Hank Rush, President & CEO
One of the most amazing things to witness is how God uses our collective prayers and your generosity to change lives. What’s more amazing is that I have the privilege of being a part of His wonderful work. When people come through our doors homeless and desperate for help, they need a new chance—sometimes a second chance—to build a better life for themselves and their families. That’s what we offer. So I am delighted to share my joy with you, and I am immensely grateful for your commitment as donors, volunteers and community partners. I hope that as you read about the day-to-day happenings and the miracles that are occurring in the lives of our clients, you will believe as I do, that Star of Hope is a place where the promises of God are realized.
As we celebrate our Mothers this Mother’s Day, I am especially excited about the “NEW LIFE” Program which is now open at Star of Hope for new mothers, ages 18-23, who are expecting a baby and seeking a new life! This wonderful new program comes complete with a safe and clean apartment, great food, and a nurturing and supportive program staff to help each young mom through her pregnancy.
Moms will experience some great counseling and developmental coursework to help them find God’s plan for their life, as the Bible tells us so clearly in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” That’s what Star of Hope is all about!
Do you know a young mom between the ages of 18-23 in need of this program? Visit our website to get more details.
To all the mothers reading this update, all of us at Star of Hope would like to wish you a very special and blessed Mother’s Day. And gentlemen, a reminder . . . Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Don’t forget!
Star of Hope GROWS 53% as We Serve the Homeless of Houston!
Now in our second century, Star of Hope is expanding its services to the homeless of Houston! In the 5 years since 2008, Star of Hope has grown by 53% in the number of homeless men, women and children we serve per day.
Our city-wide street homeless numbers vary from year to year, but more homeless families who are not living directly on the streets of Houston are coming to us each year, needing help. There is so much work to be done!
In 2011, 5,856 homeless families were counted in Houston. Over the past 5 years, the rise in needs of homeless families has been without a doubt, the greatest challenge Star of Hope has faced. We are focusing special attention on better ways to serve these families . . . which we call the “Hidden Homeless” - families and single women in crisis with no home of their own, living with friends and relatives, in their cars, campgrounds and motels.
Please continue to help with us through your prayers, your volunteer service, and your financial gifts as we work to reclaim these precious hearts and lives with the message of Christ’s love and educational support to help them have a successful, independent life! After all, this is OUR CITY • OUR HOME • OUR MISSION!
Each year, thousands of folks from every walk of life come to one of Star of Hope's six locations and volunteer their time and talents. They come from around Houston, the United States and even from foreign countries. They do this to serve our guests who are recovering from homelessness and seeking a new life! In so doing, they are fulfilling the Bible's teachings that: "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace..." (I Peter 4:10) and that "by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the Lord Jesus himself who said: 'It is more blessed to give, than to receive'" (Acts 20:35 NIV).
Our volunteers come from local churches, businesses, corporations, universities, public and private schools, other non-profits and individual families. Some conduct donation drives for food, clothing and hygiene items needed by the men, women, and children in Star of Hope's care, and bring those collected items to us. Just last year, 7,500 volunteers donated more than 55,000 hours of their time! This saves Star of Hope the equivalent of 28 full-time paid Staff members, and millions of dollars of supplies needed as we serve 1,100 - 1,200 people per day.
If you are looking for a SPECIAL PLACE to share God's love, and be the "hands and feet of Jesus" to someone who is lost and alone, find a volunteer opportunity at Star of Hope that interests you. Complete the volunteer interest form and plan a time to join us! I guarantee you that your service will not only be a blessing to our guests, but also to you!
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29
These past few Sunday evenings at home we have been watching the “The Bible” TV series on the History Channel. I must say, it has been a profound experience.
Watching the expertly portrayed Biblical accounts of the history of mankind, through the retelling of countless Old and New Testament Biblical passages, has given me a new perspective on our world and man’s relationship with God. The series continues for two more weeks, on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday evenings.
The most powerful moment for me this past Sunday night, and perhaps over the entire series, was when John the Baptist proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” That’s it! That’s the pivot point in ALL of history. Jesus is THE answer to the misery, evil, aggression, abuse and hatred that fills our world today, and has filled our world since man disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, and sin was born into our lives.
Star of Hope celebrates Easter! Because here, we see broken and desperate lives every day, void of God. Thousands come to us who are at rock bottom and literally have no one else to turn to for help. We are their last resort. Their lives are filled with all of life’s worst…the same evils of history we’ve seen displayed so beautifully through “The Bible” series, and that we see today in our own country and throughout our world. Yet at Star of Hope every day, we can say: “Behold the Lamb of God” and then see the love of Jesus light up those lives, one by one, and redeem and heal and bring them back to life!
Thank you Heavenly Father for giving us your Son, and thank you Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for me…for each one who reads this blog…and for each homeless person or family who finds their way here to Star of Hope. Jesus is the Star, for the homeless and for all of us!
As we experience this Holy Week that is ahead, let’s truly walk it in reverence and introspection, then celebrate the NEW LIFE we have in Christ’s gift to us and to the world...as we behold Him!
In my last blog entry, I shared a modern day video of Jesus' parable of The Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37 with you. Over 3,000 have watched this moving video in just the past 10 days. If you've missed seeing it, watch it now.
Today, I would like tell you about Irene, because her story reminds me of how you and I as modern day "Good Samaritans" helped her find new life from her time of despair! An ongoing sickness robbed Irene of her health and security, and she subsequently lost her job. She lost everything, and felt hopeless and alone. She literally had no one to turn to for help.
Like the man in the parable who was left battered and broken on the side of the road by robbers, Irene was helpless and alone. But together, we were there, and Irene's needs were met! Today, she is back on her feet and she is so grateful, thanks to the services she received at the Star of Hope.
Irene wants to say "Thank You!" for your help.
You can also visit our website to read more about Irene.
Join OUR MISSION today and help end homelessness in Houston, one individual, one family at a time!
The annual Star of Hope banquet blessed many tremendously. And, it made me realize all over again, how important our work is together!
Almost 2,000 of us gathered once again the evening of February 8, for an inspiring and informative time together as we focused on the homeless men, women and children of Houston. And, we dedicated the evening to ending their homelessness!
Star of Hope works to end homelessness, one individual, one family at a time, by helping those who come our way through their crisis and onward toward successful, independent living once again. That is Our Mission.
During the evening, I shared “The Good Samaritan” parable with those gathered, found in the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37. This is a powerful scripture where Jesus describes how we are to help the least and lost in our community.
Take a look at this powerful video we shared at the banquet. And be a “Good Samaritan” TODAY, with all of us at Star of Hope. . .through your financial gifts or volunteer time!
Each February, thousands of Houstonians gather for dinner and an evening of inspiration and education, in support of the homeless of our city. It’s the Star of Hope Annual Banquet, and it’s next Friday, February 8th at 7pm in the Lanier Ballroom at the Hilton Americas downtown. If you aren’t already planning to attend, we’d love for you to join us! Seating is limited, so register today.
As a quick preview, we will be celebrating “Everything You Do” in serving Houston’s homeless men, women and families… and how together our community makes a significant impact in helping those in great need put their lives back together after experiencing homelessness. You’ll learn more about all the exciting ministries of the Star of Hope, which has been serving Houston’s homeless since 1907. And you’ll be treated to a great meal, powerful testimonies from Clients of Star of Hope and a special musical performance by Steven Curtis Chapman. You’ll be amazed at how much our community is doing together for our neighbors in great need.
Over the past 5 years Star of Hope has grown in the number of people we serve each day by 53%. Now, we serve 1,150 men, women and children daily. You’ve made this possible by your financial gifts, volunteer service with us, donations drives and participation in special events.
Thank you for being a part of serving our neighbors in need! And if you’re able, come and celebrate with us next Friday night.
The New Year is HERE! And as we look at this world, we see uncertain times all around us. Nation against nation, people against people, division among Americans, government financial crises from the European Union to our own Washington, D.C., violence in our society, unemployment for many…and on and on it goes.
But here at Star of Hope, God’s miracles are abounding in the hearts and lives of so many in our community today! Decisions to follow Christ are at amazing levels, families are being reunited, and freedom from addictions of every kind is achieved daily. What an amazing year 2012 was for Star of Hope, with rich blessings from our Lord in every area of our ministry together.
As we face 2013, the only One we can turn to with our full trust and confidence is God. As we enter this new year, let’s all pray earnestly for God to forgive our sins, heal our land and use us in a powerful way here at Star of Hope, to see an end to homelessness for many in our community in 2013. And let’s ask Him to make this a year where the results of His great work are profound!
Proverbs 3:5-6, one of my lifetime favorites, tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Let’s claim this scripture daily in 2013, rest in the knowledge that He has directed us to help those in need, and be confident that He will use us to accomplish His purposes!
Blessings to you and your family in 2013. Please keep all of us at Star of Hope in your prayers. And, we want to celebrate in person with YOU! Join us on Friday, February 8, 2013 for our Annual Banquet: Everything You Do!
Today is Christmas Eve. . .such a special day to all of us! It’s the day when over 2,000 years ago, Mary and Joseph found themselves with no place to go. . .away from home and no one who could help them through the night. So this day has special significance here at Star of Hope, as we care for over a thousand men, women and children here in Houston who also have no place else to lay their heads tonight.
Just as on that first Christmas Eve, when the despair of the evening brought amazing joy and HOPE for all the world, through the birth of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, tonight Star of Hope’s facilities all around Houston will be filled with joy and the peace that only God can give. Pray with us that those here tonight will feel God’s presence in their crisis, and will choose to start a new life. . .the life that God has planned for them!
Thank you for your partnership with Star of Hope in providing for these "least and lost" in our community, and we pray God’s peace and hope are yours tonight!
Last night we at Star of Hope experienced an amazing Christmas miracle... a Christmas Tree Lighting Service with several hundred homeless parents and their kids together... children joyfully singing. It was just wonderful!
The miracle is that just a few short months ago, these families were in despair, with no place to go and no hope for their future. That is a terrible place to be in life. But last night, the Christmas Miracle...the HOPE that is ours in Christ was apparent all around! And it’s all because of you that these families have the support and services they need to put their lives back together.
Thank you for helping us financially and for your prayers and volunteer hours. Because of you these families have HOPE once again. And we will work diligently while they are in our care to help them find all that God has planned for them in the future.
Give a Christmas Miracle of your own right now, and help change a life forever!
Thanksgiving is one of the happiest days of the year at Star of Hope . . . all because of friends like you. I wish you could see the happy faces, people laughing, genuine gratitude . . .a time to forget the past and focus on God’s blessing today!
With your compassionate and generous gifts, Star of Hope will be filled with hope and thankfulness today and through this Thanksgiving weekend. And we are so grateful to you for it! Did you know that 98% of Star of Hope’s financial support comes from folks just like you? Star of Hope is truly here because Houstonians want it to be. . .it’s a Houston tradition and such a wonderful expression of the generous heart of our great city! And you can rest assured, Star of Hope is working hard to serve more people every day in our community who need a second chance and a new hope in Christ in their lives.
We are setting a place at our Thanksgiving tables for well over a thousand homeless men, women and their children this Thanksgiving. . .all who are struggling with life in the deepest ways. Because of you, these precious lives and hearts will be touched deeply!
This time of year we all reflect on our past year, our losses, and our regrets. . .so Thanksgiving comes at the perfect time to remind us of all that God has given us, and His great promises for all who call upon His name and diligently seek Him! That’s why a great meal, a time of worship and loving hearts all around bring such hope, as we focus on God’s goodness and love for us all. You see, homeless folks are really just like you and me. . .in need of hope and encouragement. We all need to remember Jesus’ promise found in John 10:10, where he tells us: “I have come, that you may have life, and have it more abundantly!”
Thank you again, and I pray that you enjoy good food and fun moments with your own family and friends, as you remember your blessings and thank God for all he has done.
There are only ten more days until Thanksgiving and I wish you could see how hard our staff is working! We’re having another year of record needs, and preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are already in high gear.
Why does our staff work so diligently? Because THEY KNOW how important it is for EVERY person at Star of Hope this holiday season to see — through a special meal in a caring environment — how much they are loved.
You know yourself, that Thanksgiving can be a lonely time as we miss lost loved ones. That is even more extreme for homeless individuals and families who have no place else to go. The loneliness and regret sets in so deeply for so many. But Star of Hope will be “their family” this holiday season, thanks to you, as our community comes together to lift lives.
It’s amazing that so many people like you join in to feed and care for our neighbors in need. Our Lord must smile down from Heaven, thinking. . .I love Houston’s compassion for the poor and needy. . .that’s what I gave my life for! Thank you for your great compassion. With your continuing support, homeless men, women and families will find the life-changing care they need at Star of Hope, during the holidays and beyond!
Also, don’t forget about the KSBJ, NGENradio and Kroger Fill the Freezer Food Drive for Star of Hope on November 20, 2012. Get the details now!
Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!
This October, we are already seeing the same higher demand for emergency services that we typically see during the colder months of December and January. Even though the temperatures are mild, Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter is peaking at record levels. Just this last week alone we’ve seen between 110-119 women and children sleeping on floor mats at the shelter because all of the rooms are full… every single night. Today, we have 80 children under age 3 with their families in our care!
This is my 5th Thanksgiving with Star of Hope, and even with larger crowds each of the prior four years, I've never seen anything like this before. There is clearly a great need among families at risk and in crisis in Our City!
The holidays are quickly approaching and we need your help. Thankfully, many of our onsite volunteer opportunities are booked through the end of the year, but we need your financial help to cover the extra staff and food costs required during this unprecedented peak period.
Please join us today through a generous financial gift. You can make this a Thanksgiving of Hope and new life for someone who has none!
Thank you, and blessings to you at Thanksgiving!
We are excited to announce Star of Hope’s New Haven program for single women diagnosed with mental illnesses. Partnering with New Hope Housing, mental health professionals and with a housing and services grant from HUD, we began a long term living program this past May to serve in this critical area of need.
Nine women are already living in the first location for New Haven. Another eleven women are ready to transition into their new homes during October. We are so excited about the success we are seeing so far, we are expanding to a second location and will grow to 40 residents by the end of this year.
Read our Program Director’s update on this exciting new program. New Haven is a great collaboration and offers a new, independent life for homeless women in our city. Houston is our city. . .our home. And Star of Hope is working every day on new and innovative ways to serve the homeless of our community.
We are grateful for your support as we all work to help those who are homeless and in despair in our community to find a better life!
Every day, Star of Hope reaches out and serves Houston’s homeless men, women and children in love and compassion. We are serving the most basic needs imaginable . . . a safe place to stay, a bath, clean clothes, a meal -- a caring heart open to share the trauma and show the way to a brighter tomorrow. It’s real, it matters and It’s life changing!
Read and enjoy this "guest blog" from Brooke Candelaria, who has made Star of Hope part of her mission to help the homeless and hurting in our city. She’s one of the tens of thousands of Houstonians who care and help in so many ways, through the Star of Hope family of ministries around Houston.
I hope you enjoy reading Brooke’s special story. And remember, without your help and financial support, none of this would be possible! Star of Hope serves today, as it has for more than 105 years. . . thanks to you!
We would love to hear YOUR story. Share why you personally support Star of Hope through volunteerism and giving as one of our GUEST BLOGGERS.
It’s always an exciting day at Star of Hope when the children return from Camp Good News. Through your generous support, we were able to send 119 school aged kids to camp this past week, where they experienced in a fun setting something of a normal childhood.
These kids are living with their families here at Star of Hope while their families are recovering from homelessness. Our hearts especially go out to the kids, who are the true victims of homelessness, as they often fall behind in school due to moving so much, or even worse, are neglected or abused through it all.
Thank you for your support of our children’s ministry around the city at Star of Hope! Through you, God is able to show them good and happy life experiences. Even more importantly, they are able to feel His love and learn about the plans He has for their lives.
There are lots of ways you can help…
One of the questions I hear over and over from folks in our community is this: "How can I help the homeless?” When we see someone on a street corner begging for money, or hear about someone struggling to pay their bills and about to lose their housing, we feel compelled to help. Yet we almost immediately feel helpless as to what’s the best thing to do.
When I hear this question, here’s my response. The streets of Houston are not a safe place for ANYONE to live. The best thing you can do is to encourage the person to come to one of Star of Hope’s emergency centers to get help. Visit our website for addresses, phone numbers and maps for Men’s Development Center and Women & Family Emergency Shelter locations. You can also get specific help by calling Star of Hope at 713-748-0700 or by sending a request through our website.
In the first six months of this year, the demand for our emergency services at Star of Hope has RISEN 33% from 2011…and this is the fourth year in a row we have seen increases. There is clearly great need in our city! Annual surveys are done each January to do a “one time count” of individuals observed to be homeless on a particular night, and these numbers fluctuate year to year. In addition to those counted on the streets, we see hundreds of others come to us from marginal or dangerous housing situations seeking emergency shelter and help every day. We call these the “hidden homeless.”
The good news is that Star of Hope is here to provide, thanks to you! And we don’t turn anyone away who comes desiring our help. More good news…once they are here, they can engage in life recovery and skills building programs designed to help them find a new hope in living and new abilities to live a successful life as a productive member of our community.
But we need your help today to serve the large and growing numbers who are coming! You can donate now…financially if you are able, or by conducting your own donations drive and then delivering to Star of Hope.
Just look at what these special young people have done just recently to help the homeless of our city.
If you’re interested in conducting your own drive, please learn about all the types of items we need as donations or explore other volunteer opportunities with Star of Hope.
So no need to wonder about how to help, just check out these resources and come join us as we serve!
Do you remember your high school years...and the dreams you dreamed for your future? Would you become a doctor, or teacher, or scientist, or run your own business? Could you possibly attend college after you graduated?
High school is such a great time to dream big, powerful dreams of what we want for our future. And yet for teens who are part of a family which experiences homelessness, the despair and hopelessness...not to mention the embarrassment, are profound.
Read this poignant and powerful story of the journey of two teens whose families have been served by Star of Hope Mission, from this past Sunday’s Houston Chronicle.
This week, Star of Hope is celebrating with 9 teens who have just graduated from high school, and are attending college this fall! Their dreams are coming true, thanks to your help. If you’d like to join in by giving to our youth programs, please DONATE NOW.
We are so excited to see these young people recover from their family’s problems, dream their own dreams, and reach for a great future!
Once homeless at the age of 6, Daronica is now pursuing a Masters Degree!
As Star of Hope works with families experiencing homelessness, we pay special attention to the children. They are the true victims in all their family is going through, and many times fall behind quickly in school. But with support and help while at the Star of Hope, more children of homeless families are catching up academically, dreaming their own dreams, and becoming successful, independent citizens in our community.
We had a very special guest at Star of Hope recently, who came to visit us 15 years after her family’s bout with homelessness. When Daronica was six, her family came to Star of Hope. Her mom was addicted to drugs and found the resources she needed for a fresh start in life. “Before, my mom was never around,” Daronica, now age 23, remembers. “She would just leave, and my brothers would have to take care of me.”
At Star of Hope things began to change. “It was a good experience for me and my sisters and brothers,” Daronica says. In addition to food, shelter and clothing, Star of Hope helps the children of homeless families with their own special needs. School age kids are in uniforms and back in school within just a couple of days, after school tutors help them catch up on their studies, some 1 or 2 years behind in grade level, and student ministries encourage them to find a faith in Christ and seek God’s perfect plan for their life.
Daronica says that the staff and volunteers also made a big impact on her life. Today, Daronica is pursuing a master’s degree in early childhood education. Because of the help she was given while at Star of Hope as a child, she continues to volunteer and invest in the lives of children.
Recently, Daronica shared some of her story on Star of Hope's a Guest Blog, Helping Houston's Homeless. Read My Background Is Not An Excuse To Give Up!
Your generous gifts and prayers help hundreds of children in our care today, like Daronica, to break the cycle and become all that God wants them to be. Thank you for your help and support as we invest in the lives of these beautiful creations God has made. We are grateful for friends like you!
As we celebrate together this July 4th we can also remember and help the thousands of Houstonians, many of them veterans, who are struggling with homelessness.
Last week, Star of Hope was featured on a number of Clear Channel and Cox Radio stations. They talked about summertime for Houston’s homeless and the perils the heat brings to them. A friend of mine stopped by our home for something, and said, “Hey, I heard your interview on KTRH 740AM, and really learned a lot about how challenging the summer is for the homeless of Houston. I really hadn’t thought about it before.” We proceeded to talk for 20 minutes or so, about how individuals and families come in crisis day and night, seeking respite from the heat and needing help, and how challenging summer time is for them.
This week, while we’re busy grilling and enjoying the 4th of July and celebrating with friends & family, thousands in our city will be struggling just to find a few dollars for something to eat, for a safe and cool place to sleep, and for help to get back on track in life.
You can help turn despair into Hope by joining the Houston Area Toyota Dealers, who are generously offering a DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR MATCH of any gift given to Star of Hope, up to $15,000! Make a generous gift right now, and say a prayer for the lives your gift will touch with safe shelter, food, clothing, and help in their crisis!
Blessings to you and yours.