A Sunday School Lesson Brought to Life

Last week our good friend, Amanda, dropped off about 30 goodie bags for our guests at The Hope Center. Inside the bags were a bottle of water, crackers, cookies and fruit snacks.

IMG_7097But Amanda didn’t make these all on her own. In fact, she was just dropping them off on behalf of the children at New Life Christian Ministries. One Sunday morning the kids created these bags as a part of the lesson they were learning about Jesus. They were being taught that Jesus is for everyone – including people in our society who are sometimes overlooked or forgotten about. They created the bags for The Hope Center for us to give out to people so that they don’t feel overlooked but included and loved by God.
We want to say a huge thank you to the kids at New Life Christian Ministries for making the goodie bags for our guests. We handed them out to people who came to our daily Soup Line. The guests who received the bags were so grateful and happy to get the treats to take home!

We also want to thank Amanda and the other children’s ministry leaders at New Life Christian Ministries. What a wonderful way to not only teach the importance of showing God’s love to everyone but also getting the kids involved in a works project for those in need!

We say this often but it never gets old: we’re so thankful for our community! People, like those at New Life Christian Ministries, are helping to make a difference in Hagerstown – even if it’s just simply a bag of treats. And they’re helping to raise a generation who will continue to fight the good fight and show love and compassion to all people . Thank you to New Life Christian Ministries and all the other churches, businesses, civic clubs, organizations, families and individuals in our community who support us in various ways all throughout the year! We truly thank God for each of you and your commitment to taking care of your neighbors in need!

To learn more about The Hope Center and all the ways we help the community or to learn how you can get more involved and partner with us to reach Hagerstown then visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Looking for a church in the Hagerstown area? Why not check out New Life Christian Ministries? New Life Christian Ministries is located at 12031 Hopewell Road in Hagerstown. To learn more about the church, including the service times, various ministries, and upcoming events please go to http://www.nlcm.org.

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The Dog Days of Summer

When most people think of homeless the image often envisioned is one of a person huddled up beneath an overpass wrapped in blankets and scarves. Our minds often go towards the homeless struggling to find shelter and stay warm in the bitter cold months of the year. Obviously that image is true.

But there’s another image that is often overlooked – that is an image of homeless people trying to find someplace safe and shady to cool off in the humidity and blazing sun of the summer.

To think that homelessness is more relegated to the cold months isn’t exactly a true portrayal of the situation. Homelessness is a year-round issue. While the summer seems safer for people because they aren’t dealing with frostbite and wind chill, the summer has it’s fair share of dangers for the homeless including heat stroke, dehydration, bugs such as ticks and mosquitoes, to name a few.

And that’s why our shelter is open for homeless men all year long. We’ve been providing year-round shelter for men since we opened our doors back in 1955. And with the overnight air-conditioned accommodations comes a delicious meal, cool beverages, and a refreshing shower.

During the summer months our ability to provide to hurting people with the help they need is a real challenge. You may not be aware of the difficult financial position we face during the summer months. During July and August, our income often drops, but the need in our community continues, and even increases.

Each year we face a “summer slump.” With summer vacations, picnics, reunions, gardening, and other summer activities, it is often easy to forget the homeless and hungry during the warm summer months. But our needs go on all summer long! And we are confident that our great God will continue to meet our needs through generous, compassionate people like you – just as He’s done since 1955!

Your gift in the summer will help us continue our outreach to needy people in our community and will make a tremendous difference during this challenging season.

Will you consider sending a special gift at this critical time? Remember this – we don’t provide just a handout, The Hope Center embraces people with the love of God. Your gift in the summer will help us continue our outreach to needy people in our community and will make a tremendous difference during this challenging season.

You may send your gift to The Hope Center at P.O. Box 685, Hagerstown, MD 21741. Credit card donations are accepted by calling 301-739-1165 or you may give through PayPal by clicking here: http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/financial-giving

 

 

 

A Little Winter Weather Didn’t Hold Back our Busy February!

February may be the shortest month but it’s always packed with activities and yet somehow always seems like the longest month to get through.

We had a very busy, productive February. Between the snow, ice, warm days and cold days we were able weather all the ups & downs with just some minor cancellations.

As we noted in a previous post, we were able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our Soup Line guests. Everyone had a great time – especially the lucky guests who walked away with some Valentine’s themed prizes!

The kids who attend Wildside parties had a great Valentine’s celebration – also just a week, late thanks to another winter storm. But even with the delayed event, over 50 excited kids decked in red & pink swarmed the Trinity Center for an evening of games, food, prizes and socializing. Adrian, Director of Wildside, also presented the kids with a great interactive lesson about conflict resolution and dealing with problems in a Godly way. At the end of the night, the kids wearing the most red & pink all won special prizes plus one lucky gal won a giant Kit Kat!!

Wildside hosts large themed parties like this each month during the school year. In addition to these events, Wildside Youth hosts Sunday Night Wild a couple times a month plus each summer they host Camp Wild which is a four week day camp for kids in Hagerstown to attend for free! Learn more about Wildside Youth by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

One new thing that happened in February was our first in a series of meetings with some local pastors. On the 19th we had about 10 pastors join us for lunch and a tour of our facility. Several of our employees joined us to talk about their respective ministries at The Hope Center and give our pastors a deeper understanding of the various programs and services we offer the public. Following the lunch we took the pastors on a tour of our buildings where they could see the ministry at work.

We were so thankful for the pastors who joined us and got a connection with our ministry. The local church is our strongest support system in so many ways, but many people in the community, including church leaders, don’t totally know or understand how much we do each day for the community. And as churches donate financially or through other donations like food or gently used items, we wanted the leaders to see what their contributions to our ministry are doing. After talking with the pastors we are so encouraged by the renewed commitment from churches in the area to partner with us to do God’s work of reaching the least, the last, and the lost.

We will be having more meetings like this throughout the year with many more pastors. If you’re interested in seeing or knowing more about our ministry, please contact us. It’s one thing to read about what we do or even glance at a picture here or there. It’s a totally different experience to actually see it in motion. To get basic info about The Hope Center and all our programs and services please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. If you’d like to talk to someone about seeing the ministry first hand please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Clover Bowl InviteWe hope your February was as wonderful as ours! And as this month comes to an end we are excited about all the upcoming activities planned for the spring, like Wildside’s St. Patrick’s Day party on March 5th from 5-7pm in the Trinity Center. This event is free for kids ages 5-12 so call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register.

Another big event we’re excited about is our upcoming Rock the Run: Pirates vs Princess 5K on April 27th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. This is a great event for people of all ages and athletic levels. Whether you RTR Pirate Princessare a seasoned runner or someone who just likes a good stroll, our 5K is perfect for you, your entire family, friends, church, civic group or coworkers. We have a kids One Mile Fun Run that takes place prior to the 5K plus activities for kids during the 5K so bring the whole family! Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register and learn more about the event. And don’t forget to grab your hook and eye patch or your favorite princess outfit for our race! Embrace your inner pirate or princess and join us for a fun activity to race support for The Hope Center!

 

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Days 3 & 4

We’re inching closer and closer to Christmas which means we’re moving right through our Christmas Wish List.

So here are the next two items from our 12 Gifts of Christmas 2018:

12 Gifts 2018 3-001Day 3 is basic necessity found in basically every home in America. Pain relievers aren’t usually something people think of when donating to The Hope Center but it’s something that we definitely need. We’ll accept any brand or any size bottles of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

And Day 4 brings along one of the most overlooked and yet most important items on our Wish List: toilet paper. As you can imagine we go through a lot of toilet paper between all of our residents, overnight guests, and day guests. Any brand or amount of toilet paper will be a huge blessing to our ministry.

12 Gifts 2018 4-001

If you’d like to donate any of these items, or any of the other items on our 12 Gifts of Christmas List, then just stop by our Administrative Office Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm. If those times don’t work for you then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to arrange a more suitable time.

And to learn more about all the various programs and services at The Hope Center please be sure to visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

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!

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.