On Sunday, January 4, 2015, two women loaded up their SUVs with non-perishables and, with children in tow, they drove to one of the most densely populated homeless areas in downtown Houston, Texas. Their mission was simply to provide food, friendship and encouragement to their community members in need. Upon their arrival, they were approached by nearly 100 homeless people who instinctively formed single file lines behind their trucks and patiently waited to make their way to the front of the line. After receiving what the families had to offer, the homeless men firmly shook the children’s hands, looked them squarely in the eyes, imparted words of wisdom and expressed genuine gratitude for the children’s service, while the women doted over them and shared stories of their own children.
Extremely moved by the stories they heard and the kindness they experienced, the women and their children shared their experience with family and friends. They received feedback that was both abundant and enthusiastic, so the following Sunday they returned with five SUVs loaded with adults, children, food and beverages. The new participants told their families and friends about their experience and the following Sunday a caravan of families arrived for duty.
In March 2015, a group of volunteers met and local restaurant, gave the organization a name, launched a Facebook page, and Direct HOPE (Houstonians Offering Purpose and Encouragement) was born.
Today, Direct HOPE is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with corporate partners, 100s of volunteers and donors, and 1,000s of social media followers, all of which are at the core of our success. Although we remain an organization that feeds warm meals to the homeless on Sundays, today our organization focuses on getting people off of the streets so that they can be integrated back into the community as productive citizens. To that end, our volunteers and partners provide to the homeless community resume and job interview assistance, as well as interview appropriate clothing. We also assist with their short-term and long-term transportation needs and provide support in locating housing and furnishing their new homes.
We Have Become Much More
Than A Warm Meal Every Week