Putting God’s love into action by enhancing dignity and hope as we build bridges out of poverty.
The HOPE Center was established in 2010 as an outreach project of First United Methodist Church in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. Initial planning for the project was driven by an expressed need of those living in poverty and/or without homes, neighborhood churches and businesses, and other non-profit agencies to have a day center in Rapid City that would be able to provide basic day services in the downtown area. The HOPE Center is modeled after the St. Francis Center in Denver, Colorado.
The HOPE Center concept initially began as the First United Methodist Church became increasingly involved with community agencies that serve those living in poverty and those without homes. Through relationships built with the people served and staff of these various agencies, it became important and apparent that the church become part of this support in substantial, long-term ways by offering a ministry aimed at serving those living in poverty and filling any gaps in services. Gaps in services for people without homes were determined through many meetings with local agency directors and it was suggested that a team visit the St. Francis Center in Denver, Colorado to gather ideas for a potential day center in Rapid City. After this visit, it became clear that a day center was an essential and unduplicated need for the community of Rapid City and the church wanted to help meet this need. The church began pursuing funding options and formed a committee to begin creating the HOPE Center. The HOPE Center was able to open in a full-time capacity in 2011. In July 2014, the HOPE Center gained 501(c)3 status.
The HOPE Center is a drop-in day center which offers unduplicated, unique, and crucial services in the community for those living in poverty and without homes. The primary objective of the HOPE Center is to establish relationships with the disadvantaged in our community, provide an environment of respect and encouragement, and to be a constant in the lives of those who often times lack stability and consistency. The services offered by the HOPE Center include a mail center, a telephone/messaging center, and a storage facility for short and long term storage, as well as important documents. The HOPE Center offers daily devotion/prayer time and a weekly bible study, plus weekly classes that include a sewing class, an Alcoholics Anonymous group, and a beading and arts and crafts class. The HOPE Center offers advocacy opportunities by walk-in or appointment with staff and Lifelong Learning classes two times per week. We also provide a mentoring program for people living in poverty, a salon offering free haircuts, and a free laundry facility in the building. The HOPE Center aims to be a trusted source of support by being a safe and stable environment for guests, as well as by filling gaps in services to those in the community who are living in poverty and without homes.