I am currently a first year student in the Graduate College of Social Work at University of Houston. Initially I didn’t know what to expect coming to intern at Star of Hope's Transitional Living Center. All I really knew about Star of Hope was that it is a “homeless shelter”. Little did I know that it is so much more.
From the first day I entered the building, I could feel the welcoming spirit of the staff and residents. I expected to see a scene like portrayed on television with beds everywhere, a dirty or unkept building, unprofessional staff, and sack lunches with who knows what in them. That was my little view, but my eyes were widened and my spirits were lifted when I realized how different Star of Hope is from what I expected.
I have been allowed to do intake interviews with clients, I have taught some personal development classes and introduced topics such as self care, stress management and relaxation techniques. I have sat in on the New Hope Recovery Program, I interact and even have lunch with clients in the wonderful cafeteria where there are three hot meals served and not the sack lunches I thought there would be. I have gone to the chapel service and witnessed women graduate from recovery programs.
Overall the intensity of my excitement has grown more and more each day that I am here. I feel so blessed with this opportunity. The Spirit of God is all around this place and it is for anyone who really wants help. Star of Hope helps clients using a non-judgmental and holistic approach. My faith, spiritual outlook and belief in God has been greatly increased and I am constantly reminded that God is there for us all.
There is a sense of peace and God’s constant presence in this atmosphere of kindness, consideration, respect and cheerfulness.
The scripture I would associate with Star of Hope is Mathew 11:28. "Come to me, all ye labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"
Star of Hope Mission Intern
I’ve been volunteering full-time at Star of Hope for over seven months now with a program called Mission Year. As we started working and learning the ins and outs of the Transitional Living Center, I never expected to be teaching one of the classes I observed during my first week here. But that’s exactly what happened.
Earlier today the other two Mission Year girls (Abigail and Carole) and I taught the personal development class about environmentalism. This is something that has been built into Mission Year’s program, and therefore placed on our hearts in our time with the program. Mission Year believes in living simply. That means having the mind-set of only buying/using what you need. Without the distractions of “stuff” you are left with more time for loving God and loving people; our ultimate call as Christians.
In teaching this class we hoped to open up the eyes of these women to what they can do to recycle and conserve, what caring for the world means in relation their faith, and simply open their eyes to the condition of America’s consumerism. We learned about the majority of these issues through a book called Serve God, Save the Planet that we study as a part of Mission Year.
This was definitely a new experience for me. Not only teaching a class, but teaching it to women who are up to forty years my elder! Most of the time I feel like the women I’m serving are speaking truth into my life more than I am into theirs.
They are continually thanking us for our time here and for the way we genuinely care about helping them. Every time someone thanks me all I can think is what a great example they are being and how I should go thank someone myself. I’m realizing more and more that Star of Hope has helped foster me as I’m stepping out into being an adult. The experiences I’ve gained in the past seven months don’t have price tags on them, they’re gifts from God.
Mission Year Student
Star of Hope’s Extended Services Department appreciates volunteers! The New Horizons and New Haven programs, as well as our Outreach program, offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities. And, we are so excited to have volunteers serving in the following capacities:
- Blessed Breakfast: Groups of 5-10 volunteers come and serve a continental-type breakfast to the clients of our New Haven program and offer a time of positive social interaction and bible study as well.
- Experiential Moments: Volunteers serve to bring NEW and interesting topics to the clients of New Horizons and New Haven — family game day/night; catered holiday meals; choir presentations; self-awareness classes; creative writing/journaling; sponsors for those in recovery; encouragement and more!
- Educational Opportunities: Volunteers facilitate classes in budgeting; home management; life-management; tax preparation; nutrition; homework help for school children…the list is endless.
- Outreach/Neighborhood Community Events: Festivals and fairs across the city to raise awareness of Star of Hope services, offer community support and bring the Gospel to those living in low-income areas of the city. Many of our program clients and Alumni attend the Outreach and Community events as well.
Our staff think volunteers are SO important that we created DEPARTMENTAL goal for 2013 that reads:
“Extended Services staff will work closely with Volunteer Services to utilize volunteers to the fullest capacity; assisting clients and consumers to build/improve life skills and job skills for successful independent living.”
We have so many more ideas and ways volunteers can serve our clients. Volunteers MEAN SO MUCH to our clients. . .and, to the staff serving the clients. We cannot do all that we do without YOUR help.
What are you waiting for? Volunteer today!!
In February, Dr. Rob Dickinson, Medical Director of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Executive Health, Wellness, and Corporate Medicine Programs, joined the Star of Hope volunteer team. We quickly recruited Dr. Dickinson to work with the ladies in our New Haven program. These are women who cope with mental illness and with the supportive services provided by New Haven, are living independently. Each month, the ladies now have the opportunity for a “Health Chat with Dr. Rob.” The following are excerpts, shared by permission, from emails Dr. Rob sent to Star of Hope staff after those chat sessions. In the coming weeks, Dr. Rob will share his thoughts through his own guest blogs.
Monday, February 25, 2013: We have completed the first two sessions and have been able to provide some useful information to the women who attended. I have been fielding many mental health related questions as well as some such as, "What's this rash?" All are welcome. As I had expected, this really is a lot of fun for me and I appreciate the opportunity to serve your clients.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013: We had a good turnout at Perry last time with a lot of great questions. We almost ran out of chairs! Many brought their meds for review and the discussion was lively. I continue to be humbled by the multiple problems these women have battled in their lives. If you ever had any doubt that Star of Hope makes a difference, you can lay that worry aside. I see the changes in your clients at every session. As they regain their dignity and self-reliance in a safe environment, they are able to manage their mental health issues much more effectively. I'm a pretty happy guy naturally, but I always leave our sessions happier than when I went in. And grateful for the opportunity.
My favorite saying: "Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God" Thank you, Dr. Rob, for helping our New Haven clients experience the presence of God through joyful living and improved health!
by Star of Hope Friends
I love my job, and I know that I am blessed beyond measure to actually get paid to do what I should already be doing as a follower of Christ: caring for others, and pointing them to the gospel. My clients constantly thank me and my co-workers for serving them each day, and we feel honored and undeserving to do so.
As much as our clients know that we care about them and love what we’re doing, they have a special appreciation for the men and women who come to serve them as volunteers at Star of Hope. Knowing that these people are getting nothing in return, (nothing tangible, that is) our clients truly feel loved and supported by the community.
Throughout the four gospels, we see countless examples of how the Creator of all things lowered himself, came to earth in human form, and served those who were not able to give him anything in return. In the ultimate act of service we experience a peculiarly lopsided transaction, in which God’s son takes our sin and shame, so that we might receive his righteousness. When I think about the volunteers who serve the ladies in our New Haven Program, Luke 12:48 floods my mind.
“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
The Lord has fulfilled our greatest need in Christ, so how much more should we selflessly give to others our time and service? The time that volunteers spend with our clients is absolutely invaluable, and greatly contributes to their growth and healing process.
Thank you to each and every volunteer for serving at Star of Hope, your kindness truly shows others the love of Christ!
I would like to thank South Main Baptist Church for inviting me to be apart of your monthly Sunday School Class fellowship luncheon. It was a real treat and the lunch was delicious! What a blessing and privilege it is to share the “good news” in how God is working in our clients at the Star of Hope Mission.
The word of God reminds us in Romans 10:15, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news?" I hope the information provided about our facilities, specialized programs and outreach opportunities demonstrated that we are a Christ-Centered community dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless men, women and children.
Thank you once again and may God continue to bless you for being a light of hope! Looking forward to partnering with you for future outreach events.
Have a Happy Easter and may it be as bright and colorful as the decorations and the sweet hospitality that was displayed!
"Outreach" is defined as an activity of providing services to populations who might not otherwise have access to those services. As the new Outreach Coordinator with Star of Hope it has been a privilege and a blessing to serve as an agent in providing our community partners and those in need with services that provide a source of hope, strength and life changing results.
Matthew 25:40 states, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" This scripture reminds me that we are to have the heart and the spirit of Christ as we share His love to the least of these. For almost 8 months I have worked with various churches and agencies in providing resources and information about the programs and services that the Star of Hope Mission offers.
In January, Star of Hope Outreach partnered with Heights Interfaith Ministries to organize our first “Light of Hope Festival.” 65 volunteers served about 150 of our neighbors from the surrounding community and supplied soup, snacks, drinks, food, warm clothing and carnival-type games and activities in the Heights community. Lakewood Church sponsored a day of fun and pampering families and singles living in our programs on February 9th.
We have also developed cooperative relationships with St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Zion Lutheran Church and the City of Houston. We are excited about the wonderful events and activities we have planned for 2013. We pray you will join us in being the hands and feet of Jesus as we bring hope to our city. For more information about the Outreach Department feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be homeless during your birthday? Usually, when I think of my own birthday memories, I think of friends and family together, a nice restaurant, conversations and laughter. But my children’s memories of past birthdays are not so great. It used to be that their birthdays at the shelter would go by almost unnoticed. We would give them a voucher to get a present from our toy room, but that was about all we could do.
That is not the case anymore. For about two years now, a group of teenagers from St. John’s High School comes faithfully at the end of each month. They transform our classrooms into birthday party lands: balloons, crafts, goody bags…even a piñata! The kids come into the classroom excited to see the decorations. They decorate their goody bags and get ready to break the piñata and share candy. Then the birthday kids step up to the middle of the classroom as we all sing happy birthday. Some of the birthdays kids get teary eyed when they hear their name in the birthday song. Some of them cover their faces with embarrassment (they’re so cute!) Then the birthday kids help our volunteers cut the cake and distribute it to their classmates. During the blessing of the food, we all say grace and thank God for the fun, the food, and the laughter of that day.
Yesterday afternoon, as I was making sure to inform parents that we were going to celebrate March birthdays that evening, one of the birthday kids in particular touched my heart. He was a new kid and didn’t know we celebrated birthdays at Star of Hope.
When I told him and his mom to make sure to come to our programs at 6pm because we were going to celebrate his birthday, he said “For real? Man, us birthday kids are going to have fun!”
“...But,” he said to his friends with a look of sadness, “if we were having it at my house, I would invite all of you to come.”
“They can come, Jack,” I clarified. “Everyone is invited.”
His face immediately lit up and he shouted to everyone in the classroom “Hey, you all! It’s my birthday tonight! I want all of you to come!” The goodness and generosity of our kids never ceases to amaze me. Here was this kid who had no idea someone was going to do something special for him for his birthday. But he was not worried about whether or not he would get a present, or what kind of cake he was going to have (as most kids his would be). What he was worried about was being able to share all those cool things with his friends.
Jack had a wonderful time last night. He cut the cake and passed it out to all his friends. When he was done serving his friends, he asked the volunteers if they could help him cut some more pieces. The volunteers told him everyone had been served. “I know,” he said to them. “But I want you to have some too.”
...Best birthday party memory ever.
I would like to give everyone an update on our GED program at the Star of Hope Men's Development Center.
We have a great group of volunteers that comes faithfully in the evening to assist our clients. Now we have also added two teachers in the morning to help with additional preparation for our GED clients.They have been a great addition. Two clients, Alvin and Gary, received their GED in March 2012.
We thank the Lord for blessing our GED programs throughout the mission.
Men's Development Center
Before being homeless, a usual day for many of the women at Star of Hope started normally. As the sun crept through the window curtains, they would rollover stretch, wash their face to help fight the sleepiness,make breakfast and send their kids to school with the best foot forward, rush to take off the mommy clothes and put on something professional, head to work 5 minutes late, work hard, but happily go home and greet the kids with a big hug from school. Together they would make dinner and wait for daddy to get home. When he did their would be a chill in the air and his wife would try her best to lovingly greet him with a kiss. As she walked away she would breath a small sigh of relief because this time he didn't hit her.
Many of the battered women who are fleeing for their lives have the most admirable qualities. They are hardworking, loving, faithful, great listeners, and loyal. They are just married to someone who reciprocates all of those amazing qualities with physical abuse. Honestly, they might think this is normal. It could have been the "father and mother" relationship their families have witnessed for generations.
Thank God, one day they realize there is something better, they load the kids on the midnight bus, head states away to a shelter they have only seen on the internet, and pray their husband never finds them. Once they get to Star of Hope they are greeted lovingly and begin making a new life free of abusive relationships, breaking the generational bondage, all through much counseling and personal development programs.
The fleeing parent isn't the only one who gets emotional counseling and life advice at Star of Hope. The children do as well. Showing and telling kids what is acceptable in relationship starts at a young age. After all, one in three women in this country are abused and it isn't a matter to take lightly or keep hidden from kids.
In closing, I do know that ending violence against women has much support in the Houston community, as well as in the nation. The 2nd World Conference of Women's Shelters this past week had several big names such as, Reese Witherspoon, speaking on the urgency of ending violence against women. As well as, educating children on what constitutes as harassment not only in person, but on social media and different internet forums.
I thank those who are willing to speak on the issue, as well as, praise the ladies who have gotten out of those relationships. In adding, to their admirable qualities they have courage the size of a tree.
Star of Hope serves as a shelter for battered women. Interested in volunteering?
I was living the American dream. I had a good job, a family, a home with a white picket fence and a dog. By the standards that I grew up around, I was supposed to be happy and complete. But that was not the case. I went from living the American dream to chasing it, making more money, getting larger homes, moving up the corporate ladder, needing more external things to make me feel whole.
By the time I reached my forties, material things were not working any more. I had thoughts like, “Is this all there is to life?” I had reached the annual salary that I thought would make me content, but it didn’t. I had the job title that I thought would bolster my self-esteem, but it didn’t. And I had a big home and the right kind of cars that I thought would increase my self-worth, but they didn’t.
I became increasingly unhappy, and there seemed to be nothing that would fill the emptiness within me. Medication helped my symptoms but didn’t take care of the root problem. I soon became more reliant on the drugs to numb the way I felt and, of course, they, too, quit working.
My American dream was crumbling. Depression had taken hold and was affecting me as a husband, father, employee, and so on. Then my father passed away and a close cousin committed suicide.
I began a downward spiral into deep depression and heavy use of prescription medication. I lost my job, got divorced, and my family moved away. Finally, I lost my home and, along with it, my will to go on.
A friend of my sister suggested the Star of Hope. I arrived at the Men’s Development Center a beaten man. I felt like a failure. I could not forgive myself, and from my limited knowledge of God, I believed He would not forgive me either.
But at Star of Hope, I had Christian role models around me teaching me about the Bible. I came to understand that God promises to care for all my needs, and I have seen that God keeps His Word. He gave me food, water, shelter and an opportunity to develop a relationship with Him.
I will never forget the night in Chapel, when I decided to submit my life and will to God, by asking Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. It was the start of a new beginning for me. I experienced the most peaceful moment of my life, and I felt whole, again. But this time I didn’t have money, the job, the family or any of the things of the world. All I had were the things God provided for me: a few articles of clothing, food and water, a bed, His love and His promises—promises like, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And “I know the plans I have for you; plans for your welfare and not calamity; to give you a future and a hope,”
At Star of Hope, I was always encouraged by the staff. I have learned to do the same for others. I can give back to Star of Hope by helping those coming through the program and encourage them to finish it. I am involved in the alumni group whose purpose is to continue to build our community, be spiritually transformed, and to give back through service work.
Today, my family is being restored, I am employed, again, and I have my own place. I am a new man, complete, lacking in nothing. Today I am the father, son, brother and christian man God designed me to be! I give back to the Star of Hope by being a volunteer in ACTS Ministry which is the alumni program. I am eternally grateful to the Star of Hope for being a part of my recovery, and making it possible for me to be where I am, living the great American dream through Jesus Christ.
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.
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.
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.
Donation Opportunities Houston
Volunteer Opportunities Houston
• 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!
Below is the Hope for Houston’s Homeless video we showed that night. If you were there, please watch it again. If you missed the Banquet this year, you’ve got to see this. And if you’re new to Star of Hope, you’ll feel the spirit of Hope only God can bring to a life.
by Scott Arthur
This week Star of Hope has three good reasons to “Thank God It’s Friday.” Starting early Friday morning 93Q (92.9), The Eagle (107.5) and Country Legends (97.1) will each broadcast two commercials an hour featuring testimonies of men, women and children that were homeless and have had their lives changed by the recovery programs at Star of Hope.
This “Day of Hope” was inspired by a recent Community Partnership between Cox Media Group and the Houston homeless mission. The main goal is to help listeners realize that our city’s Homeless are not necessarily represented by the man at the intersection with a sign but more likely by the more than ten thousand “Hidden Homeless” ….women, children, men, families sleeping in cars or camp grounds or abandoned buildings … too proud to seek help yet too desperate not to.
Faith-based Star of Hope provides shelter, food, spiritual guidance, life changing recovery programs and day services to about 1,100 of these men, women and children EVERY DAY.
Friday, tune into your favorite Cox radio station to hear real life testimonies and find out more about how our 105 year old organization helps God change lives.
As I am sitting here in my office, taking a deep breath and thinking back over this past year, I am amazed and humbled at all God has done in our community through the Star of Hope.
Record numbers of people have become homeless in Houston this past year, and as a result, Star of Hope has served more individuals than ever before in our 104 year history this year. Immediate needs met, safety, a place to sleep, clothes, showers, food, a note card of encouragement from a volunteer, a counselor and longer term programs to help begin putting life back together…all offered to each one in an environment filled with the love of Christ.
I am reminded about the young man in his 20’s who graduated from our Men’s Development Center this past summer, who had been left on the doorsteps of a hospital in his home town when he was only 6 weeks old because his mom didn’t want him. He had struggled with the sense that he didn’t belong or have a home his whole life. But here at Star of Hope he “came home” to Christ and found new purpose and his eternal identity in Him. Or the young 15 year old girl, who came to us with her family, two years behind in school because of all the moves the family had made the prior couple of years. Through our Stars of 2morrow Teen Ministry this young lady caught up in school and graduated from high school in the top 7.5% of her class this past spring. She is at the University of Texas this Christmas on a scholarship! And there are hundreds of other stories just like these, inspiring and life-changing, all because Houstonians like you CARE.
A month ago, the children of the Yellowstone Academy Middle School held a fundraiser for Star of Hope, and together raised $176.28 to give to children less fortunate than themselves here at the Star of Hope. These precious children, whose families’ average income is about $10,000 per year, came on a school bus and joyfully brought us their Christmas gift.
Yesterday, a young man named William rode a bus to downtown from a west Houston grocery store where he works as a sacker, then took a train from downtown to the Medical Center, then a cab to Star of Hope, to bring his $200 gift he had been saving up. He does not have a car, but wanted to bring his Christmas gift in person this year somehow, some way.
So I am humbled at how God uses it all…our gifts, our volunteer hours, our staff and facilities, and most of all, our prayers to change and restore lives from the depths of despair, to heartfelt joy once again.
From all of us to you, thanks for making this all possible! We look forward to serving our community, with you, in 2012.
Visit Volunteer Opportunities Houston and Donation Opportunities Houston today!
Like Star of Hope on Facebook and see more pictures from 2011.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us know that our hope is not found in man, the gifts others give, but in the 'baby' that came so that we may truly know the hope of man!
Christmas is a joyous time for many...but, for those struggling financially and emotionally, it can leave them with little or no hope. The Star of Hope--its staff and programs--are here to show guests and clients of the true Star of Hope--Jesus Christ.
For nearly 20 years, we have had the Adopt-a-Family Christmas Program for those who have left our programs and may be struggling their first year or two out on their own. Church groups, families, and companies call asking to help make Christmas special...it is no small miracle that these families and individuals who need help receive bountiful blessings of gifts, support and love from perfect strangers!!
This week, I received an email from someone in need. Here is some of what she wrote:
"I was married on October 5th, 2011...just a few months ago. We found out I was pregnant shortly thereafter...my "husband" told me on November 5th that he no longer loved me, and did not want to be married to me...I was living the fairytale until we moved into our home just a week after being married...He has no concern now for me, Clayton (her 8 year old son), or our unborn child...I am completely in a bind and don't know what to do about Clayton's Christmas. The reason that I am so concerned is that I have always been able to provide him a very good Christmas from Santa. It breaks my heart that because I put my trust in a man my son is now suffering."
This story is all-too-common. Mothers and their children are spending Christmas looking for a safe place to stay...someone to care...some hope...
Through the generosity and gifts of donors and volunteers...*Sherry and Clayton--and, her unborn child--will be blessed with gifts and love this Christmas.
I think back to that first "Christmas" night...a pregnant woman carrying the HOPE of the world...And, that is what we celebrate this time of year.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him 'Immanuel'--which means 'God with us.'" Matthew 1:23
*Names changed to protect privacy/confidentiality.
Discover ways to give at Donation Opportunities Houston.
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.