On Tuesday afternoon, Bethany Zimmerman was busily spreading the word about Hope-Inspire-Love, a faith-based nonprofit that fights human trafficking and sexual exploitation and provides counseling and mentorship to survivors.
Zimmerman is the director of the organization’s mentorship program. Along with volunteers Marcia Miller and Kathy Horvath, she was staffing a table at the Giving Expo, an event organized by the food distribution nonprofit Blessings of Hope at Spooky Nook Sports.
About 80 organizations took part in the expo, held from 2 to 8 p.m. to raise awareness on Giving Tuesday. Visitors could enjoy free refreshments, vote on their favorite booth and make donations, if they chose.
Blessings of Hope CEO David Lapp served as an online master of ceremonies, interviewing participants in livestreams posted on Blessings of Hope’s Facebook page.
Hope-Inspire-Love works with Blessings of Hope and received an invitation. Their partnership allows Zimmerman’s organization to provide food to program participants in need: “It’s been a huge blessing to us,” she said.
Giving Tuesday tends to emphasize the community donating to nonprofits, Lapp said. Through the expo, he said, “We want to put some focus on what the nonprofits are doing for the community,” then invite the community to be part of their work.
While the majority of the organizations there were faith-based (Blessings of Hope posted the full list with links on its website), all nonprofits were welcome, he said.
Kaitlyn Hill is house coordinator for Home on Ferdinand, a transitional living center operated by Manheim Community Life Group. It can accommodate up to seven families, and has served nearly 70 women and children over the past two years.
Hill said she was there “to learn more about organizations in the area, and also get our name out there.”
Roman Wagner was there on behalf of Men of Iron, where he is the “generosity facilitator.” The organization offers Bible-based mentorship and life coaching for men of all ages, “trying to bring more men to Christ,” he said. It reaches thousands of people in person each year, and hundreds of thousands more through its website.
Blessings of Hope distributes food to hundreds of partner organizations on the East Coast and through a satellite location in Kentucky. Last fall, it bought a former Darrenkamp’s supermarket in Mount Joy Township to convert into a distribution center. It initially hoped to open this past summer, but planning and securing approvals and financing have all taken time; the goal now is to open next year, Lapp said.
Blessings of Hope and its fellow nonprofits are committed to their mission of working with the community, he said: “This event today is just bringing awareness to what we do.”