Home / Interviews / HOPEmatch: With Erin Blackmore – An Interview

HOPEmatch: With Erin Blackmore – An Interview

I am so excited to be bringing you this exclusive interview with Erin Blackmore, the founder, and Executive Director of HOPEmatch in 2010. In her role, she oversees the organization’s operations, vision, and mission, ensuring that HOPEmatch continues to make a positive impact in the community. Her dedication to serving others and her faith-driven approach have been instrumental in shaping the organization’s success. As she was led by the LORD and her heart of compassion for those less fortunate and in need. She had a vision and spearheaded the beginning of what grew exponentially over the years, by God’s grace and guidance.

Her organization began as a response to the extreme need, she witnessed while working as a food stamp case manager, with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, in NC.

Personally, I’ve been blessed to have been at the inception of this highly successful non-profit foundation, in the role of a virtual volunteer. I was one of the first few “scribes to have answered Erin’s need of volunteer writers during the Christmas Season. I answered quite readily and have been fortunate to have continued to volunteer each year since. I so enjoy writing cards of encouragement to families and individual who are part of the program. Their stories fill my heart and touch my soul in a profound way. Some of there stories stay with me for a long time afterwards.

Erin’s contagious enthusiasm, compassion and drive, are vital and key components to the overall success in this organization- along with her husband, staff, donations and various other incidentals that she will explain in the interview.

However, the biggest and most efficient and proficient part of her organization is quite simple really – GOD!  And He gets all the glory! He is the Master behind it all and the Creator of all things, to which Erin will admit and acknowledge as she is doing His work so well!

Erin Blackmore is happily married, with an adorable son, and fur baby. Honestly, Erin is an amazing woman of God, and I know that you will admire her and kind heart as you read and learn about HOPEmatch during our interview.

So, without further preamble-let’s get going with the interview of this incredible organization. And learn how you too, might become part of the joy of giving, should you wish to get involved or donate!   Enjoy and God Bless.

CD: Hello Erin, thank you so much for taking time for this interview. I am excited to tell others about you and your non-profit organization. When did you start HOPEmatch, and what inspired you to create it?

EB: I started HOPEmatch in 2010. Working as a Food Stamp Case Manager for the Department of Social Services, I saw first hand how many families were impacted by the economic decline of 2008, tripling my caseload. My job was in eligibility and with the government, there is a hard cut off. If a family makes even a penny more than the limit, they get nothing. I witnessed so many working families who were trying to make ends meet but struggling to stay afloat. There was nowhere to refer these families. I was denying benefits, and I could see they couldn’t afford food. I wanted to create a non-invasive way to give hope to the community and support these families I identified that were falling through the cracks. HOPEmatch became a safety net. We started as a Christmas program, matching families in need with those that wanted to provide gifts and encouragement to each member of the family. Over the last 15 years, it has grown to include a more holistic approach that serves families with the essentials of material needs, emotional needs, and spiritual support.

CD: It is easy to see that God conveyed a powerful message to you Erin in which you were so obedient to His voice. As a result – He has ordered all your steps and the success of the organization. What is the core mission of HOPEmatch?

EB: We provide HOPE for local families who have fallen on hard times. We offer resources focused on strengthening community and providing support with dignity and respect.

CD: That is so needed today, especially in our world and how it stands today. How does HOPEmatch operate?

EB: HOPEmatch operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We value everyone we work with, whether it be vendors, volunteers, donors, and our families we serve. We believe every opportunity within HOPEmatch should be life-giving. With mostly volunteer run support, the organization thrives with a strong sense of community and purpose. Many of the core volunteers received from the organization and now give back their time as a way to offer support. We are so grateful for what each person brings to our mission.

CD:  God Bless the volunteers of your organization and all others. Such an essential part of its mission those involved. As a Christian and woman of faith, how does your faith influence your work at HOPEmatch?

EB: My faith is the reason I started HOPEmatch and why I am still involved to this day. I view God as the “CEO” of the organization and run everything, down to the detail, by Him to make sure we are capturing His heart. We are merely His hands and feet on earth, and I take that very seriously. God has never let me down, even as we have been through some ups and downs over the years. He remains faithful and gives me the strength to keep trusting Him and moving forward.

CD:  And it shows in all your organization does. You are truly all vessels for the LORD and HIs work, so amazing Erin. What biblical principles guide your approach to serving the community through HOPEmatch?

EB: Our core values are fiercely protected at HOPEmatch and encompass many of the biblical principles that guide us in making decisions and creating the atmosphere that ministers God’s heart to others. Some of my favorite values are Respect, Authenticity, Generosity, Intentionality and Prayer.

CD: Nice! How do you balance practical assistance with spiritual encouragement in your work?

EB: Early on with HOPEmatch, God told me that the presents that we give will usher in His Presence into the peoples’ homes. I’ve never forgotten that. We find that when we are able to meet a practical need first, there is more of an open door for spiritual encouragement. We offer prayer at every event we hold and 95% of the people want this type of support. It is never forced, just offered, and received so well.

CD:  Praying and spritual enlightment, so powerful. What challenges have you faced while running HOPEmatch, and how have you overcome them?

EB: The early years were really hard. I never planned to start a non-profit, so I had to learn things the hard way. I think one of the biggest challenges over the years has been having a healthy Board. Most non-profits can struggle in this area, so I took classes and got advice from other Executive Directors. I am so grateful for those people in the beginning that gave sound advice and helped me navigate hard situations. Our Board is so much healthier now and, in a position, to grow the organization.

CD: 
A board can sometimes make or break a non-profit, glad God led you to the right people. Can you share a specific heartwarming story or transformational moment from your experience with HOPEmatch?

EB: Recently we were giving away laundry baskets full of household essentials. Families are so grateful for such practical gifts. We offer prayer at this event we call Pop Up Shop. A dad came to pick up the basket for his family. He wanted prayer and shared with our prayer team that he had been estranged from his mom and was going to visit her soon for the first time in many years. He was nervous and they prayed for him about that. Afterwards he started confessing his sins, including how he didn’t want to be a predator anymore and how he had been in a gang and he wasn’t loving his family like he should. He ended up recommitting his life to Jesus! As he left that day, he looked back at us with tears streaming down his face and said “You guys are the best!” He was touched by Jesus and this makes everything we do worth it.

CD:  Oh my goodness, that is so inspiring! There is nothing like witnessing the commitment of an individual giving their lives over to Christ. Thanks for sharing that with us. What role does gratitude play in your work?

EB: Gratitude is huge at HOPEmatch. We honor the meaningful work that is accomplished by showing our appreciation. Showing appreciation creates a joyful experience where we are glad to be together. For this reason, families are encouraged to write thank you cards to the people who have provided them with gifts. We also believe in intentionally thanking our volunteers and donors in ways that are meaningful to them. When people give of their time and resources, we want to acknowledge that.

CD: That’s beautiful. Showing appreciation to those who are instrumental in the success and infinite growth of the mission is commendable- and I’m positive that all those involved appreciate your acknowledgment.  Is there a particular scripture you’d like to share with those who need encouragement and hope?

EB: HOPEmatch has a “life verse” that we share in regards to the work we do. Our goal is for people to be so overwhelmed with provision in all areas that they praise and thank God. So many times this happens naturally and it is a way that we check whether or not our mission is being accomplished.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15 Now He who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed for sowing [that is, your resources] and increase the harvest of your righteousness [which shows itself in active goodness, kindness, and love].  You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous, and this [generosity, administered] through us is producing thanksgiving to God [from those who benefit].  For the ministry of this service (offering) is not only supplying the needs of the saints (God’s people) but is also overflowing through many expressions of thanksgiving to God.  Because of this act of ministry, [d]they will glorify God for your obedience to the gospel of Christ which you confess, as well as for your generous participation [in this gift] for them and for all [the other believers in need],  and they also long for you while they pray on your behalf, because of the surpassing measure of God’s grace [His undeserved favor, mercy, and blessing which is revealed] in you.  Now thanks be to God for His indescribable gift [which is precious beyond words]!

CD: So beautiful Erin!  What perfect scripture that interlaces with the mission of your organization. What brings you the greatest joy about leading HOPEmatch?

EB: The greatest joy is seeing the light come back on in people’s eyes by being together. It is hard to trust in the world that we live in, but we build trust well at HOPEmatch. The friendships that have been made and the lives that have been eternally impacted are reason enough to keep going. God brings HOPE through us, and it is a joy and privilege to lead such an amazing group of people.

CD: It truly never gets old “giving” and the joy of giving is definitely being a witness to the LORD, that’s a lovely sentiment. In closing, what would you like to say to our audience, especially to those who might be going through tribulations and hard times?

EB: For those going through a hard time, my advice would be to be gentle to yourself. Take time to rest with God and get refreshed. You may not feel like you have the time, but make it a priority. Life is hard and has inevitable ups and downs. Build in rhythms of rest and respite. It is so important to stay connected to our lifeline, Jesus. I am a producer by nature, but I’ve learned in the last few years how important it is to rest and connect and give grace. Everything still gets done and we represent Jesus better when we are reflections of our time spent with Him.

CD: That’s an excellent piece of advice and a great message Erin. Resting in Jesus – so vital to our spiritual growth too. Thank you so much Erin for your time, and what you are doing in the name of Christ. May God continue to bless your company going forward and bring renewed growth and resources to you daily. You are making a huge difference in lives!

 This concludes our interview. Should you wish to be involved, or to find out about how you can help spread the word, volunteer, or donate – or perhaps nominate a family member, or friend, please go on to this link for information.

Giving Hope to Families in Need in Charlotte NC | HopeMatch

 

Erin Blackmore

Erin Blackmore

About C D SWANSON

C D SWANSON is an Author of 22 plus books, freelance writer, contributor to various websites, including The Bottom Line Ministries/Faith News. She's an active member of Faithwriters- and has her online website/ministry for over 15 years. It is her greatest joy to write what’s in her heart, and thus her favorite form of expression is in her devotionals. She and her husband share a deep love of God and dote on their fur baby Mickey. Retired Director from Long Term Healthcare Industry, she continues to be an advocate for many. To check out other writings of this author you can go here:

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4 comments

  1. Jennifer Woodley

    Great interview Camille. Another one that has blessed the reader and I think, been very encouraging to you.

  2. Thank you so much Jennifer!
    This is a great organization, such a blessing to many…Erin has a heart of gold and a true love of the LORD.
    God Bless ~

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