About

Possible HARC logoThe Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC) is a coalition of faith communities in the Hagerstown area of Washington County.  Formerly Washington County Council of Churches, HARC has been active in the community since 1946 and has been recognized as a 501c3 non-profit organization since 2001.  While HARC’s partner congregations can differ greatly on theology, all agree on the strength of working together to build a better community, help those in need, and support one another.

HARC/WCCC has a rich history of active involvement in the community.  Through the grace of God, past and recent accomplishments include:

  • Launched and maintained a community Social Help Fund for emergency needs (utilities, rent, etc.).  This fund was eventually turned over to REACH to manage but is still funded partially by HARC.
  • Began an Interfaith Coalition and fostered its growth.  Now a separate entity, the Interfaith Coalition holds monthly programs to encourage dialog, understanding and respect among faith traditions.
  • Sponsors and facilitates participation in CROP Walk, an annual event to raise funds for food pantries.
  • Holds an annual Community Thanksgiving Service celebrating various faith traditions for giving “thanks.”
  • Sponsors and facilitates a mid-day Lenten series and Good Friday cross walk.
  • Recruited churches to sponsor children through Micah’s Backpack  2012-present, resulting in growth of the program from 150 children served to over 725 children served every week in 28 elementary schools in Washington County.  HARC also acts as the financial agent for Micah’s Backpack and has obtained over $60,000 in grants for the program.
  • Partnered to launch the HUB NETwork, weaving our relationships into a safety net of grace for people in need in the community.  This coordination resulted in faith community assistance for over 150 people in crisis in 2013 as well as over $14,000 in savings to churches in the same time period through a warning system for those taking advantage of church generosity.
  • Launched a Community Book Drive in partnership with Hagerstown Rotary Literacy Initiative and the United Way, resulting in collection of over 24,500 children’s books for literacy programs 2012-2014.  Books have been given to over 20 organizations and 16 elementary schools to get them into the hands of at-risk children.
  • Launched one of the first Parent Learning Parties in Washington County in 2012, a proven curriculum to help parents prepare their children to enter school “ready to learn.”  Continue to offer Learning Parties in neighborhood locals using volunteer help from churches and partnering with schools, Head Start, and other early childhood education organizations.  This unique program is expanding in 2015 with at least seven Learning Parties series planned in various locations.
  • Recruited volunteers from the faith community for a new pilot literacy program at Ruth Ann Munroe Primary School in 2012 and 2013 and for summer enrichment activities in 2013 and 2014 in partnership with Washington County Public Schools’ Meal Machine.
  • Publish a weekly news email for sharing of faith community information, news and events
  • Lead a community coordination effort of food pantries and soup kitchens.  Host community meetings several times each year and communicate by email to network, share best practices, seek ways of improving the system and continually update a public list of available food resources.

Mission & Goals

Programs

Community Collaborations