RAPID CITY, S.D. — It was ten years ago when Doug Diehl, a pastor at First United Methodist Church in Rapid City, opened The Hope Center for community members needing the basics – a home.
He says it was the logical choice, since he was already eating with members of the church every Wednesday night.
“We were looking for a use for this building and those two things kinda plodded together when we found that the homeless folks needed a place to go during the day,” Diehl said.
The center was serving around 20 people. Now serving ten times that amount, even after all that time, it’s still about the same message – establishing a deeper connection with those looking for and needing some help, not ignoring them.
“We want to have relationships with people, we want to treat people with respect, we want to hear them and that’s what we’re hearing feedback throughout these last ten years who come here,” Diehl said.
But that mission and goal got more difficult during the pandemic.
What was once not a main feature of the HOPE Center, had to become a staple – food.
“It became one of our main focuses during the pandemic last year and so it’s kind of continued,” Melanie Timm, the Executive Director of The Hope Center. “We’ve tapered off some now that other resources are available in the community.”
And after making it through and still serving during the pandemic, The HOPE Center’s volunteers are coming back more and more.
It even has an eye on expanding in the future but one thing is for sure, this building has stood the test of time and trial.
“We are exploring options of finding a new home for the HOPE Center…nothing is confirmed plan as of yet,” Timm said. “This space has served us well for ten years, but we’ve just really outgrown it.”
And if you need further explanation, it’s all in the name.
“It kinda sums up what we want to give people, we want to give em’ hope,” Diehl said.