Director of Project SHARE: Evan Hendrix
A little over a year ago, Shepherd House Ministries launched Project SHARE, which stands for Shepherd’s House Aid and Relief Effort. Recognizing the need for something mobile, to meet, serve and most importantly LOVE people where they are – whether that be shut-in their homes, on the streets, in homeless camps or in the newly formed Bend Shelter. Over the last 12 months this program has become a vital part of serving our community and offers many ways to get involved and help out. We sat down with Evan Hendrix, the Director of Project share to learn more.
Evan, Why is Project SHARE so important to Bend Community?
I love this question. Project SHARE connects directly with people who are currently unhoused to provide basic needs such as food, water, clothing, and access to other emergency resources. We meet then where they are and try to assist however we can. Additionally, we work to build trust and relationship with the hope of connecting each individual to the necessary resources they desire in order to move toward a healthier and more connected lifestyle. That could be getting them into a shelter, a recovery program, connecting them with counseling services, etc.
Why should someone want to give their time to Project SHARE?
People who volunteer with Project SHARE have a genuine desire to meet people in their current circumstances in order to know and care for them. The experience of learning first hand the stories of unhoused individuals and the realities they face regarding mental & physical illness, unhealthy addiction, and ongoing trauma is life-changing. You may think you understand, but we all make assumptions and spending time with these individuals, recognizing that they have the same desires as you to – to be seen, to be heard, to be loved – opens your eyes and hopefully your heart.
What has surprised you over the last year in working with Project SHARE?
The most surprising aspect of the work is learning that their stories are not all that different from my own. The primary difference between our current realities is simply my having benefitted from more privilege and suffered less trauma in my life. They are hard working, care for one another and for me, are incredibly resilient, and generally desire a healthier lifestyle similar to what many of us enjoy. Most of these people simply never had a first chance at life. They have endured brutal trauma and abuse throughout their lives and are simply doing the best they can with what they’ve received.
How has Project SHARE impacted you?
Working with Shepherd’s House and Project SHARE has impacted me by revealing the many biases, judgments, and irrational fears I have held regarding the reality of unhoused people. My hope is that as these defects in my own being are revealed I am able to remove them and become a more gracious, empathetic and caring individual with a greater capacity to love people as they are and where they’re at in their journey. I truly believe that if we can all participate in this kind of work and process of transformation we would enjoy a healthier, more connected, and more beautiful world.