Video Hope Stories

Written Hope Stories

HopeMatch Cares About The
Overlooked And Forgotten

To the wonderful angels who have made this happen for us…you will never know how touched I am by this display of kindness. This has been by far the hardest year of my life, and I thought I had hidden that somewhat, but apparently someone noticed and realized that if I have ever needed help, that time is NOW. I am blown away by the concept of Hope Match…an organization that targets those who could otherwise be overlooked or forgotten.

I am even more blown away by the fact that someone would so graciously and selflessly give to my son (and me!) in this manner, asking nothing in return other than to share the promise that there is good amidst all of the bad. From my heart to yours, thank you, God bless you, and know that your time, love, and gifts are received into our little family with the utmost appreciation and returned love.

Sincerely, Angela


HopeMatch Speaks Life Into Situations

Dear Hope Match,

A simple “thank you” is just not enough for the tremendous blessings that you shared with our family. In everything we received, we saw God and His love, from the words written in the card, to the fit of the socks, to the Bibles that the boys were so excited to receive. At times we feel so beat down and discouraged, and the words written in the card were just what we needed to feel uplifted and encouraged. We have been through a lot in life, though in the end God always shines through.

You will never know how much you have blessed us in your thoughtfulness. My favorite Bible verse is Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” In the ministry of Hope Match you are living out God’s Great Commission. Thank you so very much for the great blessings that you have shared with us! You have blessed us, our home, and our hearts more than you could ever know!

HopeMatch Focuses On The Real
Meaning Of Christmas

Dear Hope Match, I must say, you all exceeded my expectations. The gifts were very thoughtful. My daughter was sewing (with her new sewing machine) early Christmas morning. And my son immediately started playing with his dog and the chew toys sent to him. The gifts sent to me were great and I have enjoyed the Study bible tremendously. Times were tough for a few months after I had surgery, and with your generosity, my children still had an amazing Christmas.

But beyond the gifts, they were given much more. I told them where the gifts came from and they were shown that there is good in the world. They were shown that people, even strangers, believe in the true meaning of Christmas. As we blew out the candles on Jesus' birthday cake later that day, they knew that we were celebrating our Savior's Birth!! Thank you for the gifts.

More importantly, thank you for giving that example to my children! My daughter even asked if we could sponsor a family next year if we were back on our feet!

Thank you!



HopeMatch Cares About The Whole Family

Dear Sponsor,

I wanted to sincerely thank you for all of the wonderful gifts you so generously and thoughtfully provided for my family. The last few weeks leading up to Christmas I was worrying about being able to afford a couple of gifts for my 2 kids. And then my hours were dropped to part-time at work and I lost my benefits because my son had been sick too much. I was still upset and in shock from that news when my husband called me at work. My heart felt like it jumped out of my chest when he told me someone wanted to buy the kids presents for Christmas. It felt like a miracle.

I went from feeling so sad and alone, to feeling loved, and that someone cared. I was blown away by the incredible gifts you provided for my family. My daughter had been complaining about her feet hurting when we walk. Now she wants to run and play puppy dog. My son has been sleeping with his light saber and trying to figure out how to battle with 6 legs like General Grevious. And I finally have a camera to take pictures of my beautiful children. I couldn't believe you got my husband and I gifts also.

Thank you for all of the beautiful new clothes, the socks, razors, and shaving cream. May God bless you and your family! I hope to be able to brighten someone's Christmas like you did mine, in the near future! I know God has a wonderful future ahead for us. You just helped me to feel it in a rough patch.

Thank you so much!

HopeMatch Cares About The Personalized Details

Dear HopeMatch,

It has taken me way too long to respond to the great kindness you displayed to me during the holiday season. I was very overwhelmed when the young man knocked on my door with such a huge bag of blessings. The light bulbs and ink for my printer were so appreciated. I have used a lot of the small Christian notes. I never saw notes like that. The cleaning pads and toilet brush and kitchen ware are in use right now! I know you took a chance in getting me some music. It was sooo special. I have played those CDs over and over.

What a true blessing you were to me and I don't even know you! Please tell those who made this possible that, yes, you truly lifted my spirits and brought a big smile to my face. I'll be 61 in May and can't keep donating plasma or doing flea markets in the very cold months or the very hot months! The things you and your friends picked out for me were if God Himself gave a custom-made order for me! It was very humbling to receive such a blessing. God bless you and your family. I felt this past Christmas that God has not forgotten me.

I have a new church I am attending, but they did not know me at Christmas time. I truly don't know how I qualified for such blessings? God must have reached down and whispered in someone's ear, "Bless this lady this Christmas." What you did for me will carry me for many months. Every time I use something that was given to me, I think of you all and the young man who showed up with a smile on his face.

May God richly bless all you are doing for folks like me. Great is your reward! Have peace and may you feel His love as I did at Christmas.


HopeMatch Inspires Others To Give Back

Dear HopeMatch,

To the very special person or family that took the time to think of my small, but to me, precious family this Christmas. I'm not sure there are enough words that could express our gratitude! Nathaniel and I enjoyed the thrill and excitement we got while opening each and every gift. I could not have asked for a more special gift than that of your kindness. Our only hope is that one day we will be able to do the same for someone and their family one day. You may wonder why I seem so grateful, it is mostly because I never asked for help this year or any other.

So for many years I have not been presented many gifts during birthdays or Christmas and when I got a call from an affiliate of Hope Match saying there was an abundance of help this year and that someone asked to help out a family in my specific circumstances, it was an honor to accept. All the clothes for me fit perfect and to be honest have been my primary wardrobe ever since...Nathaniel has thoroughly enjoyed every toy except the basketball already. But I am sure you understand why he couldn't use the ball yet with such cold weather right now. But, he is dying to take it outside and try it out!

Again thank you from the bottom of our hearts, God Bless you, your family, and friends hearts! From Nathaniel: Dear Sponsor family, Thank you for the presents. I appreciate the presents and my favorite present was the basketball.

Love, J.P.

UPDATE: This family DID pay their blessing forward the next Christmas by sponsoring another person! We LOVE this!

Nonprofit’s ‘Give Back’ event lets folks who
received assistance a chance to help others

By Joe DePriest
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013

It looked like an ordinary preholiday gift-wrapping session – lots of adults and kids flourishing bright paper and ribbon while Christmas music played.

But Saturday’s event was the first of its kind for the Charlotte nonprofit HopeMatch, which helps the working poor.

Families who received help from the charity last year were wrapping presents for new families getting assistance this year. Called “Give Back,” the event at the Ephesus Center, located at the Ephesus Church on South Mint Street, was created especially for those who have already been touched by the organization’s helping hand.

Ten families came out to wrap presents, and three families later shared personal stories to a group that included HopeMatch volunteers.

“It’s cool to see people have this kind of heart,” said Erin Blackmore, 31, the nonprofit’s founder. “It makes them happy to be able to do something for somebody else.”

A part-time food stamp case manager with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, Blackmore said she works with people who fall between the cracks – not qualifying for assistance because their income is slightly over the limit.

Her husband, Brian, is a banker with Wells Fargo; when he got a Christmas bonus five years years ago, the couple wanted to use it to help specific needy families. But they couldn’t find a charitable organization to make that connection. So the Blackmores found families online, or through contacts at work.

About a year later, in 2010, Erin Blackmore started HopeMatch, which matches donors with specific families who provide wish lists of up to $100 per person.

Blackmore said families are nominated by friends and carefully screened by the nonprofit before they are approved.

Christmas gifts are only part of what HopeMatch does. There’s a back-to-school component that provides school supplies to kids. And throughout the year, there are follow-up programs such as a financial planning program for families who need help with budgeting.

The nonprofit’s website says its theme is “matching local needs with compassionate givers” with a focus on “a hand up, not a hand out.”

Personalized giving

Last year, HopeMatch helped 52 families with the purchase of such things as clothes, household items and toys. This year’s goal is 80 families.

Donors shop for specific families and often receive thank you notes.

Among the volunteers at Saturday’s event were Amy Maldonado, a case manager with Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, her husband, Rady, and their 13-year-old son, R.J.

As people wrapped presents, she said: “It’s fulfilling for them. It puts a smile on their face. It lets them know they are important – that they matter to other people.”

Blackmore saw the Give Back event as a chance for families who’ve gotten help to “pay it forward.”

Vivian and Dan Chaffey of Charlotte came to wrap presents and share the story of how the economic downturn left them struggling to keep a roof over their heads and feed their family.

They were living in East Bay, Calif., where Dan Chaffey and his brother ran a custom homebuilding company.

Things began coming apart in 2008. The homebuilding business froze, and the Chaffeys lost their own home.

About 2 1/2 years ago, they moved to Charlotte.

They found jobs here and there, but it was hard to make ends meet. Last Christmas, they found they couldn’t afford to buy presents for their four children.

That’s when HopeMatch stepped in.

“They made Christmas very special,” said Vivian Chaffey, 50. “They’re very, very personal.”

Things are still tight, but better than last year, she said.

They participated in Give Back as a show of encouragement to others.

“We want to help people get back on their feet,” Chaffey said. “I think it’s a privilege to be here.”

‘Not here to judge’

Also sharing their story were Steve and Anita Gray of Indian Trail. Last year, he was a stay-at-home dad looking after three children and she was a social services manager on unpaid maternity leave. She’s also a doctoral student in health care administration.

At Christmas, the couple felt the financial pinch and couldn’t buy presents for the kids.

A HopeMatch donor helped them over the hard times. Later, a volunteer counseled them in budgeting. They’re still struggling, but they do have a little money in savings now.

The Grays have referred five families to HopeMatch this year.

“We tell them, ‘These people are not here to judge you or look down on you,’” said Steve Gray, 41. “They’re here to help.”

Read the Charlotte Observer Article...

Natural Awakenings

Connecting local needs with compassionate givers
By Lisa Moore

When Erin Blackmore worked as a Food Stamp Case Manager for the Department of Social Services, she witnessed the struggle of the working poor who were just beyond the income limit to receive government assistance but were trying so hard to make life work. Many became discouraged because they could never catch a break and there didn’t seem to be any help in the community that fit their demographic. 

Blackmore realized that they were in need of the power of hope because she felt it encouraged people to keep persevering and believing. Inspired, she founded the non-profit HopeMatch in 2010 as a way to serve and strengthen the working poor. The budding organization serves those who are unseen and underserved with assistance to make a lasting difference in their lives. 

HopeMatch started out providing Christmas gifts for families in need but has organically evolved to include other events such as financial classes, mini room makeovers and personal essentials giveaways. At the annual Swap Shop, families can donate items they don’t need anymore and come back the next day to swap their items for things they do need. The Back to School program matches specific kids’ lists with donors who want to help. 

“We believe families do not just need help at Christmas time, but also throughout the year. If we are able to come alongside these families, we can be part of helping them get out of their situation,” Blackmore noted. 

What sets HopeMatch apart from other local charities is the degree of personalization offered to recipients. Blackmore says her group is not as concerned about numbers as they are about the individual. 

Click to read the rest of the Natural Awakenings article...