Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless by Danielle Steel

I kept having thoughts that I needed to read this book "A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless". It was tucked inside one of my cabinets after being given to me as a gift many months ago. I was finished with all of the novels that I had on my to-do list for different publishing companies, and for once in a very long time I could pick a book of my own.

At first I thought this book was going to be a novel but as I started reading I immediately discovered it is a memoir by Danielle Steel, not a novel. The foreword and chapter one really yanked hard on my heart strings, I discovered it is a book about how Danielle Steel got a group of people together to distribute supplies to the homeless. They had a small team at first, which sounded like it grew into a multicultural team.

Danielle’s team distributed items like sleeping bags, coats, and socks and they later added some other items. Over time they decided to try to reach much more people and as they increased the supply the amount of homeless people that also came into their lives also increased.

I have encountered invitations to distribute food to the homeless in hardcore areas and I was not sure what the experience would be like so I didn’t go forward, even though a part of me wanted to. I imagined people coming together to make peanut-butter sandwiches that some of the homeless people might be allergic to, or ham sandwiches that they might have had a conviction not to eat. In most cases, about 50-75% of the homeless people I have run into at safer places will not eat pork, even if it's the only thing available to eat, and I don't blame them because it's not very healthy.

This book opened my eyes to the fact that you need to be careful when you are trying to reach out to the homeless in certain areas, but if you are very careful you can reach some homeless people who will be very fortunate to receive what you have to give them. Some areas were too dangerous for Danielle’s group to work in. She talks about what dangerous things happen in some of the more dangerous places that the homeless reside; Danielle’s group tried to stay away from those places. They had a couple of off-duty cops helping them also, so in that way she sometimes felt safer. They also tried not to go to places where there were large groups of people because they could be put in danger if they ran out of stuff.

Although it sounds like Danielle’s group is currently not reaching out to the homeless I believe I heard a heart wrenching cry come from inside of her to help get the attention of many people to help the homeless, in whatever way(s) God puts upon people’s hearts to do so.



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