The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Day 5

For the 5th Gift of Christmas our neighbors gave to us Jars of Peanut Butter!

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So jars of peanut butter aren’t exactly as flashy as 5 gold rings but they are just as valuable to us and the people in our community who are food insecure and need some assistance.

Peanut Butter is one of the main staples we include in our food bags that are given to families and individuals in need. Besides being so delicious and versatile, peanut butter adds protein and other health benefits for people of all ages and can quickly satisfy hunger as well as taste buds.

16 oz jars of peanut butter are preferred for their size in our food bags. Any brand or type of peanut butter is welcome. This is an item we are always in desperate need of so please spread the word to your social media contacts.

To donate just stop by our Administrative Office M-F between 8am – 5pm or call us at 301.739.1165 to work something else out if these hours don’t work with your schedule. Thank you for caring and sharing this Christmas season!

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Now, Bake Away, Bake Away, Bake Away All!

It’s been said that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. While that’s good and all we also know of another great way to spread Christmas cheer: cookies.

After all, it’s common knowledge that the way to any human’s heart is through their stomach and really there’s nothing better than enjoying some homemade Christmas cookies.

Christmas Cookies-001So we’re asking you, holiday bakers, to spread some Christmas cheer with our residents and guests at Christmas. Our kitchen, residential program and overnight shelter don’t close for holidays which means that The Hope Center will be where people spend Christmas Eve, Christmas and even New Years.

We try to make it as special as possible for everyone who comes to The Hope Center during the Christmas & New Years holidays. And we’ve learned that a table full of Christmas cookies always brings a smile to the faces of anyone.

We know that over the next couple of days you’ll be baking and creating all sorts of Christmas magic in your kitchen. And if you feel like you over-baked or have plenty to spare then we’d love to share your treats with our residents and guests. The more the merrier!

To donate, or learn more about our programs and services over the holidays, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Happy baking and Merry Christmas!!

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

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.

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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!

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!

Chick-Fil-A Brings the Happy (and, of course, some Chicken)

Who wouldn’t love a lunch provided by Chick-Fil-A for free? It’s basically everyone’s dream. And for our residents and Soup Line guests that dream became a reality last weekend when staff from Chick-Fil-A in Hagerstown stopped by The Hope Center to host lunch!

Thirteen Chick-Fil-A team members helped prepare, serve, and interact with all of the men, women and children who joined us for lunch. Lead by Mary Teal Medina, the Marketing Director, and Matt Roach, Operations Director, the crew served a delicious meal of BBQ chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle soup over a hot biscuit, and a cookie. And to wash it all down our guests enjoyed some of that delicious southern style sweet tea that is wildly popular at Chick-Fil-A!

It was another full house during Soup Line and our guests enjoyed the great food and good company.

We are so thankful for the team from Chick-Fil-A for volunteering and being involved in helping us feed those in need in Hagerstown. We would gladly welcome Chick-Fil-A back any time, and we know our guests would too!

Thank you so much, Chick-Fil-A of Hagerstown, for taking time out of your schedule to share with our residents and guests!

If you’re reading this and craving some great fast food then swing by Chick-Fil-A on Wesel Blvd in Hagerstown for a sandwich, grilled nuggets, waffle fries, and Chick-Fil-A sauce…or just get whatever makes your heart happy on that menu because you know it’s gonna taste great!

If you, your business, scout troop, church, or civic group would like to join Chick-Fil-A and other local restaurants in serving our lunch guests then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. There’s a genuine need for food assistance in our community and we’re so thrilled to have restaurants in the area team up with us and our other donors and volunteers to combat hunger and hopelessness in Hagerstown. You can join the fight! Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how you can be a part of helping neighbors in need in Hagerstown and the surrounding communities!