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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wildside Kick’s Off Another Summer of Adventure!

On May 14th Wildside hosted it’s annual Camp Wild Kick-Off Party! They had 54 kids join for an evening of Jesus, fun, games, and food.

Every month during the school year Wildside hosts themed parties for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. The Camp Wild Kick-Off Party is the final party of the season, but obviously, a celebration of the upcoming summer camp season which starts in July!!

The Camp Wild Kick-Off Party is always a crowd favorite because it’s another sign that the school year is coming to an end and it builds the excitement for another summer of fun at Camp Wild!

The evening started off with one of the kids’ favorite activities: dodgeball!

Following the huge game of dodgeball, everyone came together to enjoy some music and an interactive Bible lesson. The lesson time started with a song that the Wildside kids love, “Take it All” by Hillsong Kids. Following the music everyone jumped right into the lesson “Livin’ the Good Life”. The lesson is part of a series teaching the kids how to resolve conflict and live peacefully with God and each other. The kids learned that in order to resolve their personal conflicts they must state the problem, listen to the other person, and look for the solution. They learned that our greatest problem is our sin, that we need to listen to Jesus, and that He is the solution to our sin problem.

After the message, one of the Wildside kids, Aleshia, wowed everyone by reciting 10 Bible verses she had memorized in school! This passage of scripture told the story of Thomas doubting and then believing in the resurrected Jesus. How awesome to see so much scripture memorized by such a young lady.

Following the lesson time, the kids were able to spend their Bear Bucks at the Marketplace, play one of our carnival-style games, and eat dinner. Each of the carnival games was themed after camp. This summer, campers will travel to Latin America and explore God’s diverse array of people, cultures, animals, and environments.

Wildside ended the evening with a small dodgeball competition. We had twenty kids join the competition to battle it out for the winning title and the prize. After awarding the winners with Hershey bars and certificates, we handed out some prizes for a few well behaved children who stood out to the staff.

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Even though Wildside has wrapped up their parties for this school year, there’s still so much more fun planned for 2019. The fun continues this summer at Camp Wild! Camp Wild is an exciting, free day camp for kids ages 5-12. Registration is now open so don’t wait to sign your kids up for Camp Wild 2019. To learn more go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

If you would like to help volunteer at Camp Wild this year please contact us as soon as possible by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com.

Santa Surprises our Soup Line Guests!

Christmas came and went in a flurry of activity. There’s always so much going on during the holiday season but it’s always worth it all.

Even though Christmas is now a thing of the past, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about all the fun we had – like when Santa made a surprise visit to our Soup Line!

On December 20th, our Soup Line guests were a part of our surprise Christmas celebration. In addition to delicious holiday themed food and treats, our Soup Line guests were randomly chosen for Christmas prizes. But the favorite part for everyone was when our friend, Santa, stopped by to help spread Christmas cheer.

We love celebrating with our community guests who come to our Soup Line each day. Occasionally we host parties celebrating various holidays and other themed events.

Our Soup Line is free for anyone and everyone and takes place every day of the year including holidays and during inclement weather. Our Soup Line is a very important part of our ministry as we are dedicated to combating hunger and making sure everyone in our community has food to eat.

In fact, we are in the beginning stages of a total expansion and refurbishment of our kitchen, dining room, and food pantry. We’ll be moving forward in 2019 to raise funds and begin the expansion project so that we can have enough room to meet the rising numbers of guests coming for meals.

You can be a part of making sure we end hunger in Hagerstown. By hosting food drives, donating meals, and sponsoring our food services campaign, you will help us continue to make sure no one, young or old, is ever food insecure.

Learn more about Soup Line and our food services programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/food-programs

 

Maranatha Brethren Makes the Holidays Happy With a Christmas Prayer

Last Friday our residents and guests were treated to a holiday performance and dinner hosted by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church.

Every Christmas the choir from Maranatha performs their seasonal cantata in the Trinity Center for anyone and everyone in the community. This year the choir performed, ‘A Christmas Prayer’. Our guests enjoyed listening to Christmas music and were reminded about the true meaning and purpose of Christmas. The crowd enjoyed hearing a full choir plus various soloists perform as the Trinity Center was filled with Christmas spirit.

Following the performance the choir from Maranatha was joined by others from the church to serve a free dinner to everyone in attendance.

It was another bitterly cold night in Hagerstown but that didn’t stop people from coming out to hear the choir sing. We had over 100 people spend the evening celebrating the birth of Jesus with us!

We are so thankful for all the support and love that Maranatha has given our ministry and residents & guests over the years. Their Christmas cantata performance has become one of our new Christmas traditions and we are so thankful for the choir coming to perform and serve the community.

If you were unable to join us last Friday then why not stop by Maranatha Brethren Church this Sunday evening (12/16) for the full Christmas cantata, ‘A Christmas Prayer’, being performed by the choir in their church. For more information on the cantata performance please call 301.733.1717. Maranatha Brethren Church is located at 19835 Scott Hill Dr. just off of Jefferson Blvd. in Hagerstown.

To learn more about Maranatha Brethren Church please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net

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 Happy Halloween at The Hope Center!

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and Christmas will be here before you know it so before we get swept away in all the holiday buzz, we’re taking a quick look back at all the fun had at The Hope Center at Halloween!

Wildside Youth Ministries had a huge turnout of kids ready to celebrate their annual Fall-O-Ween party. On October 23rd, 74 kids dressed up in their favorite costumes and partied all evening long with Halloween themed carnival games, group activity games, ate some delicious food, and learned all about God’s light replacing sin while using a jack-o-lantern as an illustration! It was a great night to be a kid in Hagerstown.

Then on Halloween we hosted a surprise party for our Soup Line guests. We had a full house who came for some great food and thanks to Jeannie in our kitchen they got a wonderful meal. And to keep it festive we had Halloween themed treats along with prizes for random, lucky guests. But in the spirit of Halloween all of our guests took home a bag of Halloween candy! We love hosting special holiday parties at Soup Line with our community guests. After thanking us for the celebration, one guest said, “it was nice to feel like a kid again!”

Thanksgiving 1Now that Halloween is a thing of the past it’s time to look ahead at all the fun we’re having at The Hope Center in November. And of course the main thing we’re preparing for is our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast on Thanksgiving Day. Our buffet lunch begins at 11:30am in the Trinity Center with kids activities beginning at 11am. There’s plenty of parking located on our central lot off of Church Street between Walnut & Prospect Streets. And there’s always tons of food for our guests to enjoy so invite your whole family and all your neighbors!

And for the kids in your family don’t forget to bring  them to Wildside’s Thanksgiving Party on November 13th from 5-7pm at the Trinity IMG_9175Center. And they’re also welcome to come at 11am on Thanksgiving Day for kids activities prior to our Thanksgiving buffet. All Wildside activities are free. Register your kids by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com. Learn more about Wildside activities by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

 

 

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!