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“Hope for All” lends helping hand to those in need

12/22/2017, 6 a.m.
“Hope for All,” a nonprofit with a mission to provide basic human necessities to families and individuals without sufficient economic ...
“Hope for All,” a nonprofit with a mission to provide basic human necessities to families and individuals without sufficient economic resources, has served more than 2,000 families in its over 10-year existence. Courtesy Photo

“Hope for All,” a nonprofit with a mission to provide basic human necessities to families and individuals without sufficient economic resources, has served more than 2,000 families in its over 10-year existence.

The nonprofit serving Anne Arundel County, part of Baltimore City and the Appalachian region, has recorded a great response again this year, as both monetary and other donations have poured in.

“The need is the greatest it has ever been,” said Leo Zerhusen, who along with his wife Diane founded the organization.

“In each of our last three fiscal years, we have had a 40 percent increase,” Zerhusen said, noting that the organization started in his home and during the first six years, out of a small 10’ by 12’ office.

Today, Hope for All operates out of a 14,000-square-foot warehouse.

“As a family, we have always believed that we need to give back,” Zerhusen said. “We raised money for the Jerry Lewis telethon for two or three years; we did bike-a-thons for two children; raised funds for Habitat for Humanity and a few other groups.

“The biggest [effect on the couple] was doing a mission trip to Appalachia and seeing the plight of so many American families, especially the children.”

Leo and Diane Zerhusen started by distributing clothing, then toys and games, household linens and then furniture. “We still have outreach missions in Appalachia and we cover all of Anne Arundel County,” he said.

Among the programs offered by the nonprofit is “Turning Houses into Homes,” where they accept community donations to provide their clients a fresh start. They also offer a “Head to Toe” program where the organization provides thousands of Anne Arundel County public school children with well-fitting shoes and essential clothing. A clothing giveaway is also integral to the organization’s mission, according to Zerhusen.

“Hope for All was founded by educators who saw firsthand that students lacking in basic needs do not have an equal opportunity for success,” he said. “New underwear and socks, basic athletic shoes, clothing for all season, and warm winter coats allow children to attend school, ready to learn. An integral part of our mission is our call to serve children,”

Zerhusen added that his organization also works with the Judy Center to serve populations in need.

“Our mission is to assist families, children, homeless, veterans, disabled, elderly and others in a Christian way who are not able to afford the basic necessities,” he said. “Over the years we have clothed over 20,000 individuals. We discriminate against no one for any reason. The exception would be someone involved in major illegal situations.

“Last year we distributed over $440,000 in donated and purchased goods. This year it will be about $550,000.00, if not more.”

Items the organization needs include dressers, end tables, night stands, kitchen tables and chairs, upholstered furniture without pet hair, smoke, stains, rips, tares, fading, or broken parts; small desks, small bookcases, and there is a big need for lamps. No sleep sofas please!

“So many of our families have little if any overhead lighting. We buy all needed beds. We will spend about $60,000 for beds and we collect good pots, pans, dishes, bakeware, kitchen utensils, flatware, small microwaves, toasters, toaster ovens, and good useable vacuum cleaners,” Zerhusen said. “We are always in need of new socks, underwear, and athletic shoes so children can attend P.E. Class. We collect new toiletry, hygiene and cleaning supplies.”

Anyone interested in learning how they can support Hope for All, visit www.hopeforall.us or email: hopeforall72@gmail.com or call 410-766-0372.