When Petra thinks back to past Christmases with her children, she remembers hardship. “I have kids’ birthdays in October, November and December, so I’d save up for their birthday gifts. But that meant there was hardly anything left for Christmas gifts, and we could never...

Donnie knows what hunger—deep, gnawing hunger—feels like. “There are times in the past when I’ve gone two or three or four days without eating. It affects your mind along with your body.” He knows what homelessness is like, too. “Living in a tent camp is hard...

Angel is no stranger to the pain of homelessness. “It’s hard not knowing where you’re going to get your next meal . . . when you’re going to get your next shower,” she says. “You sleep with your shoes on because you don’t know when...

At age 35, Nick found himself living on a concrete slab outside of a school. Everything he owned was in a laundry basket. “I was a 96-pound methamphetamine addict. I was completely broken, completely shattered, completely without hope.” Nick’s heartbreaking struggles began when his mom was...

Only weeks after losing her mom, Brea—who’d struggled for years with drug addiction—was arrested and jailed. “I was addicted to heroin and deep into the lifestyle,” she says. “Life had been pretty bad for awhile but it finally came to this head-on collision.” Brea’s lowest point, though,...

It was a rainy day in February 2013. With only the clothes he was wearing, Chuck left the house where he’d been staying temporarily with one goal in mind: Find a downtown Des Moines drug house. But at the last minute he turned on to 6th...

Jennifer, 38, firmly believes that if she wasn’t at Hope Ministries this Christmas, she’d either be in jail . . . or dead.  “At the rate I was drinking, it could’ve killed me,” she says. “My whole life was chaotic.” Jennifer took her first drink at...

Though Keith struggled with addiction for much of his life, when he met his wife, he believed his life had turned around for good. “When I met her, I finally understood the meaning of the word love,” he remembers. But her tragic death just weeks...

My definition of love was all wrong,” says Cindy, describing the circumstances that brought her to Hope Ministries years ago. She had married a man much like her father – abusive and controlling. When she realized the relationship was preventing her from being the mother God...

Four years ago, Leland made a decision that he says "changed everything." But it wasn't the choice he originally intended to make. "I'd spent several days on the street. All I could think was, 'Why am I still alive?' I was out at a bridge, thinking...