2017: A Year to Remember

I don’t know about you but it just seems that each year gets a little shorter and goes by a little faster. 2017 is quickly coming to an end but it literally feels like it just started. It’s definitely been one interesting year.

2017 had it’s ups & downs, good times  & bad, high points & low points but with everything going on in our nation and in the world in general, we’ve seen God working and doing things at The Hope Center more than ever. God has been blessing this ministry and He has given us so many wonderful people in the community who have helped us make 2017 one of the best years ever!

From hosting another successful Rock the Run 5K in April, to Camp Wild in the summer, The Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast, and all the other activities in between, it truly has been a great year and we’re thankful to each one of you who volunteered, donated, supported, and prayed for us in 2017.

But we’re excited and looking forward to all the incredible and amazing things God will do in the upcoming year. And once again we will be hosting our Rock the Run 5K in April except we’ve got a pretty big (and fun) twist on it this year! You and your friends & family will definitely want to be a part of that. And along with our 5K we have so many other activities, events, and opportunities for you to get involved in bringing hope to Hagerstown.

And as we’re on the cusp of a brand new year we want to give one final salute to 2017. And there’s no better way to do that than posting pics from all the various things that happened at The Hope Center this year. And if these pics aren’t enough and you just need to see a few more then jump over to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on the ‘More’ tab in the upper tool bar. There you can click on the Year In Pictures gallery. Enjoy the look back at 2017! And Happy New Year!

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)

 

My, My What a Spring It Was!

Summer has officially arrived! We love those long, hazy and hot days of summer. The smell of grilling out, the taste of a cold glass of lemonade and the chance to cool off by taking a dip in the pool are some of the things we like the best about this season. But we also love hosting hundreds of kids each summer at Camp Wild, our free summer day camp for kids in Hagerstown.

But before we kickoff Camp Wild season at The Hope Center, we want to take a moment to look back at Spring 2017.

From our 3rd annual Rock the Run 5k, to Easter celebrations, to Soup Line parties and more, our spring was loaded with activities.

We started celebrating random “National Holidays” with our Soup Line guests. On any given day we would include our guests in a “holiday” of sorts which could include prizes and a themed meal. There’s so much negativity and hurt in the world today so we wanted to have some fun with our guests and bring smiles to their faces as they celebrate such days as Oreo Day, Strawberry Day and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day.

But of all the springtime celebrations, of course nothing can compare to the importance of Easter. And this Easter we had so much going on! We hosted everything from a Wildside Youth party complete with a huge Easter Egg Hunt, to our Auxiliary bake sale, Easter celebration with our staff, residents and guests and an Easter cantata performance by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church with a delicious meal too! Easter is obviously so important to our ministry because it is the basis for the change and hope that we offer at The Hope Center. The power of Christ’s resurrection is what makes all this change possible. So we make sure that our residents and guests understand how important this celebration is to the power of hope.

As soon as Easter was over we were tying our running shoes for our 3rd annual Rock the Run: A Race for Hope presented by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. Each year our race gets better and better as we see so many new faces. But with all the new faces, we’re so thrilled to see so many participants returning to support The Hope Center. From our sponsors, to our volunteers and participants, our race this year was an overwhelming success! And we’ll be hosting it again in April, 2018 so plan to join us. Learn more about the race at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

And just this past weekend the awesome folks at Germantown Church of God hosted our residents for an evening of fellowship and great food! The people at the church have been hosting this picnic for years upon years and it’s an activity that our men genuinely love. We were so thrilled to have some of our staff join our men as we mixed and mingled with the people from Germantown Church of God. In fact, our very own Sue (she’s the voice you hear every time you call The Hope Center) is wife to Mark, the pastor of Germantown Church of God. We’re so thankful that the church continues to provide this evening of relaxation and fellowship for our men.

So as we bid farewell to yet another spring, we excitedly look forward to what God has in store for this summer. Camp Wild is just weeks away and things here are focused on making sure that our campers have another safe, fun and action-packed experience this year. Keep up-to-date on Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating supplies for Camp Wild 2017 then call us at 301.739.1165.

We want to thank each of you who have prayed for us, supported us and volunteered with us thus far in 2017. We couldn’t do all that we do without the loving support of each of you. Your gifts, time and talents do not go unnoticed by our staff or our Heavenly Father. Thank you for caring and sharing and investing so much in the lives of so many! We look forward to all the great things in store for the rest of the year!

If you would like to learn more about all the different ways that The Hope Center is working in our area then go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. Thinking about volunteering? Great! We’ve got the information you need at http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

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

The Mitten Tree

Every year the kids of John Wesley Day Nursery in Hagerstown help to make sure that other kids in Hagerstown stay warm each winter.

mitten-treeThese wonderful kids are happy to collect mittens, gloves, scarves and hats to decorate their “mitten tree”. Once they’ve decorated their tree the kids gladly donate their items to The Hope Center where we hand out the items to kids who come to Wildside Youth events.

We are so thankful to the kids, families and John Wesley Day Nursery for making sure that needy kids in our town have the proper items needed to stay warm.

Thank you Hillary Burns, director of John Wesley Day Nursery, for organizing this donation and teaching children the importance of giving to others during the Christmas season!

If you are looking for a preschool to send your children, take a look at John Wesley Day Nursery in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.johnwesleydaynursery.org or call 301.791.1827 for more information. John Wesley Day Nursery is located 129 N. Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

2014 Year in Pictures: Part 1

2014 has all but come & gone. Each year seems to go faster than the one before. And the end-of-year festivities wouldn’t be complete without a look back at the year that just was.

So the next few days we’re going to post some pictures from all the various events, ministries, and activities that took place at The Hope Center.

You’ll see pictures of volunteers, staff, guests, residents, donors and anyone else who helped to make 2014 another great year in Hagerstown!

And while we’re putting 2014 behind us, we’re so excited for the year that’s coming. 2015 is going to be a big year at The Hope Center as we celebrate 60 years of ministry in Hagerstown!

Very soon we’ll be bringing you some information about all the upcoming 60th Anniversary activities that are happening in 2015 so be sure to keep checking back.

We want to thank everyone who helped to make 2014 such a success. From all of our staff, to volunteers, and donors, we appreciate each one of you and your commitment to this ministry. Thank you so much for your support and prayers in 2014 and we look forward to your continued support in 2015!

And now, we bring you the first series of pictures from 2014.

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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.

 

Happy Retirement, Fran! We’re Gonna Miss You!

As 2013 came to a close, we were saying goodbye to a long time friend & colleague, Fran Williamson, who retired from years of service at The Hope Center.

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Fran was a faithful employee at The Hope Center for 22 years. She started as a receptionist & secretary for Children’s Outreach Ministry. During her time with Children’s Outreach Ministry, she became the facilitator of the Just Kids Bible Club.

The Just Kids Bible Club was a correspondence course for kids ages preschool to high school. Students enrolled in the program would complete lessons in various series. Fran would grade each lesson and send out prizes and other rewards to children in the program.

Fran continued working with the Just Kids Bible Club after Childen’s Outreach Ministry became Wildside Kids (WSK). As WSK grew into Wildside Youth Ministries, Fran became a more visible part of the ministry by helping at after-school events and Camp Wild.

In addition to her work with Wildside Youth, Fran was also the afternoon receptionist in the Administrative Office at The Hope Center.

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Fran will always be considered a part of The Hope Center “family,” and while we’re definitely going to miss her, we’re thankful for her faithful and dedicated service to God and to this ministry, and we wish her the best for the future!

Camp Wild 2013 – Part 2

We’re giving you a brief glimpse of all the fun kids in Hagerstown had this summer at Camp Wild. For more info on Camp Wild or other Wildside Youth programs, please visit www.wildsideyouth.com.

Wildside Youth is proudly sponsored by The Hope Center. If you’d like to volunteer at Wildside activities or any other programs or ministries at The Hope Center then please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

To learn more about the various ministries at The Hope Center, including Wildside Youth, please go to www.hagerstownrescue.org.

Camp Wild 2013 – Part 1

Camp Wild has come & gone. Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of pictures to share so you can relive the adventure of the summer for tons of kids in Hagerstown.

Camp Wild is the summer day camp ministry of Wildside Youth. Wildside Youth is proudly sponsored by The Hope Center.

For nearly 40 years, Camp Wild, formerly Conoco Camp, has been a local, free day camp for kids. This camp provides a fun & safe environment for many inner-city and at-risk kids ages 5-12. While there is plenty of adventure & excitement at Camp Wild, the main focus of each week is to introduce the campers to Jesus and have them learn about His love and their value to Him.

Even though Camp Wild is over for the year, there is still plenty of fun planned from Wildside Youth. Go to www.wildsideyouth.com for more details and information on various activities and programs.

But now, enjoy some pictures from Camp Wild 2013. And keep checking back for more pics from Camp Wild and updates about other activities taking place at The Hope Center!