HOPE Missions of the Upstate Annual Report

August 2022 Through July 2023

In the pages of this annual report, you will read how “the Mission” is a place for individuals in times of need. We know the programs and services we provide would not be possible without your generosity. Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference in many lives – and above all, kindness.

Thanks to all of those who supported us by providing meals, serving at the Mission, praying for protection, keeping the lights and heat and air conditioning on, keeping the plumbing functioning, and donating products and money to allow the Mission to operate.

Due to your support, we continue to improve and add services to assist all who come to us. In August of 2022, thanks to a partnership with Anderson Interfaith Ministries, we were able to add a full-time Housing Navigator. Graeme works tirelessly to serve those looking for housing who have often been turned down, have barriers that inhibit housing, or simply don’t have the funds to get started. We also realized we needed someone with expertise to navigate our folks to the benefits to which they are entitled, so this year we hired a Services Navigator as well.  Stephanie makes sure folks understand the formal paperwork they get sent, as well as obtain and organize the information they need.

There is no solution to homelessness that does not involve housing. And there is no solution to housing for those we serve without services. They go hand-in-hand. We are working hard to build a solid foundation that allows people to use the tools in our community on their way to self-sufficiency.  Everyone’s homeless recovery journey is different: sometimes it involves a storage bin at the mission until you have a closet of your own, dozens of showers at Clean Start, 85 breakfasts and take-with-you snacks, Goodwill Job Connections for employment, Alston Wilkes Society for work shoes, and shared housing at The Good Shepherd’s House.

We are all made in the image of God. All are precious in His sight.

We’ve learned that we don’t serve food to people. Rather, we serve people with food, coffee, and services. The order is more than merely grammatical. When we serve people, we take on the mantle Jesus gave us. We are truly loving our neighbors. In so doing, we are planting eternal seeds of hope for a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

We serve over 100 people a day with kindness, coffee, food, and access to bathrooms, all the while removing barriers to employment, social services, benefits, and/or housing.

We absolutely could not have done it without your support.

As we reflect on the months of August 2022 through July 2023, we are humbled to realize some incredible numbers:

  • Unique Individuals Served = 1,066
  • Meals Provided = 25,578
  • Beds Provided = 1,203 (Warming Center operations)
  • Different people navigated to stable housing = 37
  • Different people navigated to services and benefits = 300

Warming Center Operations

This annual report includes our operations from the first of August in 2022 through the end of July in 2023. We chose these dates on this report because HOPE Missions serves as an emergency warming center for anyone needing a safe haven when cold temperatures threaten their safety. This encompasses warming center management across one continuous cold period. During our cold season (November 1st through March 31st), when conditions dictate, we open overnight or very early in the morning. 

For example, we opened the Warming Center on December 23rd at 4:00 am when an arctic blast sent temperatures dropping. We remained open through Christmas Day, with Miss Honey often in place, all the way through the 27th at 10:00 am, for a total of 102 hours of continuous operations and 276 bed spaces to keep people out of the cold. In addition to those staying overnight, we provided services and meals for 135 other people. In these five days, a grand total of 1,150 meals were provided (770 breakfasts plus 380 lunches and dinners), and our friends at Clean Start washed, dried, and folded hundreds of sheets and blankets to support our operations. A last thought we must not forget: The Salvation Army, Anderson’s only full-time emergency shelter, remained open and stayed at capacity throughout this extreme cold event.

We See the Unseen People in our Community

When people ask what we need at HOPE Missions, our first response is people to serve. Yes, we provide a LOT of food, grits, coffee, and water, but what we’re most passionate about is having people experience what we’ve been able to see since the pandemic began way back in 2020. We see the unseen people of our surrounding community. Those who carry burdens few of us could ever bear. All of those we serve were created in the image of God. It’s up to us to show them that they are valued.

Much to the surprise of those who serve for the first time with us, most of our guests offer no complaints.

Instead, they are grateful for a cup of coffee served in a real mug, breakfast, and a friendly place to hang out for a few hours. We exchange stories about family, things that are going well, and things that challenge us. We are becoming friends, as many are already brothers and sisters in Christ. We sing Happy Birthday to folks because we know what day they were born – and provide a beautiful gift wrapped in a mug.

We do use products at the mission, and during this year we learned to describe them as recurring needs and immediate needs. Recurring items are those in demand every day of the year: coffee, grits, sugar, creamer, and oatmeal. We have links to Walmart, Sam’s club, and Amazon wish lists. Immediate needs change with the season as well as our continual improvement of our service areas, inside and out the Mission. We are blessed beyond measure to have friends create for us a Helping HOPE Missions of the Upstate Facebook group. We also had people dance (thank you Carter and Bethany) for us and were honored as receipients of Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner for 2023! Many local churches and groups supported us financially, with volunteers, and lots and lots of breakfasts (grits were often involved).

We received funds and support for furnishing art supplies for our Healthy Healing art therapy class and room, along with stage equipment for music as well as community partners who put on programs like the Faith in Action Puppet Ministry.

Just before the arctic blast, we teamed up with several helping agencies to build 300 backpacks for those in the community we get to serve. Using our check-in system, we ensured that individuals received one backpack each across multiple distribution points (LOT Project, Mercy Center, HOPE Missions). We made VERY nice gifts for those we serve while being good stewards of all we’ve been given.

Most of our guests walk to the mission.  Every first Friday of the month, we partner with individuals and agencies to provide new socks and shoes with lots of walkability left in them (or new). We also provide seasonally appropriate things like warmth items and coats when it’s cold, or flip flops when it’s rainy. Our collaboration with dozens of ministries, organizations and individuals means folks have an opportunity for a delightful breakfast, an invigorating shower, a haircut, and information from community agency representatives who are able to provide tailored service opportunities.

Better spaces? Oh yes! Our food service area, replete with commercial griddle and toaster and an automatic coffee pot with dedicated filtered water are all in the “big room” now. We continue to make services more accessible thanks to a great entry ramp. Also thanks to Davie Tharp Plumbing for creating bathrooms by transforming tight spaces into bathrooms from this century. We’re a few short weeks away from ribbon cutting our modern toilets!!

Our kitchen area now has a level and cleanable floor. We have storage racks and bins installed safely and securely thanks to perseverance and dedicated work from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity – these 60 bins serve as closets for our guests who don’t have one.  Our courtyard now has an awning that stretches from wall to wall, providing protection from rain and sun, a beautiful fence that protects our vital cornhole operations from traffic, and a tremendously lovely and large grillin’ surface that groups for delectables, along with accessible picnic tables designed and built by Mt Tabor’s folks. And a bike rack to secure transportation for our guests!

Our year in financial numbers!

The numbers alone don’t tell the complete story though they are important to tell: financially, we had consistent support which allowed us to provide access to basic needs, housing, jobs, and benefits.

Donations: $165,821

Funding Agencies: $22,341.80

Special Events & other revenue: $14,945

Total Revenue: $203,108

General Expenses: $53,520. This includes our housing navigator’s salary and associated expenses (payroll taxes, legal fees) along with repairs and maintenance to our facility.

Program Service Expenses: $51,954.  This includes expenses for operating the warming center, clothing, food, bus tickets, medicine and support for substance use disorder recovery program fees for those we serve.

Social Services: $10,986.  This includes simple things that allow our guests to get to work or appointments (bus tickets, a tank of gas, shoelaces for workboots, menstrual products, over the counter medications, copays for prescriptions).

Fundraising Expenses: $718 (fees for online donations)

Total Expenses: $117,178

This was all possible by the Grace of God and the hands of many, many servants that showed up to share the love. We can’t thank you enough!!

Thank you to our supporting agencies!

  • Anderson County Council
  • Anderson Interfaith Ministries
  • AnMed Business Services
  • Artisan Fellowship
  • Benevity Fund
  • Beyond Our Walls Ministry Team
  • Boulevard Baptist Church
  • Capstone Community Church
  • Central Presbyterian Church
  • Concord Community Church
  • Electrolux
  • Fidelity Charitable
  • First Baptist Anderson
  • First Presbyterian Church Anderson
  • Flourish Movement
  • Foothills Community Foundation
  • Gambrill Foundation
  • Gannett Foundation
  • Genesis Sunday School Class
  • Gospel Light Church
  • Grace Church
  • Grace Episcopal Church
  • John Wesley United Methodist Church
  • McDougald Funeral Home
  • Mount Tabor Baptist Church
  • Network for Good
  • New Covenant
  • NewSpring Church
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
  • Rejuvenate Church
  • RSH Recycling
  • Same Kind of Different as Me Foundation
  • St John’s United Methodist Church
  • The Benevity Community Impact Fund
  • The Bridge Center Recovery
  • United Way of Anderson County
  • Upstate Senior Network

Thanks to Many Individual Contributors

Many thanks to individual donors for significant financial contributions to the Mission. We are committed to being faithful stewards of the funds we have received as we continue to meet needs in our community. Thank you!

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