We have a wealth of gratitude for the time, energy and talent given daily to Hillcrest Hope by church sponsors, volunteers, and donors. Moreover, their generous financial contributions help enable us to fulfill our mission of building sustainable families. This May, we hosted our first annual gratitude brunch to thank the folks that have been such an integral part of our mission and journey.
Those in attendance listened to the prepared words of Patsy Beltzer, co-founder of Hillcrest Ministries. This heartfelt story, relayed by close friends Jim and Kathy Dunn, chronicled Patsy and her husband Ben’s journey through disappointment, loss, and humility. The Beltzers believe the rocky road they traveled on early in life was actually the work of God; their minds and hearts became guided towards the importance of providing for the less fortunate through transformational housing.
Through their own turmoil and sacrifice, the Beltzers began to fully understand the need for help in their community. The First Presbyterian Church in Liberty, where Ben and Patsy were members, rallied around them and became the hands of Christ. Support from their church inspired the Beltzers to consider what they could do in their own town to provide support, stability, and hope to those struggling around them.
In 1977, the Beltzers made the commitment to begin a housing ministry in Liberty. Patsy shared that the name Hillcrest came from the original property they were interested in buying. While the sale did not go through, they kept the name because the letters of Christ can be found in the name Hillcrest.
Members of the First Presbyterian Church of Liberty (from the time the Beltzers attended), joined us for the gratitude brunch. Long-time donors, pastors of our sponsoring churches, and so many more in the community were invited so we could express our thanks for their commitment to help transform lives through our housing program.
Trisha, a 2012 Hillcrest Hope graduate, shared her story at the gratitude brunch, asserting that “I am the new face of homelessness.” A college graduate, with goals and aspirations, she found herself in an abusive marriage. She was terrified to leave, but knew she could not stay. Trisha, pregnant and alone, fled the marriage and found safety at a local shelter. There, she learned of Hillcrest Ministries and the opportunity to rebuild her life. She began her journey at Hillcrest Ministries with $3.93 cents to her name. She worked hard, budgeted carefully, and to this day, lives debt free.
“Your support represents safety, resources … it gives life. It is hope restored in mankind,” Trisha shared. “Hillcrest allowed me to heal and rest. We get to become victors and no longer victims.” Trisha’s powerful story is unique to her, yet her message of hope is one of many we hear at Hillcrest Hope.
We remain faithful to the Beltzers’ vision of the organization. The roots that established that “all people, men, women, and children, are created equal and loved by God, all people should be treated with dignity, all people should have the basic necessities of life that includes food, clothing and housing, and all people should be given the opportunity to get on their feet and to provide for their families.” With these words guiding our path, we look forward to our future at Hillcrest Hope, planted in a community that continues to provide us the opportunity to grow in our ability to serve the working poor.