The History of Point Hope, A Voice for Forgotten Children
THE EARLY YEARS
Many years ago, while broadcasting live in Philadelphia on a hot summer night; Delilah took her audience on an imaginary adventure to the coolest part of the country, Point Hope, Alaska, where the temperatures were 50 degrees cooler. The idea of this place offered relief from a hot and sweltering night.
The name of the town stuck with Delilah. In 1993, the original Point Hope was started as she met a homeless mother who was living on the streets with her kids and sleeping in cardboard boxes. Delilah started a street mission to distribute food, clothes and blankets to homeless people in Philadelphia, where she was still living. Delilaha’s main goal was to distribute information to people so they could make better choices for themselves and their children. Most of the homeless population lived on the streets due to alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness, as is still the case. Delilah’s friends and she would make tuna fish sandwiches and go downtown every Wednesday , hand out the sandwiches, as well as clothes they had collected, and distribute pamphlets with Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting schedules, as well as shelter locations for women and children.
When Delilah moved to Seattle in 1997, Point Hope went on hiatus as she focused on her own growing family. Delilah went from being a mother of two to a mother of seven in a short time span. Four of her children were adopted out of the foster care system, and she learned what a horribly abusive system it is. She advocated for change and spoke out against the status quo.
INCORPORATED IN 2004, FOCUSED IN WEST AFRICA
Then in 2004, something happened that further changed Delilah’s world. A single woman in West Africa wrote an email to Delilah from an internet cafe’ located in a building most of us would consider a shack. Delilah read the appeal from the woman. She was asking for help caring for her two starving children living in a town called Buduburam where there was a Liberian refugee camp in the country of Ghana.
Delilah felt God telling her she had to check out this story. She quickly learned the truth of what the woman told her. The United Nations had sponsored a refugee camp of Liberians since the first civil war of 1990. Initially over 80,000 people had come to the camp which was equipped for a population of 4,000; when Delilah stepped into that camp in May 2004, mere weeks after receiving that first email, she found more than 60,000 people living there. Instead of two little children needing help, there were more than 10,000. She also discovered there was no fresh, running water. Instead, children were being sent down inside sewage ditches to make a small pile of rocks and pebbles to filter the water, collect it and hand it up to the adults waiting in the line to collect it. Or, for those people who were able to afford the expense, water trucks would drive into camp delivering dirty water dredged from a nearby lake for a price. Water borne diseases were rampant and there were children dying daily. Point Hope was reborn in the U.S. and also assisted in establishing PointHope Ghana, its sister Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) needed for work in West Africa.
Today, Point Hope has grown from a handful of friends gathered around Delilah’s kitchen table making hundreds of tuna fish sandwiches for hungry families, to a non-profit organization that helps refugees in Buduburam and the surrounding district, helping the community there each month by nutrition, funds for education and access to medical care.
ALSO WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN AMERICA: Points of Hope
For many years Delilah has been an advocate for children in foster care, desiring that every child available for adoption be placed with his or her forever family and trying to find safe and nurturing family environments for those children not eligible for adoption. Since 2007, Point Hope has worked with organizations helping children in White Center, a district in West Seattle. In 2009, Point Hope began reaching out to help grassroots organizations, Points of Hope, helping foster children throughout the Pacific Northwest. It is our desire to grow this outreach throughout the entire United States, establishing partnerships with many Points of Hope.