Donald's Holiday of Hope

Houston Chronicle - Donald Driver stood before a group of families working to pull themselves out of homelessness. Eyes were glued on him, with people clinging to his every word.

Minutes earlier, Driver had stacked 50-pound boxes onto a dolly, pushed the haul up a ramp into the Star of Hope's Randy and Kathy Taylor Transitional Living Center and unloaded turkeys and hams into the facility's freezer so that some needy families would have one less thing to worry about this holiday season.

The food supplies, the $20,000 donation to the Star of Hope, the day spent making the rounds in his hometown, giving - he made a similar donation during a stop at Bible Way Baptist Church - are but a small portion of what Driver delivered on this day.

His presence. His heart. His story. Those count for so much more.

On Thursday, as Driver offered encouragement to those stuck in seemingly no-out situations or otherwise down on their luck, he did so with a passion that can't be manufactured.

Those moments take him to familiar places, to jagged memories. Rough times. Bad days. When his father was sent to prison. When his mother scrambled to feed her five children. When his family had no place to call home and spent nights wherever they could, including a month or so in a U-Haul parked underneath a bridge.

"Just knowing that he has been where you are … been through … can't tell you how much that means to us," said James Luaao, a Transitional Living Center resident. "You know that he knows."

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