Here’s to a Wonderful 2019!

We’re just hours away from not only a new year but a brand new decade! And with this new year comes another chance to celebrate a milestone: 65 years of The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission! We’re so excited to celebrate another year of God’s miraculous work in Hagerstown and surrounding communities. We have some exciting changes in the works and 2020 is the perfect year to kick off a major project that will bless the lives of so many in the decades to come.

But before we jump into 2020,  we want to take the opportunity to thank God for all His continued blessings and faithfulness to this ministry and all the amazing things He did and provided in 2019. Each year He continues to amaze us and reminds us that we aren’t in this fight alone. We are truly blessed to have a God who loves us and cares so deeply for this ministry and the people we help each day of the year.

God shows His faithfulness in many ways but one of those ways is with the continued support of people like you. We want to thank each of you for partnering with us to bring the hope of God’s Word to so many people in many different ways. From our daily soup line, to our overnight homeless shelter, to the men in our rehabilitation/life recovery program, to all the precious children who’ve attended a Wildside Youth event, God has done amazing things in 2019 and each of you have been a part of this story.

We look forward to all the great things that God has planned for 2020 and beyond! As we mentioned, 2020 is a big year as we celebrate 65 years of continued hope for our community. But we do have some big news coming that we’ll be sharing with you in the near future. Until then, please continue to help us as we fight the good fight to bring healing to the broken, food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and love to all of God’s people.

To learn more about our programs and services, how to get involved, how to give, or how you can get help, please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And don’t forget to make plans to join us in April for our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess! We kicked off this race back in 2015 to celebrate our 60th anniversary and here we are still going strong! The 5K is on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. And we’re proud to announce that our Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is once again sponsored by our good friends at Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe in Chambersburg. As you plan your New Year’s parties don’t forget to pick up some of their delicious potato rolls! To learn more about our upcoming 5K please visit http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

So as we bid farewell to 2019, join us as we take a quick look back at all the beautiful faces who were a part of our amazing year. From staff, to guests, to volunteers, these smiling faces are what it’s all about! Thank you for helping us have another miraculous year of hope in Hagerstown!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

“The Best Gravy You’ve Ever Had!”

Another year hosting our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is in the books!

Our annual holiday celebration, which is one of the oldest and longest continually running community Thanksgiving meal in the city, was another success as people from all over the area joined us to volunteer or enjoy the feast as guests.

Our kitchen was busy days before the feast preparing various dishes for the buffet including the roast turkey and our famous (and delicious) stuffing.

But as the sun rose on Thanksgiving our kitchen crew knew exactly what to do: prepare the best Thanksgiving buffet in town!

And they sure did! The feast this year was absolutely delicious. From the amazing stuffing made by Dorcas Black to the “best gravy you’ve ever had” by Diane Ellis, our guests, staff and volunteers sure did have a great spread to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

But before the meal was served , our guests were treated to a great message by Matt Sargent who was the former director of our Foundations Life Recovery program. Matt had a little fun with the crowd by presenting them with a plated preview of the Thanksgiving feast which turned out to be the meal Snoopy served to Charlie Brown. But then he came clean and presented everyone with an actual plate of the delicious food they were about to enjoy. He brought it all together to remind each of us that God has great things for our lives and that we shouldn’t just settle for the “Snoopy meal” of life when God is busy working to provide us with an amazing “Thanksgiving feast” in life.

Once the message was concluded and the meal was prayed over, our guests were eager to hit up the buffet line! Everyone enjoyed all the wonderful food and most had no problem going back for seconds.

We are so thankful for all of our volunteers and staff who helped to make this Thanksgiving successful. There are so many people who work behind the scenes in preparation to the feast, and so many wonderful volunteers who give up their holiday to serve others. We are beyond grateful for everyone who played a role in our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There are many names we’d like to mention – but more on that at a later time.

Our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is a chance for us to celebrate all that we’ve been given throughout the year and to come together to give thanks to God for His continued blessings and faithfulness in our lives and at The Hope Center.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together to collectively give thanks to our great God. But we are always in a spirit of gratitude to God for all He does at The Hope Center throughout the year. From the men in our Foundations Life Recovery program whose lives have been changed and freed from the dangerous addictions and abuses that have caused so much physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, to the families who receive clothing assistance, to the kids who are learning and growing spiritually at Wildside Youth, to being able to provide safe overnight housing to homeless men and feeding thousands of hungry people each year, God continues to wow us with all His blessings and continued faithfulness to this ministry and our call to reach the least, the last, and the lost for Him.

And we can see God at work each and every day because of the faithful and generous people in our community who have partnered with us to keep our doors open for almost 65 years. And not only do we keep our doors open – we don’t charge our neighbors in need a dime to receive services. And even more amazing is that we receive no tax money from the government. Each day operating is a miracle because God continues to send all the right people to help provide all of our needs. And we can’t thank Him enough for each of you.

Each of you are having a profound impact on our community and in individuals lives whether you totally realize it or not. Every time you drop off a bag of clothing, buy a can of coffee, donate financially, volunteer an evening, you are helping to fight the good fight and bring HOPE back to thousands of people.

So thank you for your compassion and dedication to The Hope Center. Each life is precious and we are using the resources that you help to give to remind each person who comes to The Hope Center that they are important, they valuable, and they are loved – by a great God and His incredible people.

This Thanksgiving, and every Thanksgiving, we are so genuinely thankful for you! You’re making a difference. So again, thank you. We hope God blesses you this Christmas season.

 

 

It’s Always a Pleasure When Chick-Fil-A Stops By!

If you’re like us, you love Chick-fil-A. The delicious food, the clean restaurant, the courteous staff, and the Chick-fil-A sauce (yum!), Chick-fil-A is easily one of America’s favorite places to eat on the go. But then Sunday rolls around and you find yourself craving some waffle fries and grilled nuggets after church but you know that won’t happen because Chick-fil-A is closed. Fortunately Monday is less than 24 hours away!

Even though Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, that didn’t stop the crew from Chick-fil-A from serving their delicious food! This past Sunday, October 20th, a team of 12 from the Hagerstown Chick-fil-A stopped by to prepare and serve lunch for our residents and Soup Line guests.

The Chick-fil-A team included Randy Scott, Franchisee, Mary, Marketing Director and Matt, Executive Director of Operations. The leaders along with the other employees brought some delicious Chick-fil-A food to serve. The lunchtime meal from Chick-fil-A included their famous chicken noodle soup served over warm biscuits, pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches, cookies and some of that delicious Chick-fil-A sweet tea!

Not only did they bring the food and prepare it, they also served it! And just like a visit to Chick-fil-A, the crew served the food with a smile and that courteous spirit we all know and love from the restaurant. And once they were finished with both meals served, they stayed to clean up which allowed our kitchen staff to enjoy a day off!

This isn’t the first time that Chick-fil-A has volunteered to provide and serve food to our residents and guests. And we definitely hope it’s not the last time either – not just because the food is a crowd favorite – but because we genuinely enjoy the enthusiastic, fun-loving and especially courteous attitudes of the crew from Chick-fil-A. It was even fun to watch them play the game Head’s Up! as a group before all of our guests arrived. We just really enjoyed having Chick-fil-A volunteer again this year.

Many local businesses, like Chick-fil-A, serve our residents and guests at various times throughout the year. And so many churches volunteer to prepare and serve dinner and many even host our evening chapel as well. If you would like to join Chick-fil-A and the others by volunteering to serve please email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

Each year we serve thousands of men, women, and children free meals. Our kitchen never has a day off. Whether it’s a holiday, inclement weather, or just a regular day of the week, our kitchen is always open and preparing food so that no one in our community is ever without food.

If volunteering isn’t possible but you’d still like to be a part of feeding the community then consider donating food or becoming a monthly financial donor of The Hope Center. By visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com you can learn about all the various programs and services we provide for free for the community and you can also get all the info needed to learn how you can partner with us to make a difference.

Again, we want to thank Chick-fil-A for stopping by and providing such a great meal and atmosphere for our guests! If you’re craving a chicken sandwich and waffle fries then head over to Chick-fil-A on Wesel Blvd in Hagerstown!

One Major Breakdown, Multiple Headaches & Eight Good Samaritans

In May the baler in our Recycling Program broke down and was inoperable for approximately 3 weeks. While the baler was broke down our Recycling Center got backed up with piles of cardboard that we were unable to bale and truck away.

But then God sent a few good Samaritans, or angels even, to help us get back on track. But before we get to that act of kindness, maybe we should get you up to speed on what exactly our Recycling Center does.

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Most of you know all about the various ministries, programs and services at The Hope Center. But one area that many of you might not be as familiar with – or never even knew existed – is our Recycling Center.

Our Recycling Center is open M-F from 9am – 2pm (closed for lunch 11:30-12:30) and Saturday 9am – 11:30am. Our Recycling Center is manned by one of our Foundations Life Recovery program residents who is assigned to the baling room area of our Recycling Center as a part of the work assignment in the rehabilitation program. The program men who work the baling room are trained to operate the baler and also gain certification to operate a forklift.

The job of the Recycling Center attendant is to receive donations of cardboard; break down boxes; fill baler with the flattened cardboard; bale the cardboard and wrap with baling wires; and finally unload and stack the bales. At 33-36 bales we schedule a truck to pick them up.

In addition to recycling cardboard we also recycle old clothing and rags. The process for baling clothing is the same as cardboard. Now, you may be wondering what clothing ends up in the Recycling Center – good question! Any clothing that we are not able to sell in our Thrift Stores or donate to locals or missions agencies is sent to the baling room to be recycled into something new.  While we do recycle clothing and rags, we recycle much more cardboard because we try to find as many uses for clothing as possible before recycling it.

The Recycling Center is an important, but generally invisible, part of our ministry. So the unfortunate break down of our baler caused quite a few headaches.

And that’s when God sent Terry Izer to help! Terry is the Maintenance Service Manager,  Hagerstown Regional Maintenance of the Maryland Department of Public Safety. But he’s also the husband of Aimee, the manager of our Thrift Stores and Sorting Department at The Hope Center.

Terry is basically a jack of all trades and a master of them all! On top of his busy work schedule and his personal hobbies and family life, Terry lends a helping hand around The Hope Center whenever there’s a need. And this time we had a desperate need that Terry was just the man for. Terry gave of his time to volunteer to help repair our baler.

Even though Terry worked his magic and repaired our baler, the backup of cardboard was already an overwhelming job for our one worker. So Terry put the word out to some of his employees that help was needed to bale up the cardboard that had piled up.

After working their 7am – 3pm shift on Thursday, June 6th, six of his men came in to help get the job done! What a huge blessing these men were to The Hope Center!

We want to thank Steve Staley & Andy Koontz, welders who helped repair the baler, Bob Stine, Randy Mills, Mark Thomas, Marty Kending, Matt Reel, and of course, Terry Izer for all their help and their volunteering spirit!

 

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!

New to Hagerstown, BJ’s Restaurant is Making Their Mark in our Community

Earlier this year a new restaurant opened at The Valley Mall and has been the talk of the town – and you can tell by the constant wait times just to dine there.

BJ’s, located at 17318 Valley Mall Rd, has only been opened for a few months but is already making an impact in the community that they serve.

On October 29th, 11 employees from BJ’s in Hagerstown volunteered to serve lunchtime meals to our residents and Soup Line guests as a part of their TASC FORCE (Team Action to Support Communities).

But they didn’t just come to serve the food – they also brought the food. They served our residents and guests food from their own menu at the restaurant and prepared by their own chefs which included salad, pizza, chicken quinoa bowl, grilled chicken alfredo, and chocolate chip cookies! We’re hungry just thinking about all the great food they served!

We had a full house eating lunch that day and we can confidently say that all of our residents and guests enjoyed their lunch from BJ’s! We were so thankful for the crew from BJ’s, not just that they prepared and served lunch, but that they also mingled and interacted with our residents and guests and made their time with us feel like one big family meal.

So we want to say ‘thank you’ to BJ’s for all they did for our residents & guests and we will welcome them back any time they want to help out in the community again!

And if you haven’t been to BJ’s yet then you definitely need to go! If you’ve never heard of BJ’s before then check out http://www.bjsrestaurants.com to see their menu and get business hours.

Our guests and residents can openly attest to their delicious food but in addition to their incredible menu, including everyone’s favorite treat, Pizookie, they also have wonderful, kind employees and are an organization that is committed to giving back to their community and being involved by helping others.

Has BJ’s inspired you or your organization to get involved? If so call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to talk to someone about how you can partner with us to help those in need. You can also learn more about our food services and other community programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.