Danielle Steele, famed romance novelist and Pacific Heights socialite, has lived a double life for many years, engaging in clandestine aid work for San Francisco’s homeless population. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Steele began to help the homeless after the death of her son Nick Traina, a 19-year-old who suffered from bipolar disorder and sang in such East Bay punk bands as Link 80:

“I started this during a very lonely, desperately unhappy time in my life,” says Steele, in a drawing room of her home. “After Nicky died, I went to church and prayed for a way to help. Nicky was always very kind to homeless people, buying them a sandwich or a pack of smokes. And ‘helping the homeless’ is what kept returning to my mind.”

Check out the story of Steele’s “forays” here.