really makes the cold tolerable better than a hot cup of coffee!

coffee2And that’s why we’re in desperate need of coffee donations. Any brand. Any size. Any kind. We go through a lot of coffee throughout the day and even more so during the cold months.

We will gladly accept any donations at our Administrative Office*. The office is open M-F 8:15am – 11:30am and then 12:15pm – 5pm. Our office is closed daily from 11:30am – 12:15pm. If office hours conflict with your schedule please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com to schedule a time that works for you.

Shopping online and having it delivered is always a convenient option too! To have it delivered please use 125 N. Prospect Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740 as our address. And if you shop through AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) you can double your impact! Amazon will donate a portion of the sale to The Hope Center! Just go to smile.amazon.com and log in with your Amazon account. When prompted to choose a non-profit type ‘The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission’. Once selected, we will receive a donation from Amazon for all your purchases that qualify from AmazonSmile!

If your church, office, athletic team, civic club, Scout troop, or anyone else would like to host a Food Drive or Coffee Drive then get in contact with us and we can get you any info you may need!

For more info please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. To learn more about all of our programs and services for the community please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com.

*Our Administrative Office is located across our central parking lot from our Thrift Store. Use 215 W. Church St for navigation to our parking lot.

More Than Just a Thrift Store

by Aimee Izer

IMG_2324Since becoming store manager I have come to realize that The Hope Center Thrift Store is for everyone in the community. I used to think this was a place for only those whose budget was very limited. Boy, was I mistaken. God calls all of us to manage our money and to be good stewards of what He has given us.

The Hope Center Thrift Store is just the place to start. Not only are you able to bring us your gently used or new items that you may no longer need, but it is the place to start to look for those items that you do need. You may be surprised at what you may find, from clothing to housewares, toys, games, puzzles, furniture, decorations, to cosmetic, jewelry and so much more. We have it all.

There are lots of things that you will find that you can repurpose and reuse. Like a dresser that with a little TLC becomes a coffee bar or a piece of pottery that you turn into a bird bath, there is no limit to the things you can do. The Hope Center Thrift Stores are a treasure trove of unique and amazing finds.

Yes, we are a place for those who are struggling financially, and we love helping those in need, it is our purpose and mission. So please keep this in mind: all money taken in by the Thrift Stores goes right back into all the ministries of The Hope Center. As you can see, not only do your donations greatly help, your patronage to the store helps as well.

I encourage you to come to our Thrift Stores and look at what we have; it’s new almost every day. Then when you see all the great finds, tell your friends and family so they too can see what a treasure our Thrift Stores really are.

God is so good, and you may think shopping at the Thrift Store is no big deal, but let me tell you many people will be shown the love of Christ and His gift of salvation through your donations and purchases at The Hope Center Thrift Stores.

 

We have two convenient Thrift Store locations for your shopping pleasure: Hagerstown (corner of Walnut and Church Streets with free parking on our lot off of Church St) and Chambersburg at 64 S. Main Street. For more information about our Thrift Stores please visit https://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/thrift-store

Aimee Izer is manager of our Sorting Department and Thrift Stores. In addition to all she does at The Hope Center she also spends her time reading, gardening, painting, and hanging out with her family. She is happily married for 26 years to her best friend, Terry, and is the mother of 4 boys and the proud grandmother of 4. She attends Evangel Baptist Church in Hagerstown. 

Goodbye, Sue! Enjoy Your Well-Deserved Retirement!

At the end of October we said farewell and see ya real soon to one of our staff members who was more like family than just a co-worker.

Sue Hosler retired this fall from The Hope Center. She started working with us in December of 2008. During her years as our Administrative Assistant, Sue talked with or came in contact with basically anyone and everyone who had anything to do with The Hope Center. She was the voice you heard when you called and the smile you saw when you dropped by.

We will definitely miss Sue for many reasons, but one major thing we could always count on Sue to do was to keep everything chugging away each day. Maintaining the office and all the various ministries can get pretty hectic and overwhelming, but Sue was able to always keep everything together and organized. During the busy holiday season Sue kept up with all the demands of the job including a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing and handling all the various donations of food and gifts from generous people during the season.

During Camp Wild Sue was always able to make sure parents’ needs were taken care of while various issues were sorted out. Every Monday of a new camp week was an adventure of sorts for Sue as she helped make sure all the concerns of parents were addressed and always kept up with questions about vans and pick up times.

For our Rock the Run 5K Sue made sure we had everything we needed and the event was efficient and fantastic. And the day of the event Sue was there helping to organize the food area for all of our participants and volunteers.

And those are just a few of the ways Sue really had a massive impact on the ministry at The Hope Center. But even beyond the paycheck Sue and her husband, Mark, pastor at Germantown Church of God, lived up to God’s calling by volunteering at various events at The Hope Center and hosting the men who are residents in our 13-month life recovery program, Foundations, each summer for a picnic just for them.

In addition to her job duties, Sue volunteered her time and services for our Party-in-the-Park events, Rock the Run 5K, Thanksgiving Day, Wildside Youth events, Christmas Day celebrations with our residents and community guests, and baking desserts for various activities and events at The Hope Center.

“I came to The Hope Center looking for a job – something to help pay the mortgage of a house we had left in another state and that we thought we had sold. Our tenant/buyers moved out leaving us with the house and the payments.

“What I found was a wonderful community of people who are sharing the Good News of the Gospel while trying to help some of the neediest people in our community. I considered it a joy to work with the Shanks, all my coworkers and faithful volunteers as we provided food, clothing, Godly counsel, shelter to men and activities to children. In everything that happens at The Hope Center the Gospel is presented – every day.

“I have been humbled many times those who I wished to bless by helping them turn around and blessed me.

“While I will no longer be answering the phone or greeting those who walk through the door every day, I will still be involved at The Hope Center. I will still volunteer at Wildside parties for the children. I will still show up at 6:30 AM on race day to volunteer. I will come with my church family to volunteer for evening chapel and the meal once a month. My husband and I will continue to support The Hope Center with our gifts and our prayers. Please consider joining us – pray, give, volunteer.”

Sue has been an incredible staff person, volunteer, and supporter of this ministry and we are so sad to say goodbye. She didn’t just come to do a job. She came to make a difference. And she did just that. Thank you, Sue, for your years of service at The Hope Center and for all the things you did and all the ways you helped reach thousands of people for Christ. We are so blessed to have been able to have you serve with us and we will certainly miss you each 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!

New to Hagerstown, BJ’s Restaurant is Making Their Mark in our Community

Earlier this year a new restaurant opened at The Valley Mall and has been the talk of the town – and you can tell by the constant wait times just to dine there.

BJ’s, located at 17318 Valley Mall Rd, has only been opened for a few months but is already making an impact in the community that they serve.

On October 29th, 11 employees from BJ’s in Hagerstown volunteered to serve lunchtime meals to our residents and Soup Line guests as a part of their TASC FORCE (Team Action to Support Communities).

But they didn’t just come to serve the food – they also brought the food. They served our residents and guests food from their own menu at the restaurant and prepared by their own chefs which included salad, pizza, chicken quinoa bowl, grilled chicken alfredo, and chocolate chip cookies! We’re hungry just thinking about all the great food they served!

We had a full house eating lunch that day and we can confidently say that all of our residents and guests enjoyed their lunch from BJ’s! We were so thankful for the crew from BJ’s, not just that they prepared and served lunch, but that they also mingled and interacted with our residents and guests and made their time with us feel like one big family meal.

So we want to say ‘thank you’ to BJ’s for all they did for our residents & guests and we will welcome them back any time they want to help out in the community again!

And if you haven’t been to BJ’s yet then you definitely need to go! If you’ve never heard of BJ’s before then check out http://www.bjsrestaurants.com to see their menu and get business hours.

Our guests and residents can openly attest to their delicious food but in addition to their incredible menu, including everyone’s favorite treat, Pizookie, they also have wonderful, kind employees and are an organization that is committed to giving back to their community and being involved by helping others.

Has BJ’s inspired you or your organization to get involved? If so call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to talk to someone about how you can partner with us to help those in need. You can also learn more about our food services and other community programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

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!

 

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.

Hope and Government

I’m sure by now you, like everyone else, are tired of the back-and-forth going on between the two political parties in DC. All that we hear is how our elected officials can’t seem to compromise and work out their differences and have forced our federal government to shut down causing some federal employees to lose paychecks and forcing other government operations to cease their daily activities.

Many Americans may not feel the effects of this shut down other than being inundated with the constant news coverage of this fight in our capital.

But for the Americans who work for the government or rely on the various programs sponsored by our government, this is a very stressful and troubling time.

As services and programs are getting cut, we are happy to inform you that none of the programs, services or ministries at The Hope Center will be affected in any way.

Even if our government fails to reopen in a month, our doors will remain open, beds ready and meals served for the hundreds of people each month who come to The Hope Center to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

You ask, how can you remain open during a time when services are being cut?

It’s easy. We can remain open, operational and fully functional during these troubling times because we do not receive any funding from the government. We never have and we never will.

We are totally independent from the government. We don’t use any tax money to fund our ministry. And we’ve been doing it that way since 1955.

Our ministry is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And we do it because God has provided for our needs every single day that we’ve been open.

Thanks to God Who has given us many friends like you, we’ve been able to navigate through other government shut downs, recessions, tragedies and trials. Our supporters help us focus on what’s important: helping others.

During economic good times and bad times, homelessness, hopelessness and hunger exist. We’ve taken to heart God’s command to give to the least, the last, and the lost to heart and we’ve made it a goal to do that no matter what.

So as our country faces new sets of challenges, we can say with confidence that we will be here to help neighbors in need. We don’t rely on any government to meet our needs. We trust in God to provide – and He always has!

If you would like to be a part of the solution and would like to help us provide hope and restoration to so many broken, hurting and helpless neighbors, then get involved today. Below are the many different ways you can partner with us:

  • Financially support The Hope Center each month. We appreciate the generous donations from individuals, churches, businesses, organizations and other groups who faithfully provide the essential funds to continue providing hope.
  • Donate gently used items of furniture, clothing, shoes, toys, books, household and other various items to be sold in our Thrift Stores. The sales generated from our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg help to keep our programs operational. Items sold in the Thrift Stores also give families and individuals on tight budgets the opportunity to buy “new” things needed for everyday living without doing damage to their budget.
  • Donate food items for our pantry. We use a lot of food at The Hope Center. We provide several free meals a day to our residents and daily guests. In addition to meals served, we operate a food bank where hungry neighbors can receive food for their homes at no cost. Therefore, keeping our pantry stocked is very important. Helping us by purchasing items like peanut butter, coffee, sugar, cereals, canned fruits and vegetables and other items is a huge blessing.
  • Volunteer your free time to one of our ministries. There are many ways to get involved. From helping to clean, paint, build, sort, teach, serve or entertain, there are so many interesting options available to you to help make a difference one-on-one in our community.
  • Shop in our Thrift Stores. Sometimes you just need some items at a low price. We can help. If you find yourself heading to second-hand shops, come to ours! When you purchase from our stores, you’re helping to feed the hungry or provide a hot shower to the homeless. And when you’re finished with your items, re-donate them so someone else can use them! We have two Thrift Store locations in Hagerstown and Chambersburg.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray. No matter what else you can do to help, please pray. This is the most important. God hears the cries of His people. He helps His people. But if we fail to pray, then we are failing to believe. We can’t do this alone. We need God’s help and guidance. Join us in praying for our ministry, our staff and volunteers and especially all the precious lives who will seek help at The Hope Center.

We can’t rely on the government or really any other human entity. Only God can faithfully provide. He always has and He always will.

Thank you for working with us to keep our programs running. In times of uncertainty it’s important that our community knows that we are here to help and we aren’t stopping for any reason.

For more information on how you can get involved in any way, please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.