If you follow HOPE on any level – blog posts, social media, emails, etc. – you know that we have our annual fundraising banquet coming up on April 27. This is not just another fundraiser though. This year, it is a celebration of 20 years of HOPE in our community.

I have been told I have the brain of an elephant as I can recall weirdly specific details and dates of events. I like to think this gift comes from my dad who has his PhD in American History – and who can also remember extremely specific details of events.

To some the details are not important, and there is nothing wrong with that. To me, the details are what make the event or occurrence so memorable and important. As I plan fundraising events for HOPE, remembering where we have been and looking to where we are now is what brings each event to life. It is what drives my passion for ensuring that each attendee leaves our events knowing without a doubt who HOPE is and why we exist.

As we plan this year’s banquet, I keep finding myself looking at the details of HOPE’s historical timeline – reflecting on the actions of those who went before us, who listened to God and obeyed Him as they saw a critical need in our community. They put their prayers into action and they worked, many without pay, to ensure that women in Knoxville would have a safe and loving place to turn to when facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Looking through past Board meeting minutes, it is incredibly evident that only the Lord provided where we are today. As Crisis Pregnancy Center of Knoxville and East Tennessee Nurses for Health Education (ETNHE) merged to become Hope Resource Center, funds were raised, buildings were pursued for renting or purchasing, and after multiple rejections or times when it just wasn’t working out, God provided the rocky hill we are sitting on today.

Only God can get the glory for providing a piece of land that is truly solid rock on which to build a functioning building!

Those past Board members and founders – they could have given up. They could have said, “This won’t happen,” or “It’s not meant to be.” Reviewing past minutes, they must have truly relied only on God’s strength and perseverance, because on April 8, 1997, they held their first Board meeting at Hope Resource Center on 2700 Painter Avenue.

Much has changed since the early 90’s when HOPE was just a dream. Directors and Board members have come and gone. Staff members and volunteers have rotated in and out. Services and budgets have increased and wall colors have changed. But one thing remains the same – the need for this place called HOPE to care for women and men who are facing pregnancy or sexual health concerns, who feel scared and alone, who may or may not know God, who just need someone to talk to who will love them.

Whatever changes have been made in the last 20 years, our level of love and care remains constant, because God’s does.

We are indescribably thankful for this community for standing with HOPE these past 20 years. Some of you have been with HOPE since the beginning, some of you just learned about HOPE maybe in the last year or so. No matter the size of your gifts or how long you have been supporting this ministry, we are thankful for your stance for life. YOU are the reason we can continue to love and care for every person who walks through HOPE’s doors.

We hope you will join us on Thursday, April 27 at The Foundry to celebrate the past 20 years and look forward to the future He has in store for HOPE.

posted by Emily Ratliff, Events and Outreach Coordinator, Hope Resource Center