My name is John Mills. After a lifetime in the “for profit business world” I've been with Star of Hope Mission, a homeless shelter in Houston, since 2002. 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 for such services as drug rehabilitation, emergency homeless services, parenting classes, career building classes, for battered women, men and for families. We offer care for men, single women and for families at our three homeless shelters.
Last week I was able to attend our monthly graduation program here at Star of Hope’s Transitional Living Center, here in Houston. This program is for women and families who have encountered hard times and found themselves homeless.
Unfortunately, we have more single moms than dads. It is just hard, when life turns its back on you and nothing seems to go right for you or even worse, for you and your children!
At the Transitional Living Center we have 45 single women rooms and 66 one, two and three bedroom apartments for our families. They come here when they are ready to step up to life change. Star of Hope offers a good, safe, dry bed, meals, as they try to learn more about some of the skills they have missed along the way.
It is a miracle to attend a graduation service, where the ladies get dressed in caps and gowns, as they participate in a graduation. Their friends and family come to encourage them; after all, a few months previous, they had been homeless, maybe even a resident of the Star of Hope Women and Family Emergency Shelter.
Last week we watched as nine ladies were recognized for completing program segments. The smiles on their faces, the heartfelt joy that was evident, and finally, the testimonies that they offered reminded me that our Creator loves each of us with an everlasting love! Now as they are going through the program, they have that faith which is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Please say a prayer for the less fortunate right here in our community…May God richly bless you and your family.
I wanted to tell you about one of our volunteers, Peggy*. On three separate occasions she has baked over 400 cup cakes and brought them to Star of Hope. We served over 600,000 meals last year; one of the things that many times gets over looked is the “dessert.”
Our clients have so many homeless service needs, we are always looking for ways to help make them feel at home. These cupcakes have been so awesome! I watched the little children eat the cupcakes. Of course they are messy but they are so good and they add so much to our client’s lives here at the shelters.
We have such an active volunteer program at Star of Hope… everything from sorting clothes to serving meals to tutoring children is included…even making cupcakes! Thank you, Houston, for being such a giving community. When we volunteer to help others, we really make a difference for our community! Thank you, Peggy, for taking time to provide such wonderful cupcakes for our clients and their children, right here at Star of Hope!
*Peggy wishes to be anonymous and we have changed her name.
I called a staff member here at Star of Hope, a Houston homeless shelter; we were able to get him into the shelter. He didn’t have any transportation so we had to work that out…he asked about what kind of place it is…and I told him that Star of Hope is a place where people go when they need help and healing. Star of Hope is one of the best providers for homeless services in Houston. I told him that he would receive meals, a good dry bed, and a change of clothing, if he needed. I told him that he would get to work with some of our staff to determine if he wanted to get into a program, where he can change his life. That is what happens at our Men's Development Center… it is a good safe place and it can be even more valuable, if a person wants.
I hope that you will join me in prayer for my new friend, Danny (not his real name), that he can find the way out of addiction, to a new life in Christ and His purpose for Danny’s life! Stay tuned, I will provide continuing information, if possible! Thank you for your support for the less fortunate within our community. We all need a hand up, sometimes!
• There are 13,500 homeless right here in Houston.
• Star of Hope, a local homeless shelter prepared and fed over 620,000 meals during the 2011.
• The number of homeless families in our city increased by 25% from 2010.
The economy is really impacting our lives!
The high point in the evening is always the testimonies from those who has been homeless in our city and have been able to experience “life change.” One such testimony was offered by a 17 year old high school student, Courtney. His mom had been taken ill and with a long term illness, she ultimately lost her job, and they were evicted. They came to Star of Hope and after a time were able to regain their stability, individually and as a family.
Through a community service volunteer group who came to Star of Hope, Courtney was able to visit the University of Houston campus, met with several top level administrators, and he was able to get a scholarship offer (he wants to be an aeronautical engineer)!
He has a ways to go (he is just now completing high school, but he looked so special as he stood there in front of 2,300 attendees and told his (and his family’s) story. It was so special to see young man in his ROTC uniform to stand and talk about the “life change” that he has experienced and the blessing that Star of Hope, a local homeless shelter in Houston, has offered to he and his family.
Star of Hope is not just a men’s shelter or an emergency family shelter but we also have a longer term program for homeless who need assistance. I hope that possibly you were able to attend the annual banquet, but if not…please be sure that you don’t miss it next year!
The first pic is from many years ago and the second is more current! The parallels touched my heart in that, while years have passed, there are still the less fortunate in our city, who really need our help. Every day, Star of Hope helps over 1,000 persons, about 1/3 are children. The more I work in this homeless Christian Ministry in Houston, the more I am concerned for the children, the next generation. Last night the Star of Hope Women and Family Emergency Shelter on Dowling had 63 persons sleep on a pallet on the floor because the 74 rooms were filled! Please pray for these persons, that they will find their way in our world! If you can help, you can donate today. Also, you can find out how you can volunteer, and learn more about homelessness in our city!
Thanks for your prayers. They become the catalyst for life change! God bless.
BTW, don’t miss our annual banquet, February 2nd, at the Hilton Americas. It will be a great night to learn more about Houston’s homeless! Make reservations now and bring a friend or neighbor, or both!
May God richly bless you and your family during this Season of Thankfulness!
Discover ways to give and help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope Mission.
Visit Donation Opportunities Houston.
by John Mills
We had 82 persons in "overflow" at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter last evening. Half of those were single women who would have been totally at risk, had they not entered our shelter. They received sack lunch dinners, showers, and a pallet to sleep on in the safety of our shelter. It is amazing how basic the needs of the least, the last and the lost really are. Many of these suffer from mental illness. We are really hopeful that later in the year we will be able to put our new HUD grant in place and offer housing to 24 of these mentally ill women. If you happen to think about it, could you pray for the funding to come through for this grant? We have experienced a 29 percent increase in unduplicated individuals at SOH this year. WOW!...and the temperature is now beginning to rise!
BTW, mark your calendar right now for the Annual Star of Hope Banquet on February 2nd, 2012, at the Hilton Americas. I know that it is early but you will not want to miss this event! You will be entertained and learn more about the less fortunate in our city! Blessings, John
Learn how you can get involved in helping Houston's homeless with Star of Hope.
Visit Non Profit Organizations Houston.
by John Mills
I thought that you might like to know that last evening we had 52 people sleep on the floor at the Women and Family Emergency Shelter (here in Houston). Thirty six of those were single women! Typically 40 to 50 percent of our clients suffer from some level of mental illness. Yesterday we received word that we have been conditionally approved for a grant to provide shelter to approximately 20 homeless and mentallyy ill women on a longer term basis! This is great news because today’s society does such a poor job of assisting the mentally ill. Twenty women may not seem like very much, but it is a start! Mother Teresa said “if you can’t feed 100 hungry people, just feed one”. I guess this grant is like our ONE! God bless, and remember: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.” -- Proverbs 19:17. Who would not want to have a reward from the Lord?
See how your support touches and changes lives in Houston. Visit Supporting Houston Ministries to get Star of Hope's full 2010 Ministry Report.
If it weren’t for Star of Hope, I would not have a story worth sharing. Anyone who has ever lived with domestic violence can tell you that it is a kind of misery that chips away at the core of who you are and everything you thought you would be. That’s how it was for me. At first it was about control. I was told what I could wear, where I could go. I completely lost track of myself. Eventually things escalated. Living in a constant state of fear became normal for me. On one occasion, I was hospitalized, because I was struck so hard that I fell into a coma.
People often wonder why anyone stays in an abusive relationship. I stayed because i didn’t know how to get out or where I would go. I just wanted to keep a roof over my children’s heads and provide for them.
When I couldn’t take it any longer, I made a plan to leave, quietly, without raising suspicion. I moved around living with friends and family, and for a while, in a hotel. It was difficult, but better than being beaten.
Then someone told me about Star of Hope, a homeless shelter. When I arrived at the Transitional Living Center in January of 2007, all I had in the world was two bags of clothes and my two children . I had no money, no job, no home, no self-esteem, and no hope. I committed myself to the program and let the process do its transforming work. The classes opened my mind to the world of possibilities, and the staff was always there supporting me, building me up, and surrounding me with the word of god. They genuinely wanted me to realize my heart’s desire. Who knew that i was on my way to accomplishing a thirteen-year old dream of going to college to become a chef?
For me, cooking is a way of expressing love. When I was a child, my family would demonstrate how much they loved one another by gathering around the table over a great meal. So when I was in high school, I took a course in Hospitality Management. It included engineering, cooking, housekeeping, and front desk. But it was working in the kitchen that fascinated me. When I learned how to make flowers out of fruit, I thought, “This is it!” The dream was planted. But a dream needs an opportunity.
The Lord led me to Star of Hope where I got the tools, skills, and confidence I needed to pursue my dream and be ready when opportunity knocked. I stepped out in faith, in honor of God, and His purpose for my life and enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year, I was invited to go to Dublin, Ireland, to do my externship in event planning. In May of this year (2011), I will go back to Scottsdale to walk with my class, making me the first person in my family to graduate from college.
I have experienced an amazing journey. I have taught my children a valuable lesson in motivation, perseverance, and faith in God. Star of Hope is where dreams transition into reality.
I COULD ADD SOME WORDS HERE, BUT I THINK THAT MARQUETTE HAS SAID IT ALL!... And anyone who prays for Star of Hope, or volunteers or donates clothing or funding, can share in this AMAZING MIRACLE of a reclaimed life! God Bless.
Learn how you can get help or give help at Domestic Violence Shelters Houston
Last year, Star of Hope received assistance from over 8,000 volunteers! These are people just like you and me, who understand how difficult life can be and are willing to “stand up” to help someone else. It is the most amazing thing to watch. It is so encouraging to watch members from our community, Houston, come and partner with us to help others…
Last week, a man and his wife drove his car in to our offices and stated that he had attended our annual banquet and he was now ready to get a new car and he wanted to donate his older car to help the Star of Hope provide food and shelter necessary to help someone else! Just to shake his hand and see the smile on his face was encouraging to me! He knew that the proceeds from his donation would be used to help someone. WOW! What a blessing he was to all of us! I encourage you to look for opportunities when you can bless someone else! It will do your heart GOOD!
Discover how you can help at Community Service Volunteers Houston
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!
get involved as a Call Center Volunteer.
You and all those wonderful folks who partner with us at Star of Hope, help provide hope and emergency comfort, resources and safety for those who stay with us in our Women & Family Emergency Shelter and our Transitional Living Center. I see the benefits first hand, to the parents…but I see much more. I am here to help provide hope to the children, those who are not yet really sure why they are here.
By the way, Ava’s image, with her big beautiful eyes and her full, stringy brown hair reminds me of my own grand daughter. We all need help sometime! May God richly bless you as we seek the wonder of a New Year!
This morning we are within 5% of making the much needed budget to finish 2010. There is still time for you to make a difference! May God richly bless you as you seek His perfect will and possibly to make a small difference in the lives of those in need!
We believe that December’s goal is attainable, because we believe helping Houston’s homeless through offering emergency services is too important not to make it! We have 20 days, and only need $1.9 million, to keep this important work going. I hope this year has been a year of blessing and bounty for you and your family. Could you consider helping Star of Hope offer help to those in need during the next 20 days? You can donate online, or you can mail your gift to:
Houston, TX 77054
by John Mills
During 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.
It makes a person feel really good to contribute food, clothing and financial resources to an organization that offers the less fortunate a chance for peace and comfort, in their time of struggle!