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Dwelling In The Shelter

Marilyn FountainMarilyn Fountain
As Director of Community Relations at Star of Hope, I have the unique privilege of being part of the dichotomy that exists for the hundreds of homeless men, women, and children who dwell in our shelters. Every day, as I work on their behalf, I see the hurt and devastation that comes with the losses they’ve experienced. But, on the other hand, I get to link arms with people in the community – people from all walks of life – who give of themselves and their treasure, in support of our ministry.

It is their generosity that makes it possible for Star of Hope to offer the services that help clients regroup and focus on rebuilding their lives. Without a doubt, I am blessed to be here and immensely grateful that the Lord saw fit to bring me across the country, all the way from Pennsylvania, to this Mission, for this privilege, and this purpose.

Come Fill the Freezer for Star of Hope

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
by Marilyn Fountain

The temperature may be dropping but not our hopes for filling the freezer at the new Star of Hope Donation and Distribution Center. In fact, we could not be more excited about our up-coming event with partners KSBJ, NGEN Radio and Kroger. With their help, we are planning to pack the freezer with 20,000 pounds of frozen food.

If that sounds like a lot of groceries, then check this out. We serve 23,000 meals every week to homeless men, women and children. And with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays upon us, we need every single pound.

So here’s a shout-out of thanks to KSBJ, NGEN Radio and Kroger for joining us in the cause. And to you, our amazingly generous friends and supporters, a plea to pick up an extra bag or two of frozen vegetables or fruit---even an extra turkey or ham, when you do your holiday shopping at Kroger, and donate it to Star of Hope.

The big Fill the Freezer event will be held on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. We will be accepting donations at two Kroger locations:

  • In Sugar Land, at 4825 Sweetwater Blvd.(77479)
  • In Cypress, 17455 Spring Cypress (77429).

This is a win/win deal, because when you give to us, KSBJ and NGEN Radio will give a gift to you.

Don’t leave us in the cold! Come out to these Kroger stores and help us Fill the Freezer!

Homeless Shelters Houston
Star of Hope Mission

I Will Never Forget

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
by Marilyn Fountain

A funny thing happened as I was walking down the steps of the Hope Center, Star of Hope’s Administrative Office. I was headed for some quiet, out-of-the-way spot, where I could sit outdoors, eat my lunch and absorb the remnants of spring, before the pleasant breezes morphed into yet another long, hot summer. Out of nowhere, or so it seemed, a voice spoke to me saying, “Miss, how long have to been here?” I turned to see a woman walking up the ramp alongside the building, nearly hidden from view by the fragrant gardenia bushes blossoming by the railing that borders the ramp. I stopped. Having never seen her before, I responded, cautiously: “Why are you asking?”

That was the beginning of an amazing story that reflected the heart, soul and Mission of Star of Hope, through the eyes of one who had lived at the Star of Hope Transitional Living Center and experienced its transforming ministry.

Her name is Angela. In truth, Angela was not always seeking personal transformation. She had become comfortable with turning a blind eye to the disreputable goings-on in her household. Desperation was the foot in her back that finally pushed her out of complacency, following the arrest and imprisonment of her live-in companion who was charged with drug trafficking.

“I was never a part of the drugs,” said Angela. “I knew it was wrong, but I loved him. I still love him. But when he was arrested, I started to think about my life and what I wanted for my three children. I wanted something better for them. So I called the Star of Hope and asked if I could be accepted into the Transitional Living Center program. I needed to start all over again; and I needed skills to help me find a job so that I could provide for my children in a proper way. I wanted to be a better example. I was so surprised when I was accepted!"

The surprise was evident as she stood on the steps of the Hope Center, telling her story. Star of Hope had been her place of re-birth. Now she was back to say thank you to the people who loved her through her metamorphosis. I lost count of the number of times she repeated herself saying, "Thank you. “She was the most exuberantly grateful woman I have ever met. Every syllable that passed her lips had joy infused all through it. She was bubbling over with excitement about how her life was completely changed, because of Star of Hope, and that she would be eternally thankful for the time she spent in the TLC program.

“I was determined to master the program and I did,” she said. “I did everything I was told to do—I mean, I worked hard, and it paid off. I learned so much. And my children loved being there. The staff was always there for us and they never judged me. They just helped me. I remember the day I was leaving—I had a job at the Veteran’s Administration, where I still work, and a nice apartment. One of the case managers wanted to give me some things to help me get started. I told her, 'No. I can’t take them. You have already done so much for me and my family.'”

“I thank God every day for Star of Hope,” she concluded. And walking away, she waved goodbye and said, “I will never forget. Please tell everyone that I said thank you.”
 

Family Shelter and Programs Houston
Star of Hope Mission

Haute for Hope - Annual Celebrity Fashion Show

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
by Marilyn Fountain

The catwalk was sizzling with the hottest spring fashions modeled by our city’s most prominent news and broadcast personalities, Friday, May 11th, at the River Oaks Country Club. There were media notables from Channels 2, 11, 13, 26 and 39, as well as from radio stations at ClearChannel, and KSBJ. And from the world of print: the Chronicle, Culture Map and Paper City.

The show marked the 14th year of raising funds for the children at Star of Hope, and the occasion for honoring the Junior League of Houston. It was a truly, wonderful event. The turnout was not just enthusiastic, it was wall-to-wall.

Deborah Duncan at Star of Hope's Haute for Hope Fashion Show

Whether you were a fashion bug or not, you had to love this show, because it was cool, classy, and lots of fun. How could it not be fun with Greg Hurst and Dana Tyson on the mikes ribbing their media colleagues as they hit the runway, high-stepping it back and forth, sporting everything from dapper to dazzling?

Chairing the event were best friends DeeDee Marsh and Kelli Weinzierl. Proceeds benefited the Star of Hope Children’s Critical Care Fund.

Ways to Give Houston
Star of Hope Mission

A Night With Friends

Friday, February 10, 2012
by Marilyn Fountain
When Michael W. Smith sits down at the piano, as he did at the recent 2012 Star of Hope Banquet - Above All, you get more than a great performance; you get the feeling that you are in the company of a gentleman and a friend.

Michael W. Smith at Star of Hope Banquet

That said, on the evening of February 2nd, the Lanier Ballroom at the Hilton Americas was transformed into a glorious sanctuary where the theme of the program: Above All --taken from Michael’s 2002 Inspirational Song of the Year, of the same title-- set the tone for an incomparable night of ministry, worship, and reverence for the One Who makes all things possible. Michael’s deft touch on the Grand Yamaha and repertoire of songs both remembered and new were a perfect fit with the program and lifted the spirit of the evening to heavenly heights. In a room lit with fiber-optic stars peeking through a midnight backdrop, and with more than 2,000 Star of Hope donors, volunteers and first-timers in attendance, you could almost hear the heart of God beating with joy, for such a time as this.

It was not just a night to be enjoyed—though it was enjoyable from beginning to end. It was our moment of expressed gratitude to our many supporters, our faithful friends, who link arms with us throughout the year, helping us to care for the down-and-out, the dispossessed, the profoundly disappointed—the diverse urban-scape of homeless men, women and children who seek the hope and help that is available, at Star of Hope.

Thank you everyone! Thank you, Nino, of Flowers by Nino, for the gorgeous floral arrangements. Nobody does flowers like you. Thank you Bright Star Productions for letting our lights shine, Rick Christi, of Studio W, for your expert direction, Ben E. Keith for your generous contribution to our dinner, Blacktie for your fabulous photos, Bruce Padilla, of Baccarat, for making our first Points of Light gift a thing of beauty, and Edward Hankey, for giving it an elegant base on which to rest; Gerald Ray for filling our registration area with music that made our guest feel special, Courtney Rai of Magic Moments, Inc., for helping us reach for the sky, and Bonita Bevel, of the Hilton Americas, for keeping us grounded.

Thank you, friends who were there and those who could not come. Thank you Ariel, Tamokia and Courtney for sharing your stories of victory over unimaginable odds; the valiant veterans of the Color Guard for presenting our nation’s flags, and Scot Cameron, for your beautiful delivery of the National Anthem.

Tomokia sharing her testimony at Star of Hope Banquet

Congratulations Dr. Moorhead, the first recipient of the Star of Hope George and Barbara Bush Volunteer Service Award, for your selfless service in helping the homeless to see clearly. Thank you.

Above All, thank you, Lord, for making this night with friends possible.


From Homeless to Most Likely to Succeed

Thursday, September 29, 2011
by Marilyn Fountain

When you think about the homeless, do you see tragedy? We see the pain of homelessness every day, as men, women and families pour into our centers for help. However the picture looks different when you see it from our vantage. You see, our focus is not on tragedy but trajectory. Ours is an upward view with a goal to launch those who come to us to levels of achievement that will ensure their opportunity for successful living.

I had a chance to revel in that truth recently, when I met with a woman named Christine. About ten years ago, Christine arrived at Star of Hope Transitional Living Center for homeless women and families. She was young, attractive, and intelligent, though barely a semblance of functionality. The years of partying and addiction that had been so exciting had become an excess she could no longer afford physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually.

To see Christine now is like looking at the winner of the Most Likely to Succeed award. It’s hard to believe that she had ever met, let alone been, the person of a decade ago. This accomplished Real Estate Agent has maintained her sobriety, stability and upward call, ever since leaving Star of Hope. What’s more, her mother and brother, both of whom suffered with alcohol addictions, are living sober lives, having seen the victory over substance abuse that Christine experienced.

Christine will tell anyone that her change is the direct result of being enrolled in the TLC program and finding a God-centered life, just as the Apostle Paul described in Romans 12:2, when he said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Help Houston's Homeless with Star of Hope Mission.
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Do You Hear The Sound Of Happy Feet?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
by Marilyn Fountain
Donate new and gently used shoes to Houston's homeless with Sun and Ski and Star of HopeForget the sound of music, we’re listening for the sound of happy feet, and there will be lots of it at Star of Hope in the coming weeks. Very soon, Sun & Ski Sports will arrive at Star of Hope with all the shoes it has collected for our kiddos, via its Back-To-School Shoe Drive.

The drive is scheduled to run from August 1 through August 15th. So folks, if you have new or gently worn shoes-- that is… GENTLY WORN SHOES-- that you would like to donate on behalf of the hundreds of precious children living at our family shelters, bring them to any Sun & Ski location around the city and drop them in the collection boxes. When you do that, you will also receive a gift certificate worth $5 off a pair of TOMS shoes. Talk about happy feet! These are the number 1 selling sport shoe in Texas.

Search you closets and shoe racks. Look under your bed and behind the sofa. Check the trunk of your car and entreat your friends. And don’t forget to keep your ear to the ground.



Score One for the Driver

Thursday, June 23, 2011
by Marilyn Fountain
Marilyn Fountain with Donald DriverYou can quote me on this: I’m a huge fan of Donald Driver, not just because of the amazing win he helped to capture for the Green Bay Packers -–that was impressive, for sure. But what impresses me most is the character o f the man. So often, we hear our field and screen heroes rejecting the importance of their influence on the public as role models, whether for good or bad. But if you could have seen the excitement and admiration poured out on Donald by the children at Star of Hope when he visited our Transitional Living Center—and the adults as well, there would be no question in your mind that public figures of his stature are, indeed, role models. The children wanted to be like him and the adults wanted to be near him, if only for a minute, a handshake, a smile, or a single glance that said, “I see you, I understand your struggle, and I care.”

Donald has been a generous supporter of Star of Hope for years. So it was a real thrill for me, too, to shake his hand and thank him for the commitment he continues to show, on behalf of all the people we serve. He is a gentleman. He loves the Lord. And he remembers his beginnings. His presence and the manner in which he engaged the folks, both young and not-so-young, enveloping them in his ever so welcoming smile was indelible. He made a mark on them that will remain in their memories forever. And it’s good.

Rapping up Haute for Hope

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
by Marilyn Fountain
Butch Alsandor/Deborah Ducan – Channel 11 (STP Images)The spot lights are out, the stage is down, and the audience has gone the way of all audiences, when the show is over.  It will be a year before the Star of Hope Haute for Hope luncheon and fashion show comes around again.  But, hey, it’s only time, and time flies when you’re having fun, right?  Well, guess what?  We’ve had a ball over the past 13 years since the show first opened, and we have the wonderful memories of Houston’s top news and broadcast personalities strutting their stuff on the catwalk, to bring the gift of hope to thousands of homeless children.

Shern-Min Chow – Channel 11 (STP Images)So we do not lament the end of this year’s show.  We celebrate what’s been accomplished and look forward to next year, when we will do it all over again, for the children, absolutely, and for the fun that comes in the doing.

We are grateful to Dana Tyson, SUNNY 99.1 Morning Show host and Jose’ Grinan, Morning News Anchor for Fox 26.  They were the dynamic duo at the mikes, as their media colleagues took over the runway to the music of famed vibraharpist, Harry Sheppard.

Art Rascon/Gina Gaston – Chanel 13 (STP Images)Many thanks to all of you who supported the show, whether you bought a table or a seat, contributed auction items or ambiance, as did A Touch of Elegance and River Oaks Flower House.  We are forever thankful.  TribeDesign, you make the most gorgeous invitations.

To Todd Ramos, who always does a bang-up job producing the show, muchas gracias amigo!  To the media models who make Haute for Hope hot, we are grateful beyond words.  And what’s a fashion show without fashions?  Thank you BB1 Classic, Elizabeth Anthony Esther Wolf, and Lucho.  Also, a special shout out to Solution for volunteering every year to put the final, beautifying touches on our models. Speaking of volunteers—Star of Hope staff, you are AWESOME! Thank you. See you next year.

Discover ways to help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope Mission.
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Charitable Organizations Houston.

Heading Hopeward

Thursday, December 9, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

2000 years ago, three men set out on a journey in search of the one who would make a difference in the world and change things for the better.  It was a long, probably uncomfortable trip.  They were not cruising on a high-speed road in a luxury sedan, or listening to their favorite tunes through surround sound.  They were lumbering along for hours on the hard backs of camels.

But they were determined to find what they were seeking.  So they followed a bright, eastern star.  For them, it was a star of hope.

Every time I think about the trip they made to see Jesus, I am so grateful to be living today.  Just think about it….you and I don’t have to travel to find Jesus.  He is Emanuel—God with us!  No matter where we are, he is there, too.  Our hope for today and all our tomorrows is woven into that fact, and his promise to never leave us or forsake us.  This, I believe, is the true joy of Christmas.

In Jeremiah 29:11 the Lord says, “I know the plans I have for you…, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future?"  Is there anyone in reach of this blog who doesn’t need hope and a future?  I know I need this promise more than my morning jog, and I have to have my morning jog.

Though troubles come and go, we must always take time to reflect on how easy our Father has made it for us to receive this promise.   He has given it to us freely, through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the word of his testimony, spoken through scripture throughout the pages of our Bibles.  

We also have a legacy in the experience of the three wise men, because it was the bright star that led them to the hope that is in Christ Jesus.   And for those of us who work or reside at Star of Hope Mission it is the name Star of Hope that reminds us everyday that we, too, have been led to a place where Emanuel is found. He is available, loving, and willing to change things for the better.  In this we join the men of old, having also received the great and amazing gift of hope: Jesus Christ

I would like to leave you with Isaiah 40:31

Those who hope in the Lord
Will renew their strength,
They will soar on wings like eagles,
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not be faint

Have a blessed Christmas and precious time with our Lord.
 

Learn more about Star of Hope and Supporting Houston Ministries.
Give online today at
Charitable Donations Houston.

Team Effort Scores Big for Star of Hope

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain
The Astros organization is batting a thousand when it comes to community outreach, and, boy, did they hit a homer for Star of Hope. In conjunction with their partnership program with State Farm Insurance, the Astros Foundation Development team selected us to be the recipient of the State Farm’s Good Neighbor award—on the Astros field, no less, before thousands of cheering fans.

What a huge blessing! And the timing could not have been better. Think about it. We have unprecedented numbers of overflow guests—women and children-- bedding down on our emergency shelter floor every night, mat-to-mat, because our rooms are at capacity. More challenging? Our need for resources to care for them is growing right along with the increasing numbers. But lo and behold, the Astros organization saw our need, stepped right up to the plate, and knocked one out of the park for us via their State Farm partner. And Like a good neighbor, State Farm was there with a $500 check to give hope to the homeless, at Star of Hope. Sweet!

One of the special moments early in the evening was a meet-and-greet with outfielder Jason Michaels. He’s a pleasant, self-effacing chap--makes you feel like you’re just hanging out together, catching up on old times with a good friend. I felt an instant, migratory kinship with him. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (my hometown ball club), and, later, for the Philadelphia Phillies (I lived in Philadelphia for many years and rooted for the team), and, now, here we are in Houston. Oh, yeah, off season, he’s in Tampa, Florida. I’m in Tampa often. It’s where my brother lives.

It was a great night. Hank Rush, our president and CEO accepted a presentation check from State Farm’s James Banks that was big enough for the folks in the peanut gallery to read. The rest of the Star of Hope team attending the event: Betty Nunnally, Vice President of Programs, Mary Cantu, Vice President of Development, and I, cheered him on, along with that wascally wabbit: Junction Jack. What a kick he is, and cuddly, too. I know. I have a big bunny-hug photo to prove it.

Learn about ways you can give at Star of Hope Charitable Donations Houston.

A Mother’s Heart

Friday, August 20, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

People often ask me, “What causes homelessness?”   The answer is almost anything you can imagine, and sometime the unimaginable.   Case in point.   The other day, I met a woman who is living at our Women and Family Emergency Shelter, because she had quit her job.  Naturally, given the scarcity of jobs these days, she had my full attention.

As she began to unfold her story, it was clear she had not quit because of some egregious wrong in the workplace or a gross laxity in personal responsibility.   She quit in order to protect her 15-year old son from the perils of the street.  You’re probably thinking, what a desperate thing to do.  Well, it was.  Except that this woman was between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
 
Being a struggling, single parent, living in a rough neighborhood, she could not be both on the job and also at home monitoring her son’s activities and associates.  The hours between the close of school and the end of her work day were too many for her comfort.  There was evidence that the draw of the streets was stronger than the law of her household.  With her limited income, she could not afford a better neighborhood, and, as she said, “I had to get him out of there. The money I was making was not as important as his life.”  With nowhere else to go and homelessness as her option, Star of Hope was her only hope.

I have to tell you that I have great admiration for this mom.  She is a courageous, selfless woman who was willing to sacrifice everything she had to give her son an opportunity to live with honesty, decency, and purpose.  She took a leap of faith and found peace in the shelter, where she and he are receiving the help they need, now. and the preparation they need for the future.
 

Visit Star of Hope Mission and learn more about Shelters Houston Texas.

Hey Houston…You Rock!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

The Blind Side at Miller Outdoor TheatreFor those of you who turned out for the Star of Hope “Can” Film Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater last Saturday evening to watch The Blind Side, here’s a great, big SHOUT-OUT of thanks for braving the heat and celebrating a Summer of Hope with us.
 
We love it that you put us on your weekend itinerary, brought can goods and took the “SOH” to 20222 text challenge, which delivered $10 to Star of Hope with every tap of the “send” button.  (And by the way, your text dollars were doubled, thanks to a very generous donor).   It was a cool event – temperature notwithstanding — and a wonderful time to hang out under the stars and watch a fabulous flick with a message we can all embrace. 

You can’t imagine what an amazing site it was for those of us who work at Star of Hope to see so many folks and families spread over the grassy hillside and in the seats, supporting this event.  Because—bottom line—it’s all about the people in our midst who have so little, the homeless many who come to our doors in desperate need of help, sometimes just to get through the day.  We never know when, and under what circumstances, we will need to reach out to others for help, because life has taken us to a hard, dry place.  But isn’t it nice to know that we live in a town where “reaching out” is more than a phrase?  It’s the Houston way.

So blessings to you and to Dana Tyson of SUNNY 99.1, Bill Ingram and Jen Driskill from KSBJ, and the dynamic Deborah Duncan from KHOU.  WE LOVE YOU!

Learn more about Star of Hope and ways to give at Charitable Donations Houston.

Star of Hope “Can” Film Festival

Thursday, August 12, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

These days, it’s hard to find a family activity that’s fun for everyone-- and free.  But, as part of our Summer of Hope campaign, we’ve got a great evening planned for this coming Saturday, August 14, that fits the bill.  We’re calling it our Star of Hope “Can” Film Festival.  No, this is not a misspelling of the big shindig in the south of France.  We are hosting a glorious night under the stars at the Miller Outdoor Theater, featuring a showing of the block-buster movie, The Blind Side.

This is the family version of the film, so no worries about language or content.  If you’ve seen it already, come see it again; and if you haven’t, you’re in for a wonderful experience as this true story of courage, compassion, and the power of love to change lives unfolds on the screen.  What’s more, KSBJ will be there broadcasting live. Dana Tyson from SUNNY 99.1 will be there, as well, hosting the night, and we’ll have a performance by KHOU’s Deborah Duncan.  Can she belt out a song or what?  You don’t want to miss it. 

You’re wondering how does “Can” fit in to all this, right?  Here’s how.  The evening is free, but we are asking everyone to bring a bag of can foods to help us feed the homeless men, women, and children in our care.  The food collection begins at 7:30 p.m. and the move starts at 8:15.  You’re all invited! We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Get a list of needed items at Food Donation Houston
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Diapers Anybody?

Thursday, July 29, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

diapers neededThere isn’t a day that goes by that I am not conscience of how blessed I am that my family and I have the things we need to sustain us.  Working at Star of Hope keeps me mindful, humble, and grateful.  I see the homeless come by the hundreds on a daily basis, suffering from so much lack, many of them parents with young children, and I know that God put me here to help them.

One of my responsibilities is to locate sources for stocking our shelves with the items needed to properly care for our clients.  That has always proven to be a rewarding pursuit, mainly because Houston is such a generous town.  I remember how intimidated I was when I first arrived here from the East Coast, knowing nothing about the personality of the city, its people, or how to ask for their support.  I fully expected to be politely turned down.   So I wrote out a script with God-fatherly intent: to make an offer they couldn’t refuse; in this case, an offer that would open their hearts to a message of help.  Well, a funny thing happened.  I never got to use my script, because the answers I got were, “Yes,” and, “Is there anything more I can do?” 

Those of you who are faithful readers of our blogs know that, in this economy, our donations have dropped as our client numbers continue to rise.  Right now, our family shelters are in dire need of diapers.  “Dire” might seem like an overstatement,  in reference to diapers, but I assure you it is not.  We use 1,500 diapers a month on hundreds of little bottoms.  We could sure use your help in keeping them fresh and dry.  If anyone would like to host a diaper drive for the babies at Star of Hope, please contact us at 713-440-5341, or by email cratliff@sohmission.org.  I, for one, would be so thankful; besides, I threw away my old Godfather script.

Visit Star of Hope Mission at Charitable Donations Houston for our locations and lists other needed items.

Texting for Hope

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

Have you seen our new cab signs?  If you haven’t, be on the lookout, because they’re your invitation to participate in a Summer of Hope.   With the help of our buddies at Yellow Cab, Hope Floats all around the city, day and night, bringing the message that helping the homeless during these dog days of summer is as easy as texting “SOH” to 20222.  It’s that simple, and Star of Hope receives an immediate gift of $10.00 toward the care of our brothers and sisters who are down, for sure, but not out.

I know you have heard it before, but it’s true:  summer in Houston is the most dangerous time of year for the homeless, and it’s also the season when help for the homeless is at its lowest. However, if there is one thing we are certain of at Star of Hope, it’s that those we serve are not forsaken, even when donations are low and hands are few.  God has brought them to us to dwell in our shelters for a while, find relief from their struggles, protection from the elements and direction for their lives.  

From my perspective, that’s a win-win for everyone.  So not only am I privileged  to be a part of this amazing plan set forth by the Lord and executed by the fabulous client staff here, I am included in the invitation to the Summer of Hope. So here goes.  I’m going to let my fingers do the talking and donate $10 by texting “SOH” to 20222.  Will you join me?  But text safely.

Learn more about Summer Philanthropy Opportunities Houston at Star of Hope Mission
 

Signs of the Times

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

Drive around any major city and you will come face to face with the live drama being performed by a regular street cast holding forth at intersections where there is heavy traffic.  In their hands is a cardboard sign portraying a tragic story to the streaming audience of motorists.  Some of the signs say, “I’m hungry,” some say things like, “I need surgery,” or, “I have cancer.” And some just say, “Please help.”

I was driving toward the intersection at Kirby and Highway 59, when I saw a clean-cut, middle-age man with mixed gray hair walking toward the line of cars slowing for the traffic light.  He was neatly dressed in a white shirt, dark slacks, and business shoes.  In his right hand was an unexpected object: a cardboard sign that looked like all the other cardboard signs I had seen, which belied his head-to-toe appearance.  As he neared my car, I could read what his sign said: “Will work.  Have resume.”  And sure enough, he did.  In fact, his left hand clutched a mass of resumes which he waved—no, make that offered, to anyone who would accept his three-page employment history.   This guy was serious about getting a job.  No doubt he was once a part of the audience of motorists stopped at a traffic light, distracted by thoughts of work and the cardboard signs asking for help.

I was impressed with him—impressed that he would step out on the curb and raise the concept of “cold call” to a whole new level.  When I looked at what he was doing, I thought, “Signs of the times.”  He should have been an ideal candidate for a headhunter.  Perhaps he spent all he had trying to make ends meet, and searching for work in more conventional ways.  It costs money to job search. So what do you do when you’re flat broke but you have to keep going, when you’ve knocked on every door you can think of hoping for an opportunity to do what you’ve done so well for years – the thing you have perfected over time that is now fodder for phase out?  I guess you take your case where others compete for an outstretched hand: you take it to the streets, dressed for success, with a resume ready for the taking.
 
I stretched out my hand and took his resume.  And though I didn’t have a job to offer him, I was meeting someone who might.  I sure hope so.

Visit Help The Homeless Houston for ways to offer help and hope to the hungry and hurting.

Catwalking for Hope

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

Did you ever hear a Catwalk purr? Well, if you have never attended the Star of Hope Haute for Hope Luncheon and Fashion Show, now’s your chance.  This is not your typical ramp show.  In this show, the stars come out at noon to light up the runway with the hautest in Spring clothing, all to raise money for the Star of Hope Children’s Critical Care Fund. The CCCF is our vehicle for providing everything youngsters need, to make their lives as normal and healthy as possible, while they are in our care.

Hosting the show are Greg Hurst, Evening News Anchor for Channel 11, and Dana Tyson, the SUNNY 99.1 Morning Show Host. Lucy Noland, also a Channel 11 Evening News Anchor, will welcome everyone and kick off the show.

And while there won’t be any fur flying, there will be lots of stylin’ from the stars of Houston’s broadcast and print media. You’ll see all of Houston’s top news and entertainment personalities looking like the cat’s meow, as they model the latest from BB1 Classic, Elizabeth Anthony-Esther Wolf Collection, Gayla Bentley, and M Penner.

But wait, there’s more!  We have Harry Sheppard, world-renowned vibraphonist to add a little smooth jazz to the occasion, and a special guest appearance by one of the world’s most sought after, elegant women and member of the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame.
 
Check out Charitable Donations Houston for date and place. Register Online and come Catwalking with us. It’s about Hope!
 

The Gift

Thursday, April 1, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

Easter always brings back the memory of a time when I was a little girl, sitting in the church pew with my parents, listening to the choir perform songs about the risen Christ. But one man in particular, always had me riveted to my seat. His voice was so deep and rich that the lyrics seemed to swell over the organ, especially when he sang, Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? Something about that song always went right through my small frame. It was my first recognition of the awful beauty of His gift.

All these years later, I recognize that beauty which comes from agony, again, in the faces of our clients, at Star of Hope, whether the Men's Development Center, the Women and Family Emergency Shelter, or the Transitional Living Center. They have endured painful—often terrible times, their losses are acute, and the harsh realities of their circumstances can be seen in their eyes. They have had to be courageous in ways most of us cannot imagine. But Easter comes for them just as it came for Jesus. In this Christ-centered community, the Lord extends His nail-pierced hands to help homeless men, women, and children rise up from the pain, the past and fear of the future, and walk in the hope that is blood-bought, indelible, and available. Through our wonderful donors, volunteers, and advocates, the gift of Christ is at work at Star of Hope in the programs offered and the extraordinary staff who love our clients unconditionally.  And it is beautiful to behold. 
 

Learn more about Star of Hope's life-changing ministries by visiting Supporting Houston Ministries

A Friend in Need…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

You gotta love the folks at Marriott International and Glazier Foods. Together, they delivered 5 tons of much-needed, non-perishable food to our Storehouse and unloaded every box, bag, and bundle by hand—well with a little help from a fork lift.

This was a definite hallelujah moment for our kitchen staff and all of Star of Hope, for that matter, because with nearly 1,000 hungry, homeless men, women, and children to feed, daily, the words “5 tons” weighs in at the top of the blessings scale.

This is the fourth year that Marriott has rallied their family of hotels around the city to help the homeless at Star of Hope, through their Spirit to Serve initiative, collecting thousands of pounds of food for the people in our shelters. But this year, Glazier Foods upped the ante by matching Marriott’s effort pound for pound, doubling the donation and making it an awesome feed-for-all. 

Thank you Marriott International and Glazier Foods. You are a friend indeed.

Watch the video: Donating To Charitable Organizations Houston

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Monday, March 22, 2010
by Marilyn Fountain

There’s a lot to be said for the expression, “Home is where the heart is.”
 
The other day, as I was walking through the courtyard at the Transitional Living Center for Women and Families, I came upon a young woman sitting on a bench. It was a perfect afternoon for being outdoors. The sun was bright and warm, and the air seemed to move slowly, more like a sigh than a breeze.  But this woman was a new mom, and in her arms was a tiny blue bundle which she held close to her body, in a protective cuddle that offered her baby the kind of warmth that only a mother can give.  

Mom is homeless but baby is not.  Yes, he lives in a shelter with his mom, but with only eight weeks on his calendar, what does he know about homelessness? He was at home in his mother’s embrace, right under her heart where he could hear each beat, feel secure and sleep in peace, just like he did when he was even closer to her, in the secret place where God was forming him. It was the sweetest reminder of the power of love.

Learn more about Star of Hope's services for women and families at Houston Women's Shelter.