By Donna Clark RN, Director
As you read this article H.O.P.E., Inc. will have celebrated 10 years of collaboration with Wicomico Presbyterian Church; providing services to the least, the lost, and the last of our community. This has been a time of reflection over the early years of this ministry. It began at God’s Kitchen around 1997 and still continues there most Saturdays. On Memorial Day weekend 2008 we moved into the basement of Wicomico Presbyterian Church. Thanks to the help of two of our clients who painted the walls, wired the phone and computer lines, and set up the crazy modular desk that had been donated, we were able to open on the following Tuesday.
We started out seeing 8 to 12 people a day on the two days a week we were open. We helped with co-pays for medications and provided health education. Collaborating with about five different agencies we guided the clients to services they needed and we provided emotional support and love to those who just didn’t know where to turn. Homelessness is a scary thing to experience and we tried to be a safe supportive place; allowing the clients to figure out what they had to do to change their situation. Obtaining the documents needed to be employed or housed is difficult but we learned to navigate the system and help those who wanted to change. Donations began to flow in and our services expanded. Grants started to be awarded to us and look where we are now!
We serve between 40-60 different clients each day we are open. Providing food, financial assistance for health related issues, health education, flu vaccines, dental assistance, hygiene supplies, and other basic essentials we have impacted many in our community. We have seen clients go from absolute hopelessness to being housed, employed, and taking care of their health issues. We realized that if we cared about them they would begin to see themselves in a different light and try harder to achieve balance in their lives. What a blessing this has been and we hope that God continues to bless us with the support needed to continue for another 10 years.
1 Corinthians 1: 4-9