Editor’s note: As modern global elites champion powerful and defiant women, this series features Alaskan women who leavening the world with that particular love unique to the “genius of women.” Click the following links to read parts one and two and three.

Sherrie Laurie, center, with volunteers and clients of the Downtown Hope Center in Anchorage.

Sherrie Laurie was a FedEx pilot for 20 years before she felt called by God to face her fears and embark on a journey that would ultimately lead her to encounter, and love, some of the most vulnerable, neglected and abused women in Anchorage.

Watching her uncle succumb to LSD addiction on the streets of Seattle frightened Laurie in her youth, and she struggled to respond to him with love.

“He was dirty, he was smelly, he was weird,” she recalled. “LSD fried his brain, and I was scared of him. My family reached out to visit him, but eventually, tragically, he died on the streets.”

These heart-wrenching memories of her uncle led Laurie to pray for compassion and to find ways to help the homeless. In 2009 she organized a three day “tent event” on the Anchorage Park Strip, offering food, clothing, and shelter at night for anyone who needed them. After a few nights staying in tents with people who would be otherwise sleeping on the streets, Laurie’s eyes were opened to the particular needs and specific dangers faced by homeless women.

“The women were treated terribly -I knew I had to find a safe place for them,” she said. “If left alone on the streets, they were raped, they were beaten, they were trafficked. I knew they needed a place where their needs could be met, where they could be helped, and they would be safe.”

Unsure of where to begin to help women living on the streets, Laurie began volunteering at the Downtown Hope Center when it was a soup kitchen. Shortly thereafter, City Church donated $17,000 to add a shower house in 2013, and when the Spice epidemic plagued Anchorage two years later, Brother Francis Shelter asked the Hope Center if they could house women.

By 2016, Laurie had become director of the Downtown Hope Center, and she knew that beyond temporary housing, homeless women were often in need of assistance overcoming drug addiction and acquiring life skills so they could find jobs in order to get off the streets. She started a bakery just for women and a culinary school for men and women. Both schools are offered as part of a 16-week program aimed at sobriety, healing from drug addiction, job placement, and long-term stability. These programs have been so successful, they now have a 100% placement rate for graduates, and 14 of them are now employed by the Downtown Hope Center.

The Center is staffed by 28 employees who pray together each morning before embarking upon their works of mercy: serving over 400 meals a day through the soup kitchen, operating a shower house and laundry schedule, teaching classes, giving away clothing, and organizing prayer services with local pastors.

While the bakery is now self-sufficient through sales and catering, no state or federal dollars fund the Downtown Hope Center. Private donors and corporate grants are their primary means of support, which is in keeping with Laurie’s personal, Christ-centered approach.

“It’s all God’s work,” she said. “We have prayer services with our residents five days a week. Ultimately, true transformation of our lives is only possible with Christ, and so our goal is to be the compassionate Heart of Christ, period. With Christ, all things are possible.”

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AUTHENTIC ALASKAN WOMEN (Part 4): Sherrie Laurie brings Christ’s love to Alaska’s most vulnerable, abused women

Theresa Bird
Theresa Bird is a wife and homeschooling mother of eight. She earned her BA in Philosophy at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH. She lives in Anchorage.


  • John J Otness says:

    GOD Bless you Sister…

  • George g, says:

    your show blessed cuz your blessings the meek, hungry, homeless people at Alaska USA in return for your work for it’s God bless you ✝️⛪ and those that have been raped too.and amen thank you.+((.

  • George guest says:


  • C says:

    Thank you for all for having a willing servants heart to serve the people in our community that are on the fringe that desire help, a safe place, to learn life skills, and step out and become a blessing to our community. The assembly has made it hard for this organization for reasons I don’t know why. But maybe if they would take some advice from those who are serving with successful results, they could learn a thing or two.