Hope on its way to Hagerstown

Hope for Hagerstown is partnering with Convoy of Hope to help those in need

September 20, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Pete Martinez, left, and his supervisor Kevin Waltrip, right, of Weiser Tent Service in Monett, Mo., set up tents all day Thursday preparing for Saturday's Convoy Of Hope at Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

About $1 million in goods and services will be provided Saturday at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown for the annual Convoy of Hope.

Hope for Hagerstown is partnering with Convoy of Hope for the event, which is a community outreach event that helps area residents living below the poverty line, according to one of the organizers.

“There’s a great need within our community, but there’s also a great heart of service within our community,” said Curt Snyder, pastor of LifeHouse Church Bethel and event co-coordinator. “When the need is known, people respond, and in one day, they come out and just serve those who are in need.”

Hagerstown is one of the community outreach stops along the 50-state, $50 million Convoy of Hope tour.

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor show that 20.1 percent of Hagerstown residents live below the poverty line, and the city’s unemployment rate is 10.4 percent, according to a Convoy of Hope news release.


Overall, 46 million Americans currently live in poverty.

At Fairgrounds Park, the event will provide about 40,000 pounds of groceries, activities for children, haircuts, portraits, school supplies, a job fair, prayer time, spiritual guidance, health screenings and dental checks.

More than 100 community organizations, including more than 60 churches, are involved with the event, Snyder said. That includes local businesses, churches, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Snyder said the goal is to provide hope to people in need.

“In our society and in this economy, there is a lot of people who have given up on hope, and we try to offer them hope by giving them a day where they can just step aside from normal life and enjoy all the things that are here,” Snyder said. “We’re also hoping there is life changing that happens out of it.

“This is not just about giving away services to provide physical needs, but also to provide a spiritual need in their life.”

This is the fifth year for Convoy of Hope in Hagerstown, Snyder said. It began when Patrick Grach, founding pastor of LifeHouse Church East, decided to partner with Convoy of Hope to put on the event.

Last year, about 5,600 people attended the event, which was funded in part by $55,000 raised by Hope for Hagerstown through local donations, Snyder said. That is in addition to the contributions from Convoy of Hope.

The first year the event was held, it raised less than $20,000 from local donations and served about 2,600 people, Snyder said.

“Every year, the event has increased by about 1,000 people,” he said. “There is a great sense of cooperation in this.”

The number of volunteers at the event also has increased, Snyder said. In its first year, about 600 people volunteered, and in 2011, that number was up to about 1,700 people.

Volunteers were out Thursday setting up for the event, including Patricia Moore, 53, of Hagerstown, who said events such as Convoy of Hope should be held more often.

“It’s a good idea for the community because everybody can get together,” she said. “I think they should do it twice a year.”

Volunteer Justin Myers, 21, of Hagerstown, said the event shows the support people in the area can receive if they need it.

“The community is trying to give opportunities to people who can’t afford it,” he said. “This gives less fortunate people a chance to come and do things they usually can’t do.

“I really enjoyed working with different people. People can get together to benefit the community.”

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization working to help people in need through international children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing, according to its website at It was founded in 1994 and has served more than 53 million people throughout the world.

If you go 

What: Convoy of Hope community outreach event

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: Fairgrounds Park, 351 N. Cleveland Ave., Hagerstown  

For more information, go to or

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