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.

 

 

Thanksgiving Day Success: Thank You, Volunteers!

There’s so much prep work, shopping, cleaning and cooking for Thanksgiving but there’s even so much more to do when you’re preparing for 300 guests!

But that didn’t slow us down at all. Each year, since our very beginning in 1955, we’ve hosted a community meal for anyone and everyone in Hagerstown who is hungry or just wants some company on Thanksgiving Day.

Our free buffet is complete with roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, succotash, cranberry sauce, fruit cocktail, pie and more!

And since it’s a family affair we even had kids activities for all the little ones thanks to the staff and volunteers from our kids program, Wildside Youth Ministries (www.wildsideyouth.com).

Everyone had a great time celebrating, feasting and giving thanks together. And we even had a pilgrim show up to the celebration! Enjoy this collage of pics from our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast but be sure to check out more pictures from the celebration at http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

But none of  this would’ve been possible without the support of our gracious and generous community. From the countless donations received to the hours served by staff and volunteers, this event is a success because of our incredible friends and neighbors in the  greater Hagerstown region. We feel that just saying “thank you” doesn’t quite sum up how grateful we truly are to each and every one of you who helped us in one way or another this Thanksgiving season. We thank God for each of you and your compassion and love for our community.

Listed below are all the names of our MVP’s from our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. If you are familiar with of any of these fine people then please be sure to personally thank them for helping make Thanksgiving special for all of our guests!

The 2017 Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast Staff (S) & Volunteers (V):

  • Sonny & Becky Shank (S)
  • Dorcas Black (S)
  • Sharon & Henry Hughes (V)
  • Frank Shortt (S)
  • Joe & Marianne Elliot (V)
  • Richard Quesenberry (V)
  • Michael Black (V)
  • Doug Walker (V)
  • Melanie Hughes (V)
  • Laurel Walker (V)
  • Larry Hose (V)
  • Russ & Diane Ellis (V)
  • John Borelli (V)
  • Jim & Barb Resh (V)
  • Teresa Yates & family (V)
  • Matt & Effie Tiches and family (V)
  • Angela Galvan & family (V)
  • Amanda Miles (V)
  • Dr. Sidney Chang (V)
  • Sherita Jones (V)
  • Donnie & Angie Cross and family (V)
  • Matt & Staci Sargent and family (V)
  • Paul & Stacy Mickley and family (V)
  • David & Karen Hillen (V)
  • Jeff Wine (V)
  • Chris Shank (S)
  • Adrian Black (S)
  • Stephanie Medina (V)
  • Aaron Black (V)
  • Mitcha & Al Shay (V)

 

We Thank You for a Great 2016!

A message from our Executive Director, Sonny Shank:
sonny-shank-executive-director“As we close out this year and look forward to the challenges of 2017, I look back with awe and thanksgiving for the provision of God’s hand. And as I reflect on this year, one thought stands out in my mind … 2016 was a year of caring and giving by many of the most generous people in the world – friends like you who support God’s work here at The Hope Center. So, on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and those we serve, I want to thank you for giving the gift of love and compassion in such a personal and caring way. You are a blessing to so many!
Although 2016 was not without its difficulties and struggles, we rejoice in the good things that happened here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. As of the end of November, 82 different families were given free groceries (171 bags given thus far); 44,326 meals were served; 11,637 were given safe shelter; 381 different men were provided overnight lodging. Throughout 2016 hundreds of kids attended our Wildside Kids events, including four weeks of Camp Wild. And just recently on Thanksgiving Day we served a traditional turkey dinner to approximately 200 people!
But the greatest joy of 2016 is the transformation that has taken place in the lives of many of the men enrolled in our long-term recovery program. I wish you could meet each one of the men and see the change that God is making in their lives. In case you have ever wondered just how important your support is, I want you to read a few notes that the men recently wrote for our donors:
~I’m thankful for a place to get myself clean and sober. Great people here. Coming closer to God.
~I’m blessed that The Hope Center has this program.
~Being here at The Hope Center has helped me get my life back in order. I’ve gotten my driver’s license, a bank account, a full-time job and a car. My relationship with God is strong which above all is most important.
~I’m thankful that these doors were open to me when I felt like all doors were closed. God healed my heart!
~I’m thankful for the goodness of God’s people to inspire me and give me hope for my own life.
~Thankful for a place to sleep and food to eat. I would be out in the cold if it weren’t for The Hope Center.
God is working in the hearts of men like Raymond, Frank, Nathan, Gus, Donald, Louis, Darrell, Larry, Stephen, Justin, William and so many others. These men have been blessed through you! That’s why we need your continued help to meet the rising needs before us.
It is always a challenge to try to keep our commitment to caring for everyone who comes to us seeking assistance, while at the same time being concerned about our ability to keep
up financially. As we close out 2016 will you consider making a generous end-ofyear gift to help those in need? The Hope Center needs your help, and we pledge to you that we will use your money wisely. Thank you! May God bless you and grant you a prosperous and Happy New Year!”
Gratefully yours,
Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank
Executive Director

Thanksgiving is Almost Here!

The busy holiday season is upon us! In about 24 hours the Trinity Center at The Hope Center in Hagerstown will come to life with hundreds of people. Some will be guests, some will be volunteers, some will be staff, but all will be giving thanks to God together as one family!

As it is every year, we’ve been busy for weeks preparing all the final touches to our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. And now it’s time to bring it all together so that anyone and everyone in Hagerstown can have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.

We’ve been roasting 18 turkeys, peeling tons of potatoes and setting up enough tables and chairs to feed over 250. Thanksgiving Day is a major event at the Hope Center. Since 1955, we’ve been making an incredible Thanksgiving feast for the community.

So you might be wondering, how much food does it take to serve a meal like that for such a large number of people? Good question! Here’s a run-down of what our supply list is like for Thanksgiving:

Turkey – 300 lbs – 18 turkeys

Potatoes – 240 lbs

Sweet Potatoes – 12 #10 cans

Brown Sugar – 8 lbs

Butter – 48 lbs

Bread – 75 loaves

Eggs – 26 dozen

Onions – 12

Celery – 3

Corn – 6 #10 cans

Lima Beans – 6 #10 cans

Sauerkraut – 6 #10 cans

Cranberry Sauce – 6 #10 cans

Bananas – 5 lbs

Fruit Cocktail – 3 #10 cans

Pies – Over 50 pies (generally pumpkin and pecan)

Even though our Thanksgiving feast is a lot of work, we love hosting this community event each year. The holiday season wouldn’t seem complete without seeing all the happy, smiling faces that are a part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

We are so thankful for all the wonderful volunteers who will be joining us tomorrow. These fantastic people help to make Thanksgiving special for so many people in our community. We couldn’t do our Thanksgiving feast without the combined efforts of our staff, volunteers and residents. So we want to say ‘thank you’ to anyone and everyone who is a part of making this Thanksgiving special to all of our guests!

If you’re reading this and you don’t have any plans for tomorrow then why don’t you join us? There will be plenty of delicious food, but most importantly, there will be plenty of good fellowship! Each year the Trinity Center is filled with over 250 people and yet it still feels like a close family coming together to thank God. If you don’t have plans tomorrow then there is no reason that you can’t join us and enjoy Thanksgiving with your Hope Center family!

Our ‘Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast’ starts at 11:30am in the Trinity Center which is located next to our Thrift Store on Walnut Street between Franklin & Church Streets. There is plenty of parking in our central lot just off of Church Street.

And kids are welcome too! Wildside Youth Ministries will be hosting kids’ activities starting at 11am in the Trinity Center. So invite your family, friends & neighbors to come out and celebrate with us!

No matter what you’re doing tomorrow, we hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving day and please remember to stop and thank God for all the wonderful blessings that He’s provided this past year. Even when times are tough, we can see God moving, working and providing.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!! We hope to see many of your smiling faces tomorrow. And if you are able to join us…make sure you come hungry!

Thanksgiving Feast Needs List

As we get close to the end of October, we will start gearing up for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast! Preparations are already underway and our volunteer list is growing each day.

Many people have called us about serving on Thanksgiving Day but we know that being available that day is not an option for many people. Many of you would like to be a part of helping to feed the community but you’ll be tied up with family commitments, work or travel plans.

If you’re going to be busy or unavailable on Thanksgiving but would like to help us feed hundreds of people in Hagerstown, why not donate some food for the big day?

We use a lot of food for Thanksgiving Day. We provide a free buffet lunch for anyone in the community so we need to be well stocked for all of our hungry guests.

Our menu includes roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, succotash, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, assorted pies & more!

Donations of food for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast are greatly appreciated.  Below is a list of items that are needed for that day.

  • #10 cans of corn and lima beans
  • Cans of sweet potatoes
  • #10 cans of fruit cocktail
  • Cans of sauerkraut
  • Frozen/fresh turkeys
  • Brown sugar
  • Jellied cranberry sauce
  • Potatoes

Any food donation that you give can really go a long way! If you are interested in helping to keep our pantry stocked for the winter months, below is a list of much needed food. If you are planning a food drive, use this list to help us keep frequently used items in stock.

For Our Pantry:

  • White rice
  • Spaghetti
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Sugar
  • #10 cans of green beans, peas and corn
  • Cold cereal (not kids’ cereal)
  • 15-16 oz. jars of peanut butter
  • Quick Oats
  • Tomato products (diced, whole, stewed, sauce or paste)
  • Coffee
  • Creamer

Thank you for being a part of feeding the hungry in Hagerstown. Your donation of a can of green beans or a jar of peanut butter may not seem like much to you, but it can be a symbol of hope and love for people in desperate situations. It’s truly amazing how God can use a can of soup to change a life!

If you would like to donate food, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net for more info and instructions. If you would like to host a food drive at your church, school, workplace or civic organization then please call or email for more information also. Thank you again for caring & sharing!