Happy, Happy Fall-O-Ween!

We may be a few days away from Halloween but Wildside Youth already started the spooky celebration with their well loved event, Fall-O-Ween!

73 Kids ages 5-12 flooded the Trinity Center for an evening of scary fun! The costumed kids enjoyed playing all sorts of festively themed carnival games in addition to free time play which included a crowd favorite: GaGa Ball!

The kids also had some fun partaking in the Trick-or-Treat Game Show which helped to finish the lesson about “corruption” in the series “Seven C’s of the Bible”. Throughout the various events during the month of October the kids have been learning about how Satan is full of tricks and continues to trick us today but Jesus is the ultimate treat because He loves us, forgives us, and saves us!

The kids this year were also able to experience the Halloween indoor tunnel which is the largest Wildside has done in the past five years. The indoor tunnel may sound silly but anyone who’s experienced it knows how much fun the tunnel truly is! It’s definitely one of the highlights of Fall-O-Ween.

But you know another highlight and fan favorite at Fall-O-Ween??? The food! From hotdogs wrapped to look like mummies to all sorts of treats, the kids at Fall-O-Ween sure didn’t get tricked when it came time to munch down on some great food!

Fall-O-Ween is always a great time for everyone – including our volunteer staff! Even as we’re saying goodbye to Halloween and all the tricks involved, the fun at Wildside is far from over. November ushers in a whole new month of activities for kids.

In November Wildside will host two Sunday Night Wild services (November 3rd & 17th) along with a Thanksgiving Party on November 12th. And then on Thanksgiving Day Wildside will host kids activities at the Trinity Center starting at 11am for our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There’s a lot of fun happening this month at Wildside and your kids can be a part of all the action! Just email info@wildsideyouth.com or call 301.739.1165 to learn more.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. Transportation to and from events is complimentary but space is limited and fills up quickly. Go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com to learn more about our youth program at The Hope Center.

Interested in volunteering and being a part of the fun at Wildside events?? We’re always looking for people to help at our Wildside events so if you’d like to learn more please call 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And as we noted, we are hosting our annual Thanksgiving buffet again this year on Thanksgiving Day (November 28th) at 11:30am in the Trinity Center. Doors open at 11am and kids activities kick off at the same time. All are invited to attend! We’ll have plenty of delicious food like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, succotash, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and more! This is a FREE event for people of all ages and tickets are NOT required. Spread the word and invite everyone to join us on Thanksgiving Day for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast at 11:30am in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center. More info to come so follow us on Facebook @hopecenterhagerstown or call 301.739.1165 for more info.

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!

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!

One Week Until Thanksgiving!

We’re one week away from Thanksgiving! Can you believe how quickly this year is flying by? Neither can we!

There is still time if you’d like to be a part of our Thanksgiving celebration for the community. Volunteer spots have been filled but you can still help us feed hundreds of people this Thanksgiving by donating various food items.

Items needed are:

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

It takes a lot of food to feed our Thanksgiving crowd so any help is greatly appreciated! And the good thing is that any food that isn’t used for Thanksgiving will be used to feed hungry people in the community every other day of the year as well!

If you would like to donate food or gift cards, please drop items off at our Administrative Office M-F, 8:30am-5pm. If you have any questions about drop-off or any general questions, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Thank you for partnering with us to reach Hagerstown for Christ!

The Season of Hope

Now that summer is officially over, we are preparing for the winter weather and the increase of those who will need assistance. As the nights grow longer, many of the people we minister to will be forced to change their sleeping habits. Many of them will seek shelter and other assistance here at The Hope Center.

Of course, winter is the worst time of year for homeless & needy people. Displaced people look for shelter in abandoned buildings, cars or vans and even beneath bridge overpasses. Those with fixed incomes or those that live below the poverty line spend a large portion of their income to heat their homes leaving little left for groceries.

Thank God for The Hope Center which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! We can provide shelter, warm food, showers & toiletries, food bags and clothing/houseware assistance to people in need. In addition to meeting the physical needs of our neighbors, we also reach out to their spiritual needs as well. From daily chapel services, to Wildside kids activities, to Koffee Klatch, our weekly ladies Bible study, The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission is here to give hope to anyone who needs it!

Giving hope and changing lives since 1955 is not just a slogan – it’s what The Hope Center is all about! With each new day, God grants each of us the hope of something better. And that’s why we do what we do at The Hope Center.

Because of your generous donations and continued support we’ve been able to reach thousands of people in Hagerstown! We want you to encourage you by sharing some statistics from the month of August. Your faithful support of God’s work here at The Hope Center is truly helping to make a difference in the lives of men, women & kids!

  • 22 families received free groceries in August
  • 5,230 meals served in August
  • 1,292 nights of safe shelter in August
  • Approximately 1,300 people received a hot meal during Soup Line
  • 1,620 people attended chapel services in August
  • Approximately 200 kids attended Camp Wild 2012 for free this summer

Thank you for your compassionate heart and for your part in restoring hope in the lives of hundreds of men, women and families! We are so grateful for your parternship with us!

If you are interested in volunteering, including serving on Thanksgiving Day, or would like to learn how you can partner with us to bring hope to Hagerstown, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net for more info.

Calling All Volunteers

As we celebrate the arrival of autumn, we, at The Hope Center, are beginning to prepare for our annual community Thanksgiving feast!

Each year we host a free meal for anyone in the community on Thanksgiving Day. We’ve been doing it well over 50 years and it’s become a holiday tradition in Hagerstown.

We serve a delicious buffet lunch to hundreds of people in Hagerstown. Some people join us for the food and some join us for the company. No matter what brings people to the Trinity Center, everyone leaves feeling happy and stuffed!

For us to feed so many people in such a short time period, we rely on wonderful neighbors and friends in the community, like yourself, to volunteer. We have volunteers who help to set the tables, prepare food, serve food in the buffet line, fill drinks, serve pies, clean up, play with kids and interact with our guests.

If you, your family, church group or civic club are interested in volunteering to serve the meal on Thanksgiving Day then please contact us immediately. We may be a few months away from Thanksgiving but the volunteer space is limited and fills quickly.

Our Great Thanksgiving Day Feast begins at 11:30 on Thursday, November 22, with a short service giving thanks to God for all His blessings during the year. Following the service we serve a full buffet lunch complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, succotash, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, fruit, pumpkin pies and more!

Please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to get more info about volunteering or to go ahead and get your name on the volunteer list.

We do have kids activities, hosted by Wildside Youth Ministries, that begin before 11:30am that day. If you would like more info about the kids activities that day, please contact Wildside at 301.739.1165 or info@wildsideyouth.com.