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!
I don’t know about you, but we still have teenagers at home and we are so glad school is out and our “TO DO” lists have been greatly simplified!
Here at Star of Hope, summertime brings significant “TO DO” lists for two reasons: 1) each summer we gear up to serve hundreds more homeless in our city who come for help during the hot summer months, and 2) we have all of our resident families’ children here with us all summer.
It’s an exciting time of service and wonderful things happen here in the summer each year!
Our Men’s Development Center downtown is running over capacity already, and our Women & Family Emergency Shelter’s continuous overflow is already running at 60-75 persons sleeping on the floor each night, and it’s only June!
This summer, with your help, we are planning to provide:
- more than 167,750 meals with cold water, juice and milk to battle heat stroke and other summer illnesses
- 77,404 safe beds in our three air-conditioned facilities, so each Client can recover from a day in the heat
- a summer filled with laughter, life-changing activities and God’s love for more than 536 homeless boys and girls
- distribution of 9,360 bottles of cold water over the summer months from our Love-In-Action Van
- all with programs and services to encourage and bring new hope, and a path to independence once again!
While it is a challenge, summer provides some of our best opportunities to invest in the lives of children and families.
Want to help? GIVE NOW... A transformed life often begins with a simple meal shared in love. As our guests come in from the heat for a nutritious meal, your gift today will help turn a summer of crisis and pain into a SUMMER OF HOPE! At just $1.80 per meal, consider how many lives your generous support can touch this summer.
Blessings, and I hope you enjoy your summer!
by Hank Rush
Star of Hope serves 250-300 children each day, who are staying in our facilities with their parents as they work to recover from homelessness.
Just last week, a group of 5th grade boys at Second Baptist School, arrived at our front door with 19 boxes of children’s books! This all started when a young man named Fielden cleared all of the books he had outgrown from his room after Christmas. As he wondered who could use them he remembered his family serving at Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter downtown. He decided to give the books to the kids at Star of Hope.
Fielden and his mom met with Elizabeth Hatler, Manager of Volunteer Services here at Star of Hope. As he learned how much children who come to Star of Hope experiencing homelessness with their families would love to have books of their own, he decided to do a book drive with his friends at school. Fielden sent out letters to 25 or so of his friends, asking them to help. The 5th graders worked, and then their work was multiplied by a bunch 11 and 12 year olds, who caught the spirit and built the collection. Bags and boxes of books kept coming, as the kids’ and families’ excitement grew!
Last Thursday, Fielden and 15 of his teammates arrived in numerous SUV’s and swooped into our lobby with box after box of children’s books for our kids. After touring the Transitional Living Center, he asked the boys to take a moment to pray that God would use the books, then added, “Tebowing allowed.” In a wave, the boys dropped to their knees and prayed. Not only did they ask that the children at Star of Hope would benefit from their books, but that God would use them to draw the children closer to Him.
There are so many ways to help those experiencing homelessness in our city. We welcome your help in organizing food, clothing, school supplies, diapers, and yes…book drives for those seeking help at Star of Hope. Feel free to contact our Volunteer Services Staff to discuss how your family , church or corporation can help us in this way, as we meet to provide the needs of 1,100 men women and children each day!
• 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!
There are only a few weeks now until Thanksgiving and whatever plans we are making, they most certainly will include a gathering event focused on food! Fortunately for most of us, we’ve never really had to wonder where our next meal, or our Thanksgiving meal, was coming from.
Recently, a mother and her three teenage children staying at our Women and Family Emergency Shelter expressed deep gratitude for the meals provided by our generous supporters. She was moved to tears when talking about the compassionate care they were receiving at our Shelter.
She told us that before coming to Star of Hope, they were literally starving. One night, her three children shared one can of tuna fish, while she had to go without food. They decided to come for help, and she was so grateful to have good food for her kids and herself!
This Thanksgiving…when you pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask God to give you your daily bread, why not also include a prayer for families who you are helping feed during this holiday season? You can make a tremendous difference in the lives of families like this mom and her three teens, by giving what you can to provide meals to them.
Every year at this time, we are amazed and humbled to see how God uses so many of us in our community to come together to feed and care for our neighbors in need. Join us now, by making a gift and include them in your hearts and prayers during the Thanksgiving holidays.
Blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving!
Visit Food Donation Houston.
This exciting plan is set to the backdrop of ever growing homelessness in Houston. We are now experiencing as a community our 3rd year of record, serious overflow at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter at 419 Dowling, and something must be done! Our city, state, federal budgets are strapped and doing all they can, and we already work closely with over 100 health, housing, recovery, education, job training, and independent living partners in our city. VISION 2015 will take us to the next step.
It’s important to remember WHY we should serve those who have lost their way. God’s Word, in Jesus’ own words, teaches us in Matthew 25:31-40 that it is our duty and calling to love, feed, clothe and care for those in need, and in so doing, we are serving Christ himself. In our service, He changes lives! Watch this video of how a family has been restored; I know you’ll be as moved as I was:
And thanks to Bryan Bullington of the Pearland Chick-fil-A for hosting a donations drive and outdoor event at his store earlier this month.
If you want to serve on a long term basis, there is no better way than making a Legacy Gift to the Star of Hope. We all need to plan for our financial futures, and as you do, we want to invite you to consider including the Star of Hope in your estate plans. In this way, you can leave a lasting "Legacy of Hope" Gift to help accomplish the work Christ commanded us to do, for years to come.
If you’re interested in learning more, we have a new website with a WILLS PLANNER for your use. Visit sohlegacy.org. Review the various topics there, and click: “Plan Your Will” to get started. Also, we are having our 2nd Annual Planned Giving Advisory Council Luncheon coming up September 13th. Get more information and register today for this complimentary and informative luncheon. We hope to see you there!
Best Buy recently had a Splash Party at Star of Hope's Women & Family Emergency Shelter with slip-n-slides as well as a HUGE blow-up water slide! Every kid had a smile on their face that made their whole little demeanor glow. They were so happy – they were so childish --- and so perfect, exactly how God made them! Take a look at the following picture and you will totally see joy, silliness, and adventure! God is so good!
Visit Star of Hope Mission - Charity Houston
So what is Star of Hope doing about it? A LOT! This past Friday, we launched our SUMMER OF HOPE Initiative, to lead our community in reaching out and serving those who are homeless, so that we TOGETHER help them get back on their feet. Last year, Star of Hope served over 6,500 individuals during the year, about half the daily number we have today, at a rate of 1,000 people served per day. And this year so far, we have already served almost 30% MORE individuals and families who have come for help.
Star of Hope Mission has always sought to provide not just safe shelter, but proven programs all around our city, to help those who have lost it all, to find HOPE and a reason to live once again, to feel God’s love in their lives, and to once again achieve successful, independent living as productive citizens.
YOU can help us with your ONLINE GIFT right now, as we mobilize key initiatives to beat the heat and serve those on our streets!
Star of Hope’s “Love In Action Van” continues with additional daily routes around the city to distribute cold water and encouragement to street homeless, and transportation to Star of Hope for shelter. And we thank the I Am Waters Foundation for providing the 2,834 cases of water this will require.
As these come in for services, Star of Hope’s Program and Referral Staff are busier than ever serving this 30% larger population, helping them:
- meet their immediate needs
- get medical and family services partner referrals
- work through issues to restore their lives, income and a place to live
Can you help us today, with significant increase in needs in Houston this summer? Summer is when we need your help most, with the extra expenses of 300 children home from school we serve each day, and so many more adults needing help... all at a time when our donations are at an annual low due to summertime.
Most importantly, please keep us and all of these who come in your prayers. And make this a summer someone will remember as their SUMMER OF HOPE!!
OF THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS OF MINE, YOU DID FOR ME.”
-- spoken by Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew 25:40
Hank Rush's update from last week for some current stats concerning Houston's homeless population.
You can give help and hope today for the individuals and families in crisis who will come to Star of Hope Mission all summer long for assistance. We have launched a special Summer of Hope site to keep you updated on current Summer needs and opportunities for you to get involved. Take a look and help make this a Summer of Hope for Houston's homeless men, women and children.
Learn how you can get involved with Supporting Homeless Shelters Houston.
If you've been following my blog the past two years, you know that Star of Hope has served record crowds since 2009, with the greatest overflow occurring at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter downtown. We have averaged 50 per night on the floor, with peaks of up to 118 for the past two calendar years. It's clear that the economy and all the disasters around us are displacing more and more families.
I must say, the most troubling number released yesterday, however, is the 10,933 school age CHILDREN in Houston, who are documented by our Houston area public school systems to be living homeless.
It's clear we need to do more. For some families, housing and job assistance will help get them back on their feet and living independently again. For most however, the causes of their homelessness run much deeper, and they need more comprehensive services to recover.
Star of Hope has been serving Houston's homeless continuously for 103 years now...it is Houston's oldest and largest ministry for our most needy Houstonians. We have learned so much about how to lead our guests into a new and fulfilling life. And we are working harder than ever in our history to expand our services and partnerships to reach the growing numbers of those in need.
The good news is that Today Is A Day Of Hope for thousands of these in our community, as Star of Hope and over 100 other service partners in our community reach out to help them!
Want to help? Go to our website and check out Volunteer Opportunities, or make a financial gift today. Summer is here and the numbers needing help are extremely high.
Houston, we have a problem. But together, with God's help and blessing, we can make a major, and for many, an eternal difference!
by Elizabeth Hatler
On behalf of Star of Hope, I would like to extend special congratulations to Mark Camero and Kevin Sweat from Boy Scout Troop 642, which meets at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Few scouts would tackle such demanding projects or set such a high standard of excellence!
In addition to constructing large storage units for our Women & Family Emergency Shelter, Eagle Scout Mark Camero collected 1,408 children’s books. Many of the books were new and they all will provide many hours of reading fun and adventure for the children who come through our doors.
Eagle Scout Kevin Sweat designed and built a beautiful playground seating area and walkway for the Transitional Living Center. Parents now have the perfect place to watch their little ones and their children feel more secure to play, learn and explore with mom or dad watching over them.
What a blessing it’s been for our mission to have an opportunity to work with several other awesome scouts. This week, David Reeves delivered 15 wide, sturdy outdoor benches for the TLC cafeteria courtyard. Once he decided on a design and built a prototype, he had a small team cut the lumber on Day 1. He organized such a big crew for Day 2 that the project was completed in only two hours! These benches will circle the trees and provide clients with a shady place to enjoy our gorgeous weather.
Thomas Perez organized a party for children at the Transitional Living Center complete with Bible stories, crafts and refreshments. Of course, the children had a blast….so did Thomas and his team! Alex Collier also focused on the children and collected more than 800 books for five – thirteen year olds.
Our partnership with Eagle Scout candidates isn’t over – we continue to be tremendously blessed by these fine young men! Kendall Bruce is building benches for the Women & Family Emergency Shelter. And Brian Howell has designed a bench seating area to beautify the Yellowstone side of the TLC campus. His crew will be here in two weeks!
A variety of project options makes Star of Hope the perfect site for your next scout, corporate or team-building project. Contact the Volunteer Services Department to discuss a project for your group.
This coming Monday, hundreds of residents of Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter downtown, will have their feet washed, and new socks and tennis shoes fitted on their feet personally by local coaches and over 90 volunteers. Parents and their children ages 2 and up, all of whom are experiencing homelessness in our city and are presently residing at our Family Shelter, will receive this special treat.
Star of Hope thanks the NCAA®, Samaritan’s Feet, and Feed the Hungry, who together are providing these services on Monday for our residents, and at three other locations around our city on Tuesday through Thursday.
Star of Hope serves 1,000 homeless men, women and children daily, through its four locations and our many partner organizations around Houston. If you’ve never served with us, we invite you to come for a visit or VOLUNTEER with us soon.
There are numerous great free events that are part of Final Four Week here in Houston that you and your family can enjoy. I encourage you find out more at the Final Four website. And thanks, NCAA®, for the great week of service and fun for our community.
with Star of Hope at Volunteer Jobs Houston
Why do people throughout our community volunteer at Star of Hope? Just ask Ann, a retired social worker, about the benefits of volunteering.
Ann began volunteering in the Computer Learning Center at our Transitional Living Center in 2005. Although she loved helping clients who were eager to learn new computer skills, the timing just didn’t fit with Ann’s busy schedule. She moved to our Women & Family Emergency Shelter where she has been assisting with intake and referrals for our overnight guests ever since. Here’s an e-mail she sent to Latasha Smith, the CLC instructor with whom she worked:
Those lessons you taught me in Excel have come in handy. I am using Excel for a project that I am helping with at the Women & Family Emergency Shelter. Thanks for showing me how to do that! I guess you can count me as another Excel success! I would not know what to do at all without the lessons you gave me.
A flexible schedule and the opportunity to learn new skills are only two of the benefits that volunteering at Star of Hope can add to your life as you partner with us to serve Houston’s homeless men, women and children.
Learn more at Community Service Houston
Recently, while running errands, my husband pulled the car into a Chevron station. As he filled up the tank, my attention focused on the poster hanging beside each pump, which showcased the many ways Chevron volunteers contribute “human energy” to make our community a better place. Not only was I delighted that local Chevron volunteers were recognized, but also thrilled that Star of Hope was included – both the top, left- and right-hand photos were taken during Star of Hope projects.
We first worked with Chevron volunteers during their 2009 Humankind Week, and thus, a wonderful, new partnership was born. Throughout 2010, volunteers from Chevron’s Black Employee Network assisted in many areas, such as the kitchens at all three facilities and the Christmas Workshop.
During the sizzling-hot, triple-digit, Houston summer, it was a funny sight when several Chevron volunteers arrived for work all bundled up in heavy jackets, knit hats and gloves! But they came prepared to clean the walk-in freezer at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter. While they cleaned the freezer and others assisted with lunch preparations, several more volunteers baked a scrumptious treat. You can imagine the eager anticipation of shelter clients as the aroma of mouth-watering fudge brownies wafted through the air!
In the fall of 2010, Chevron groups celebrated their Humankind Week by working on major projects at Star of Hope. Volunteers at the Women & Family Emergency Shelter painted several atrium spaces and cleaned out storage areas. Working in shifts over two days, another Chevron group prepped and painted the iron fence surrounding the perimeter of the Men’s Development Center. Thanks to the generosity of Chevron and the hard work of their dedicated volunteers, we will spend less on facility maintenance and have many more dollars to directly help Houston’s homeless men, women and children!
We look forward to additional opportunities to partner with Chevron and the many other volunteers in our community who have a heart for the homeless. 2011 will be an amazing year as together we serve those in need.
Learn how you can help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope. Visit 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.
For the last 20 years, the Hard Rock Cafe has closed its doors on Thanksgiving Day. Although this popular downtown Houston eatery is closed to the public, the kitchen and waitstaff are quite busy. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving with their own families, everyone at the Hard Rock volunteers on their day off to host a gourmet dinner for clients at Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter and the Transitional Living Center. This year, the Hard Rock team was joined by another very special team – Head Coach James Dickey brought the University of Houston Men’s Basketball team to help. The UH players, still in their warm-ups after an exhausting practice session, autographed posters and visited with our families before heading inside to wait tables.
The UH basketball coaches and players weren’t the only Cougars waiting tables for Star of Hope clients during the holidays. UH athletic director Mack Rhoades was joined by his family as they helped serve Christmas dinner at the Men’s Development Center. Rhoades and his family set out desserts and filled drink glasses as they helped make special Christmas memories for men who are often forgotten.
"It's a very humbling experience," said Rhoades. "It makes you realize what you have and it's a blessing to be part of this."
Thanks to the UH Athletic Department for reaching out to Houston’s homeless men, women and children during the holidays! Merry Christmas and Go Coogs!
Just in the past 25 days, we’ve seen two sisters, who are teenagers in a family served by Star of Hope for several years now and who are seniors in High School, both accepted to attend college next fall. Both will be attending The University of Texas, one in Austin and the other in Odessa! What a huge blessing for any family, especially one which has had to overcome great difficulties.
We have seen five, 9-10 year old Cub Scouts raise enough money to provide 2,000 Christmas meals here at Star of Hope. See their story in our Star of Hope News Room. The meaning of Christmas to them?...helping others!
At our Women & Family Emergency Shelter and our Transitional Living Center Tree Lightings, we witnessed a chorus of families, recovering from homelessness, sing Christmas songs with great joy and thanksgiving. And our Men’s Development Center Christmas Commencement will be filled with the voices of men singing of God’s love for us through Christmas later this week.
Volunteers have filled our Christmas Workshop and carefully wrapped presents for our Clients, and donors are bringing blankets, clothes food and financial gifts. Parties and gift cards for our teens have been given. Pajamas and books for every 6-12 year old, carefully purchased and prepared by a local company.
I could go on and on. But what do you think is the greatest Christmas miracle of all? I believe it’s the way God chose to reveal himself to us…through a baby, His only Son…so simple, so heartfelt…everyone who chooses to believe in Him, can receive God’s love and forgiveness, a home in Heaven, and a purpose for their life here on earth. That’s it….God provided for us through His Love.
Thank you each and every one for your help, love and prayers for our homeless families this year. It has been another record breaking year of services in Houston with the economy the way it is. And we have gladly served, with your amazing help, through these times!
If you would like to help us financially, we’re still working to raise the final $1 million of our December goal, so we can continue to provide and serve in 2011. You can click on this link right now and make your donation safely and conveniently.
Blessings to you and your family this Christmas…may you personally feel God’s amazing love, forgiveness, and peace in your life this Christmas!
Help Houston's homeless men, women and families with Star of Hope now, by
Donating To Charitable Organizations Houston.
by Elizabeth Hatler
Imagine what it must be like to be out on the streets with no place to call home. Frantically, you search for shelter and a safe place to fall asleep. That’s when you remember that someone told you about Star of Hope. In desperation, you put your last two quarters in the payphone, hoping with everything you have left inside that you can talk with someone, that you don't get a recording.
Although most of us are used to automated telephone systems, navigating menus can be a frustrating process. And if this is the only call you can make, it’s even worse.
At Star of Hope, our goal is for every caller to reach a “live” voice – to get the help and answers each caller needs and deserves. To accomplish this goal, we opened a call center that is staffed entirely by volunteers.
No one has taken a more active role in the call center than our friends from Willis of Texas, Inc. About 30 Willis employees staff both the morning and afternoon shifts every Wednesday. Thanks to Willis and other call center volunteers, each call is promptly answered by a friendly voice that’s filled with compassion. Once calls are answered, volunteers remain on the line until callers receive the help they need - even praying with callers. Volunteers are not interested in the number of calls they answer, but in delivering the best possible service. It is far more than simply answering the phone, it is a ministry!
Our friends at Willis have been very generous with their time, and yet, found a way to do even more during the holidays. In addition to volunteering in our kitchens and at the Christmas Workshop, they also raised $5,550 to purchase gifts for moms and dads at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter and men in the recovery programs at the Men’s Development Center. Not only will there be gifts for the children, but for the adults, too. No one has been forgotten!
Through friends like Willis, we see how God meets all of our needs – not only at Christmas, but throughout the year!
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.
Well, our first miracle of the season happened last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. We were celebrating at our Men’s Development Center the graduation of men commencing from the Spiritual Recovery Program, for that month, and enjoying a Thanksgiving meal too. I am always moved to tears as I hear the graduating men tell the stories of their lives, how they fell to rock bottom, and how God has given them Purpose and Hope through Faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Six men told their powerful stories last Thursday…and I tell you, they were miraculous! What a way to start the holidays!
Then, right afterwards, I traveled over to our Women & Family Emergency Shelter to participate in their Thanksgiving program and meal. Just inside the front door, I was met by Ed, our Director of that facility. He greeted me with the biggest smile I’ve seen on his face, in the 2 ½ years I’ve known him. He said, “Hank, you won’t believe it. We have just finished our Thanksgiving service, and 12 guests of this shelter accepted Christ…just a few minutes ago!!!”
So Christmas started early for us this year, with 18 lives…totally at rock bottom and without hope or a way out, now celebrating with us on the day before Thanksgiving 2010, because they have given their lives to Christ and found new life and hope in Jesus Christ, God's Son.
I’d like to write to you every few days, to share the miracles as thy happen at Star of Hope, during these days leading to Christmas. Many of you -- hundreds and hundreds -- are volunteering with us in the coming weeks, conducting toy or clothing drives, doing projects in our facilities, hosting special guest services, or raising funds to help provide for our guests’ daily needs. AND, I’d like to invite you to share the miracles YOU SEE while you are here or as you engage with the Star of Hope! I know these will inspire ALL of us to have a giving spirit in all we do this Christmas. To share your experiences, you can comment on this Blog, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out every few days for updates on how “The 25 Days of Christmas” are going, here at the Star of Hope. Thank you for your love and caring, and for your special help at Christmastime. And if you have a chance, watch “Mrs. Miracle”…she’ll bring a sparkle to your holiday!