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104 Thanksgivings at Star of Hope

Thursday, November 17, 2011
by Scott McKinley
I was just thinking about the fast approaching holidays. Thanksgiving is a week away and Christmas is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to spending next Wednesday afternoon with homeless and recovering men at the Star of Hope Men’s Development Center in downtown Houston. Wow… this will be the 104th year that Thanksgiving meals have been served at Star of Hope!

This picture was taken during the Thanksgiving meal at Star of Hope in 1955.

Thanksgiving Dinner in 1955

Even in the early days, Star of Hope has always been more than a soup kitchen and place to sleep. I’m honored to be a part of such an enduring legacy. I’m thankful for Star of Hope’s incredible staff, faithful volunteers and generous donors who continue to make a Star of Hope a place of refuge and recovery in our city.

To learn more, visit More Than A Soup Kitchen Houston. You may be surprised at the depth of the programs offered at Star of Hope Mission.

How Are You Hope....Where-Ever You Are?

Monday, August 1, 2011
by Katelyn Oliver
Recently, you might have seen Star of Hope on the news for having 141 people, 55 of which were kids, sleeping on the floor in our overflow room. Because of the deep need this Summer we have had many people feel called to take action and be HOPE! Many have volunteered in our soup kitchen, given food and clothing donations, and provided long term hope by becoming a Circle of Hope Member. We deeply thank you for being concerned about your city's homeless!

Even business like, Chick-fil-A Pearland, have  decided they were called to be HOPE and therefore, hosted a toiletry donation drive. Cookie Joe, the owner of Cookie Joe's Dance Studio, also felt called to be HOPE,  so at the donation drive she sponsored a free concert from Newberry of Second Baptist Pearland, Krush of New Hope, and Nash 3.

Many people this Summer have been HOPE. At Star of Hope I am able to see how many people answered the call to action and have actively been HOPE this summer. It has made me want to know more....like how are you HOPE...where-ever you are? Please e-mail your I AM HOPE story to koliver@sohmission.org (feel free to send videos) or just post it on the comments below!




In Honor of Zan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
by Katelyn Oliver
I have consistently had some place safe to sleep. I have consistently been fed.  I have consistently been loved. I have consistently made mistakes and have been forgiven and accepted. I have consistently been made to feel valued….and I have consistently forgotten that some people don’t have any form of healthy consistency in their own lives.  

Star of Hope can’t save the world, but it can give Houston’s Homeless men, women and children some healthy consistencies no matter what stage of life they are in.  Most importantly Star of Hope teaches its clients they are valued and after their time here how to create stability making hope a reality.  

Zan Virtual Volunteer Last week I had the privilege to talk with an amazing Star of Hope Virtual Volunteer.  Her spirit is as beautiful and unique as she is.  She is vulnerable. She is strong. She is courageous. Zan grew up in an inconsistent home environment living with several different family members during varying stages of her life.  At age 17 she found herself homeless with a new born son.  Desiring more consistency for her son than she was able to give she sent him to live with other members of her family.

Zan personally continued wandering in and out of homelessness into her 20’s.  I wish I could tell you that she found Star of Hope early on and everything changed…forever.  I wish I could tell you that we made a difference in her life or that I made a difference in her life. However, nothing I did nor did anything I am affiliated with change Zan’s life.  Zan did not find Star of Hope when she needed us most.  She had to seek self soothing and self guidance and in turn her life lessons were learned by trial and error.    Zan did the best she could to establish consistency in her life all by herself. 

Today, Zan’s life like mine is far from perfect, but you can clearly see God’s redemptive love in her story.  Through, this faith and courage God has taught her to give back to her community in whatever way she can.   Zan lovingly shares with others via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that they do not have to go through homelessness, abuse, addiction all alone. They can find value and love at Star of Hope. Zan advocates for Star of Hope… all hours of the day and night…and she makes a difference by sharing what an amazing nonprofit Houston has!  Zan knows how helpful it would have been to have had a solid place like “ Star of Hope Mission” included in her story early on.  

Zan , thank you for giving hope to others.

So, many people think they have to wait until their life looks perfect to give back to their community.  They wait until they have the right amount in their savings account or until they have 3 hours to give instead of 15 minutes.  Star of Hope is asking you where you are to make a difference and together we will watch God bless your offering. Whether, it is a prayer, joining Star of Hope on Facebook, working in the kitchen, donating 50 cents together, we can give Houston Homeless a consistent environment where there is no question if they are fed, loved and valued.

Together, wherever you are in life let's show Houston Homeless they do not have to do this alone. We are here for them with Men and Women Drug Rehab Centers, Battered Women Shelters, Childcare facilities and Soup Kitchens.  Refuse to let one person be forgotten. 

Discover ways to get involved and help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope.
Visit
Volunteer Jobs Houston to get started today!

Answering the Calls at Star of Hope

Thursday, April 14, 2011
by Scott McKinley
Ann and Brenda from Willis of TexasThis week I had the opportunity to meet Ann and Brenda from Willis of Texas. They were working a shift as Star of Hope Call Center Volunteers. In fact if you call Star of Hope on a Wednesday morning or afternoon, chances are you will speak to a Willis volunteer. About 50 Willis employees rotate through one our Wednesday Call Center shifts every 4 -6 weeks! Amazing.

Brenda said that answering the calls has changed her perspective on who the homeless are and what Star of Hope does. Star of hope is so much more than a soup kitchen serving meals during the holidays.

Call Center Volunteers answer calls from…
  • Families looking for assistance (some who are living in their cars!)
  • Donors needing to know an address to mail a check or a location to drop off clothes or other needed items
  • Individuals, groups and organization wanting to know how they can serve.

Check out Elizabeth Hatler’s update Willis Volunteers Staff Call Center and So Much More! For more on what Willis employees are doing for residents at Star of Hope.

Thanks Ann, Brenda and everyone at Willis who give their time to offer help and hope to Houston’s homeless men, women and children.

Learn how you can get involved with Star of Hope Mission as a Call Center Volunteer or find another opportunity of interest to you at Community Service Volunteers Houston.

Call Center Volunteers Helping Houston's Homeless

Sunday, January 9, 2011
by John Mills
Recently, I had a chance to visit with one of our volunteers. He and a team from his employer have been involved in our new volunteer Call Center which started in November.

For several years our executive staff at Star of Hope, one of Houston’s Emergency Shelters, has been concerned about how we can shorten access time for homeless men, women and their families in need. So we started a phone bank! The Call Center is staffed in part by volunteers, providing a new volunteer opportunity in Houston.

This gentleman shared with me that he and the other team members were excited that serving in this volunteer role has required that they learn much more about all the services that we provide. Star of Hope is not just a soup kitchen in Houston…we offer emergency services such as a safe dry bed, a change of clothing, a warm meal, and even offer a transitional program if that is what is needed.

The major item that interested me was that he stated that the employees serving in this phone bank project have really come together, and they understand more about the needs of the homeless and what is being done here at Star of Hope! It touched my heart and reminded me that when we give something of our selves, we often receive a benefit!

I also wanted to report to you that, because many of you responded to the opportunity to make a financial donation, WE MADE OUR DECEMBER AND YTD BUDGET! I wanted to thank each of you who recognized the donation opportunity and followed through (like the volunteer mentioned above). I hope and pray that you and your family will be blessed throughout 2011!

Visit Star of Hope Mission to learn more about Volunteer Jobs Houston and how you can
get involved as a Call Center Volunteer.

Helping Houston’s Homeless Find The Brightest Light

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
by John Mills

Place of Grace Intake Dedication with Cookie Joe's Dancin' SchoolDuring my eight years working for Star of Hope Mission, I have watched over and over as homeless clients move from virtually “no hope” with total dependence, to beginning their independent walk in a new life.  Star of Hope is not just a Soup Kitchen in Houston!  We offer Christian Ministries with such services as drug rehabilitation, emergency homeless services, parenting classes, career building classes, for homeless persons and for battered women, men and for families.  We offer care for men, single women and for families at our three homeless shelters and transitional living centers.

Last week I got to meet a young woman who lived here at Star of Hope twelve years ago.  When she came here, she was 4 years old, and she got into a ballet dance program offered by a volunteer.  Her family got back on their feet and now she is married and has three beautiful children.  She was present at the opening of our newly decorated Intake area at Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter.  It was a real blessing to visit and to see how well she is doing now.  She and her family had received a chance to get back on their feet, and they had taken it! 

I hope that you weren’t ever homeless!  But if you had been, wouldn’t it be great to know that there was a place, where people would listen to you, pray with you, cry with you, and try to meet your every need!  Star of Hope is such a place!

Would you consider partnering with us, through offering a prayer for the less fortunate, and through making a contribution?  You can go to Charitable Donations Houston to make a contribution.

 

A Day With TobyMac

Thursday, March 25, 2010
by Scott Arthur
A few months ago, Grammy Award winning singer TobyMac - one of the most successful Christian performers in history, visited Houston.  Radio station KSBJ invited him to debut his new album "TONIGHT" in the Bayou City and Star of Hope Mission along with LifeWay Christian Book Stores co-sponsored the CD signings.

As a record maker, TobyMac was a record breaker - attracting about 4,000 fans to selected book stores to Meet and Greet their own personal Star of Hope .....his lyrics are always positive and uplifting.

I set up OUR Star of Hope collateral right next to him and gave out Mission information to every one of his excited fans. It was a great way to create awareness among future donors and supporters who might some day volunteer at one of our shelters or write a check to help us serve over 2,000 meals each day to homeless men, women and children.

But what impressed me that day wasn't what TobyMac did on his CD - it was what he did IN PERSON. At our third and final book store CD signing - he was allotted an hour to say hello, sign and leave for the airport. After 90 minutes it was apparent that if he wanted to honor EVERYONE who lined up to meet him - he would miss his plane. He did just that - asked his people to reschedule his flight, got on the store's PA system and announced that he would  meet all who were lined up to see him.... and at that point there were about 500 fans outside the store who hadn't yet entered the front door. 

THEN came the impressive part. As the crowd pressed around TobyMac - a 13 year old boy leaned against a display shelf and it collapsed - very loudly and very publicly. Everything in the store stopped and the teen looked like a deer in headlights. Sensing the boy's uncomfortable situation, the award winning vocalist and father of five stood up, walked around the autograph table, reached out and hugged the boy - letting him and the hundreds of critical onlookers know that all is OK.

TobyMac speaks to millions with his music - but that day he spoke to hundreds with his actions. Too bad they don't give awards for that!

For information on how Star of Hope helps the homeless, visit sohmission.org and find out more about our Houston Emergency Shelter or to become a Houston Soup Kitchen Volunteer.