Faith Chapel of Johnstown Serves a Heaping Dose of Happy

We were so happy to have some of our friends from Faith Chapel in Johnstown, Pennsylvania serve lunch to our residents and Soup Line guests!

The group of 8 made the two hour trip from Johnstown last Saturday. While they came prepared to cook and serve meals for the community, they also brought donations of diapers, peanut butter, creamer, and clothing for our Thrift Stores!

The group, organized by Larry & Cindy Lazer, also lead singing and an inspirational message for our Soup Line guests before the meal.

This is not the first time that the group has made the trek from Johnstown and we certainly hope it’s not the last. We appreciate their commitment to helping the least, the last, and the lost in the community.

If your church, Scout Troop, youth group, or business would like to prepare and serve a meal just like our friends from Faith Chapel then please contact us. We are always looking for groups to help on the weekend. Please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

Wildside’s Birthday Bash Kicks Off the Party Season!

Imagine one giant party to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Sounds kinda wild, doesn’t it? Well Wildside Youth Ministries likes to do things a little different so they kicked off their school year party season with a huge birthday party celebration!

All the kids who attended the Birthday Bash on September 25th were able to celebrate their birthday. Each month was given a celebration and no one was left out of the fun! 52 kids ages 5-12 attended the first Wildside party of the season where they played birthday themed carnival games, painted faces, made crafts and enjoyed some great food.

But the most important part of the evening was learning about having the most important birthday: a spiritual birthday. The kids in attendance learned all about the importance of being born again and following Jesus.

Wildside is the youth ministry at The Hope Center. In addition to monthly large event parties during the school year, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings during the school year as well as The Crew which is the student leadership development program for older kids in the program. And each summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp for kids in July & August. All Wildside activities are free for kids ages 5-12. Learn more about Wildside and upcoming events by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Your financial donations to The Hope Center help fund these important activities for kids in Hagerstown. We are able to keep Wildside and our other programs and services for free for our guests because of generous and faithful supporters in our community. Thank you for your support of The Hope Center as we continue to reach everyone in our community – even kids – for Christ!

Want to learn more about donating or volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to get all the info you need on how to become a partner with us.

Another Great Party-in-the-Park!

On Saturday, October 22nd we hosted our second annual fall Party-in-the-Park at Wheaton Park in Hagerstown.

This Halloween themed event is designed to be an outreach event by going into our surrounding neighborhoods and meeting the many wonderful families and residents of these areas.

Originally meant to be an actual park party, we eventually moved our party into the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center due to high winds. We are very thankful to the staff of the  Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center for offering the building for use for our event. We appreciate being a part of such a kind and giving community!

Even though our event was indoors, that didn’t stop anyone, including our 30 volunteers, from having fun! From games, to face painting, entertainment, food and more our volunteers worked hard to make this event a success.

We enjoy being able to go out into our community to build stronger relations with our neighbors. This may only be our second time hosting this party but it most certainly won’t be our last. We want to build strong bonds with our neighbors so that we can work together to make Hagerstown a better place.

This event was sponsored by our Ladies’ Auxiliary. All the expenses of this event were underwritten by the Auxiliary and we are so thankful for their commitment to this ministry and our community. As you can see our Ladies’ Auxiliary are a very important and beneficial part of The Hope Center. This event and many other events are sponsored by this wonderful group of women. If you are interested in being a part of our Ladies’ Auxiliary then call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We are always looking for more women to get involved and help us keep events like the Party-in-the-Park going year after year.

As successful as this party was, we know that we couldn’t have done it without the help from all of our great volunteers! We firmly believe that we have the best volunteers in the tri-state. Thank you to each of the volunteers who gave hours of their Saturday to help us create so much magic and fun for our guests! We welcome you back to help us with any other event or activity that we’re hosting. And we need to give a special shout out to Gene Ridenour, president of our Board of Directors, and Jeff Reed. Both of these men have been very vital to all of our party events. Gene entertains kids and adults alike with his balloon modeling and Jeff makes everyone happy by being the best grillmaster in Hagerstown! Thank you both for giving of your time to reach our community.

If you’re interested in volunteering at The Hope Center then please go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com and learn more about the various ways you can be involved. You can also contact us by calling 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

 

Another Successful Year at Camp Wild

The carefree days of summer have come and gone but while we still bask in the warmth of this long summer season, we can look back at all the fun-filled days of another great year at Camp Wild.

Camp Wild gave over 200 kids in Hagerstown the opportunity to experience a week of action-packed fun where they played games, sang & danced, created art, explored new worlds, made friendships and learned about how to live a life for Christ.

If you’re reading this and you are totally unfamiliar with Camp Wild let us take a quick moment to catch you up to speed. Camp Wild is a free day camp for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. Transportation to and from the camp is provided for free along with lunch and all activities. The morning takes place in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center where the kids have time to play various games and sports while also interacting with our counselors. Then they have a time of praise & worship music where they can sing and dance their hearts out followed by a very interactive lesson time where the kids not only learn about Jesus but are challenged to think deep and learn how to apply what they’ve learned in to everyday life. Following the lesson time the kids break into small groups where they can discuss more with their leader. It’s midday by this time which means that stomachs are growling and it’s time for lunch. After everyone gets their fill of our delicious camp food, we pack up and head out to our outdoor adventure camp area located on the Conococheague Creek near Cearfoss. There the kids enjoy various activities with their groups like Sanaa (arts & crafts area), The Dig (archaeologist treasure hunt), Life Cycles (learning about animal life) and Zulu (African experience) among other attractions. Each day the groups rotate through the various attractions so that each camper has an opportunity to experience each one. Once the group attractions are completed then it’s free time for the campers to enjoy swimming, zip line, snacks, soccer, tubing, hayrides and more.

All of this fun is provided free of charge because we feel it’s important that every kid in Hagerstown has the opportunity to experience a fun-filled summer no matter what. But to keep it free we rely heavily on donations from churches, businesses and individuals in the community. And we’re so thankful for everyone who has partnered with us to provide a great summer for thousands of kids over the years!

And while we appreciate all that our sponsors in the community do, we cannot forget to thank the volunteers who put in countless hours and lots of energy bringing Camp Wild to life and touching the lives of all these kids. We understand that it’s a very tiresome, exhausting and challenging job at times but God has always supplied us with the right people to make our camp perfect each summer. Thank you to all of our counselors, assistants, stage hands, cooks, servers, drivers and anyone else who did so much to change the lives of kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ok, by this point you’re probably ready to see some pics from Camp Wild 2016, aren’t you? We don’t blame you! Enjoy the images of Camp Wild 2016. And if you want to learn more about Camp Wild then go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center doesn’t just host Camp Wild. The school year is full of various free activities for kids ages 5-12. To learn more about Wildside Youth go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. You’ll get all the up-to-date info about anything and everything Wildside.

Interested in volunteering? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com, call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Volunteers Are the Heart of The Hope Center

In 2015 we celebrated 60 years of hope at The Hope Center. And a major part of what makes it possible for us to continue to provide services to men, women & children for free are all the hours of service given by faithful, caring friends in our community who serve as volunteers at The Hope Center.

Since 1955, The Hope Center has been a lighthouse to the needy in our community. Whether it was a man addicted to alcohol, a mother in need of clothing for her children, or a family who needs some food assistance, our doors have been open everyday to help those in need without asking a dime from any of our guests…or the tax-payer.

Friends, businesses, churches and other groups in the area have financially supported us from the very beginning allowing us to help so many people without being a burden on the tax payer.

But volunteers help supplement all of our finances by providing hours upon hours of compassion and hard work in many different ways at The Hope Center.

As we celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2015, we had some special events taking place in the community which gave us some new opportunities for volunteers to get involved and make an impact in our city. But many of the areas that volunteers gave so many hours were activities and events that happen on a regular basis at The Hope Center.

In total, we had 719 different volunteers work more than 13,394 hours! That’s incredible! This is exactly why we think that our volunteers are the best!

These volunteers worked throughout the year in one or more of the following areas of service:

  1. Sorting room
  2. Wildside Youth events (www.wildsideyouth.com)
  3. Camp Wild (www.campwildusa.com)
  4. Chapel services
  5. Men’s ministry check-in desk and teaching classes
  6. Off site: baking cakes, making sandwiches, providing food for after chapel (these are on a regular basis)
  7. Outreach: 60th anniversary events (Rock the Run 5K; Party-in-the-Park; Ladies’ Tea; Anniversary banquet); Thanksgiving Day and more.

Our volunteers gave in so many different ways throughout the year. And we’re so thankful for each and every one of them!

But our volunteer opportunities didn’t stop in 2015. We are always looking for volunteers to join the ranks of our volunteer program all the time. We have so many different areas for volunteers to get involved.

In fact, our 2016 Party-in-the-Park will be held on Saturday, October 22 at Wheaton Park in Hagerstown. We are currently looking for volunteers for this fantastic outreach opportunity. This is a great service project for youth groups to get involved with in their own community.  We will need volunteers to help with food, games, music, face and nail painting, crowd control, popcorn machine, cotton candy, set up and tear down, etc.

If you, your family & friends, church group, civic club or more would like to volunteer at our upcoming Party-in-the-Park then give us a call today at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We welcome you to help us reach our city and provide hope for those in need!

For more information about all the various volunteer opportunities at The Hope Center go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

 

Oh, What a Year!

60th-HiResIt’s always amazing how quickly one year can go by. It seems like just yesterday we were finishing plans for our first 60th Anniversary event in the spring.

And now, here we are at the end of 2015 looking back at what a fantastic year of celebration it has been.

In 1955, God called Jim & Ellen Resh to take a leap of faith and move their young family from Cascade, Maryland to downtown Hagerstown to help reach people in need for Christ.

They packed up their family and belongings and started an adventure backed by faith and never looked back.

Now, 60 years later, thousands of lives have been changed thanks to the faith, dedication and hard work of those who have helped keep the vision of hope alive.

We are so thankful for being able to celebrate 60 years of hope in Hagerstown. We are able to do everything that we do without any financial help from the government. Because God has been so faithful by providing for us through the generosity of our community, we’ve been able to help reunite families, mend broken relationships, restore a life destroyed by substance abuse, provide housing for the homeless, give food to the hungry and reach the young generation with the hope of Jesus.

To everyone who has supported us, helped us, prayed with us and worked with us, we want to say a very sincere and genuine, “Thank You”. God has used you to reach people and change lives in a way that none of us will know until we get to Heaven.

These past 60 years are a testament to the people of this community who put others before themselves and share the gifts that God has provided with those in need.

We thank God for the opportunity to be the oldest, continually operational homeless facility in Hagerstown. We’re here to help the least, the last and the lost. We’ve been doing this for 60 years and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

Now as the clocks signify the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, we look forward to partnering with you in the future to continue the battle against homelessness, hunger and hopelessness.

Thank you for making 2015, and the past 60 years, so memorable!

Happy New Year! May God bless you and your family in great ways during 2016!

If you’re interested in stepping back in time once more or want to see some of the exciting things that happened during our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration then go to http://www.hopecenter60.com. Our anniversary website has plenty of pictures, stories and information about The Hope Center and everything that we’ve done in the past 60 years.

Our Block Party Rocked!

On Saturday, May 16th, Walnut Street was the scene of another party for all of our neighbors and friends in Hagerstown!

We hosted a Block Party which was free for anyone in the community. There was plenty to do including a dodge ball tournament, a bounce house, face painting, sports activities, carnival games and plenty of free food!

Anniversary Block (11) Anniversary Block (12) Anniversary Block (18) Anniversary Block (19) Anniversary Block (28) Anniversary Block (29) Anniversary Block (30) Anniversary Block (32)

Anniversary Block (10)Anniversary Block (21)We’re thankful for all of our faithful friends who volunteered their time and energy to help us throw a great party in the streets! We completely and thoroughly appreciate everything our volunteers do for The Hope Center. Our volunteers have been faithfully serving and supporting this ministry for 60 years and we’re thankful for the strong bond we have with the local community who believe in the importance of reaching, helping, caring, and loving the least, the last and the lost in our city.

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The Block Party was just another fantastic event in our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration! Thank you to all who participated and supported this event.

To see more pics from this event go to http://www.hopecenter60.com and click on the ‘Events’ tab. At the bottom of that page you’ll see a gallery full of pictures from our Block Party.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for upcoming 60th Anniversary events in the fall. There’s more to come so go to wwwhopecenter60.com to learn more about our upcoming events.

In addition to celebrating 60 years of hope, our Block Party was also the kick-off event for Camp Wild 2015, our free summer day camp program for kids in Hagerstown and surrounding areas.

Camp Wild is a summer camp program for kids ages 5-12. Kids can attend one of four weeks during July & August for free. From morning until afternoon, the campers partake in tons of various activities like games, interactive Bible lessons, singing & dancing, art projects, lunch and snacks, hay rides, zip line, swimming, adventure lessons, hiking trails, and so much more. Campers are also given free transportation* to our adventure camp! Camp Wild is definitely a highlight of the summer for hundreds of kids in downtown Hagerstown.

To volunteer at The Hope Center, including upcoming 60th Anniversary events and Camp Wild call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about the many ways you can get involved at The Hope Center.

*Camp Wild transportation is free but limited. Complimentary transportation is only available to select areas of the city during select weeks. Check the transportation schedule at http://www.campwildusa.com to see what weeks our vans will be in your part of Hagerstown. If you can provide transportation then you are free to pick the week of your choice but don’t delay, space is limited. Call 301.739.1165 or email info@campwildusa.com immediately.

2015 is a Year of Celebration!

In 1955, God called and a family answered.

Jim & Ellen Resh took a leap of faith and followed God into the dark world of homelessness, alcoholism, and hopelessness in the heart of Hagerstown.

And now, 60 years later, The Hope Center is standing firm and helping thousands of people each year in Hagerstown.

60th-HiResThe Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission is celebrating 60 years of hope this year and it’s going to be a year-long party!

 

We’re hosting events to get everyone in the community involved in our celebration. We have parties lined up, musical shows, dinner concerts, a 5k run/walk, and so much more!

To keep up with all the activities, go to http://www.hopecenter60.com and get familiar with our calendar of events for 2015. You can be a part of the celebration by attending, sponsoring, or volunteering at one or all of our activities.

We’re beyond excited to celebrate all that God has done at The Hope Center in the past 60 years and we’re thrilled to celebrate with you!

You’ve been a part of the impact, now be a part of the party! Check out our 60th Anniversary website, mark your calendars, and spread the word. It’s just not a party without you!

Visit http://www.hopecenter60.com to get the scoop on all the anniversary activities. Also, go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register to run or walk in our 5k in Hagerstown.

To learn about how you can volunteer at The Hope Center, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

2014 Year in Pictures: Part 2

This is the second part of a series of pictures celebrating all the people that God brought into The Hope Center in one way or another in 2014.

We appreciate, love, and value each of our guests, staff, donors, and volunteers so much! Thank you to each and every one of you who have partnered with us in 2014. Thank you for your prayers, financial support, volunteer hours, and all the food and gently used goods donated to help us fight against homelessness, hunger, addiction and hopelessness in the name of Christ.

Thank you for helping to make Hagerstown a better place!

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Congratulations Derek!

We are excited to announce the graduation of Derek from our Foundations Life Recovery program!

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Our Foundations Life Recovery program is a 13 month residential rehabilitation program, based on Biblical principles, for men dealing with various addictions that are destroying them. Our rehabilitation program is not designed to just break addictions or habits, but to also help the man change his heart & mind. It’s not just about putting a new suit on the man, it’s about putting a new man in the suit.

Men in our Foundations Life Recovery program attend many different classes that help them defeat the addictions that have destroyed them. They also attend classes where they learn the value of their life through God’s plan for them. They are given the opportunity to make the changes that will help them leave our program prepared to be a contributing part of society.

When Derek first arrived at The Hope Center, he was just many of the other teens in America: looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong areas.

Derek grew up in the church, taking part in AWANA’s and even attending a Christian school. But Derek’s home life was much different. While Derek’s mother was a Christian, his father was not. He and his dad never really got along, which lead to clashes and Derek’s feeling of insecurity and fear of messing up and not gaining the approval of his father.

Eventually, the issues with his father came to a boiling point and Derek dropped out of church and his Christian school. His life was in a freefall and Derek began wandering aimlessly through life. He moved from group home to group home, institution to institution, just living life without a purpose. His only interests at that time were women and pornography.

Derek arrived at The Hope Center, knowing that he needed a change from his addiction to pornography. Instead of taking this opportunity serious, Derek was actually just hoping to breeze through this program just like the many others he was a part of.

After a while in our Foundations Life Recovery program, Derek realized that he wasn’t able to just do whatever he wanted and get by. He found himself in trouble multiple times, even getting kicked out and put on restrictions.

But God never gave up on Derek, and Derek knew deep down that there was a better life for him. He continued in our program and one day he and God had that moment where it all clicked.

Derek finally hit the point where he was tired of wandering, tired of fighting the truth, and tired of being disciplined. With tears in his eyes he called out, “God, I know you want me to work with kids, so why do I keep falling for this addiction?”

God responded to Derek. He reminded Derek that the reason he is addicted and not able to break free is because “he lost his first love”. God told Derek that he was given a passion to work with children so he could help other kids not “do the same things” he did to find love and acceptance. Derek said God also told him to “be yourself, everyone else is taken”.

This conversation with God was exactly the push Derek needed to finish the program at The Hope Center. Derek began taking his classes seriously. He started attending a church and helping out around The Hope Center. He established accountability with two different area pastors who helped supplement his spiritual instruction at The Hope Center.

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Derek with Pastor Brad Nigh of Hagerstown Christian Church

Derek has achieved a monumental goal in his life: his life has been recovered and he is free from the chains of pornography. On his face he wears one of the biggest, brightest smiles in all of Maryland. That smile is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of Derek’s character and his commitment to following God and living for Him.

As Derek begins a new chapter in his life, he’s excited about the new adventures which are to come. One change that makes him extremely excited: “living on his own for the first time!” Derek is also hoping to volunteer at Wildside Youth Ministries, the youth program for kids at The Hope Center, and other organizations where he can help kids who are heading down the same path he once chose.

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Derek proudly receiving his diploma from Sonny Shank, our Executive Director

In late September we hosted a graduation ceremony to celebrate Derek’s achievement. Residents currently in the Foundations Life Recovery program, staff, volunteers, and people from Derek’s church attended the graduation. Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship.

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We are so proud of Derek and his accomplishment. Our joy is only a small reflection of the celebration that took place in Heaven. Derek is another life changed for God. Instead of becoming another dark statistic, Derek is walking boldly in the light.

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Derek celebrating his graduation with friends and supporters from his church

Please pray for Derek, and the other men in our Foundations Life Recovery program. The decision to clean up their lives is not an easy one, and the devil works overtime to ruin, defeat, and destroy these men. Pray that the men in the program will see the success of Derek and work to conquer the addictions that are separating them from God. And pray for Derek, and the many other graduates, as they embark on a new life of victory. The devil wants nothing more than to see God’s people be destroyed by their weaknesses. Pray that these men find strong spiritual support systems that help them live each day victoriously.

And continue to pray for the staff and volunteers at The Hope Center. The people who serve are on the front line of a very serious spiritual war. They are trying to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of so many. It’s not an easy situation to be in as the devil targets our staff and volunteers.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support of The Hope Center. Because of people like you, Derek was able to have a place to change his life. Your financial support, food and clothing donations, and prayers help to keep our facilities operational all day, every day. From helping addicts with no where to turn, to feeding families, providing shelter for the homeless, and giving kids a safe place to have fun, your support is reaching thousands of people and changing lives. Again we say thank you for partnering with us to help others.

If you’d like to start supporting The Hope Center, call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. You can go to http://www.hagerstownrescue.org and click on the “Give to HRM” tab located in the red box on the left hand side of the page if you’d prefer using your debit/credit card online.

If you’d like to join the ranks of our faithful volunteers, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn about the various ways you can help change lives.