The party is dying down as Stephany and I step away from the crowd and into a hallway lined with lockers. A mother of four, she was volunteered for an interview by the staff of her 6th grader's elementary school. Her son, Andrés, is soon to be awarded Student of the Year honors for his hard work in Advanced Placement programs. She couldn't be more proud.

Ends rarely do more than meet for this family. When one of Stephany's children wants something, it goes on their Christmas list — no matter what month it is. The holiday season is their best chance to reward success and celebrate the year as a family. But on their budget, even that plan is a stretch.

Night of Hope put the perfect bow on 2017 by giving them a chance to rejoice.

God Bless Us… Everyone

Every recap video leaves hours of footage on the cutting room floor. Dozens of interviews stay my personal secret, shared only by the person you'll never see on camera. That choice is a painful one, but in the end I choose to show you the people who best summarize the experience of the breadth of individuals who will share their thoughts with no one but the camera.

Members of the L.D. Bell Football team pose for a picture after the final Night of Hope party in 2017.

Stephany isn't alone. She's simply the most articulate expression of the way Night of Hope touches hundreds of families every year. In the course of 4 nights, I met families who shared her exhilaration if not her exact experience.

A relocated father and son shared their first Christmas in HEB in the cafeteria of Viridian Elementary. A retired Trinity High School science teacher took charge of volunteers from L.D. Bell's football team. A member of Foundation Baptist Church relished the chance to “step outside [her] front door in HEB and make a difference here.”

No matter who you are or what role you played in Night of Hope, you were part of the magic. Not because you helped to conjure Christmas presents or turkey dinners where there were none. What you did was more difficult. More fantastic. More powerful.

You put in the work to turn strangers into neighbors and neighbors into friends.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.