GUEST COMMENTARY: Hilcorp employees give hope to Downtown Hope Center
As the Downtown Hope Center continues to evolve and serve our community, Hilcorp’s people have given us much to be thankful for.
The Downtown Soup Kitchen began more than 30 years ago in a garage, fueled by a vision to share the love of God with Alaskans in need. Operating out of a little red house on 4th Avenue, we provided nearly 300 cups of soup each day to homeless and low-income individuals and families. In a little yellow A-frame next door to the soup kitchen, we offered hot showers, laundry services and clothing donated by the community.
Funded primarily by individual donors and churches, we expanded our facility and services in 2012 and moved into our current location on 3rd Avenue. Today we provide women’s shelter service, culinary and bakery training, meals, laundry facilities and clothing to those in need.
The generosity and commitment of Hilcorp’s employees have certainly helped along the way.
We’ve received numerous monetary donations through their Giving Fund program as well as in-kind donations to better serve our clients.
Last winter their Anchorage employees conducted a sock drive that rendered more than 1,200 pairs of socks for those in need. They also showed up on our doorstep with nearly 2,000 pounds of peanut butter and jelly. We serve hundreds of PB&J sandwiches every week, and with Hicorp’s help we were able to do so with little expense for many weeks.
Hilcorp’s employees have silently and graciously blessed our center without expectation of recognition or reward. They simply want to give to those in need and continue to work with our staff to help fill the voids. In return, we do our part to keep expenses low while aiming to increase our impact in the community.
Hilcorp’s model seems quite similar. They drive costs down but continue to invest heavily in the fields they operate. I’ve read a lot about Hilcorp since they came to Alaska, and one thing seems true, they do know how to increase production in old oilfields.
Through the lasting cold snap this winter, I’m grateful for Hilcorp’s investments and their commitment to serve Alaskans’ energy needs first. Without Hilcorp we may not have the affordable energy that allows us to provide warmth and shelter to 50 women in need, every night, year round.
As Hilcorp works toward purchasing BP’s assets here, I hope the state and others see the same great things that I do in Hilcorp. They are a driven company staffed by hundreds of Alaskans that care about giving back in their communities.
I certainly look forward to working with the good people of Hilcorp in the future and to continue giving those in need a hand up and out of homelessness.
We as a community and a state should look forward with anticipation and expectancy of a bright future as Hilcorp explores ways to bless and build our community.
Sherrie Laurie is the executive director of the Downtown Hope Center.