r By David and Tanya Teams
Project Share began nearly four years ago with the compassionate idea of reaching out to help our neighbors in the local South Utah county area – those unfortunate neighbors who have found themselves in dire need, who have felt they had nowhere to turn. Seeing this urgency and despair, Shelly Erickson of Payson felt guided and compelled to do something to truly make a difference. Shelly saw the urgent need of local community members, people who were absolutely desperate, some even homeless, others who had lost incomes, or who suffer from mental illness, those who were elderly with no family assistance, and others who found themselves destitute after a divorce, or death of a loved one, families who were displaced and who had lost everything in a house fire, as well as countless other situations. Many of these impoverished neighbors had children that they were responsible for as well, making their situation absolutely critical.
The true love of Christ is Charity, and Shelly Erickson is a local hero who is filled to the brim with it. Nearly everyone who knows her would agree, and yet she is extremely humble. It takes a special kind of person to really step up and care enough to tackle a huge need like Shelly has done. With little resources of her own, due to their family living off of disability only, and struggling financially many months of the year themselves… the Erickson family, with Shelly at the lead, jumped in head first and they have not looked back. Project Share was born in Early September of 2013. With the motto of “People Helping People”, the Erickson family turned to the community to ask for help, starting by tackling one desperate situation at a time. Shelly began posting online asking those who could help, to fill the urgent needs of those who found themselves facing such circumstances. It began with donations of food, clothes, furniture, and sometimes money.
Project share has evolved over the years and has stepped in to offer assistance for hundreds of people. The response from the community has been unbelievably generous, even from the beginning. Over the almost 4 years of service, many people have helped in many different ways. Project share could not function without the many volunteers and the thousands of donations that are received. The neighbors step in and fill the needs without wanting anything in return. Project share is about people helping people, neighbors helping neighbors and families helping families. It’s about love and community. Many volunteers help with sorting clothes, packing food boxes for Christmas or Thanksgiving, they help with delivering items, and much more. Countless neighbors who help with donating food, clothes, and their time have become the lifeblood of this service.
Two of the big projects undertaken; and quite successfully, are the Thanksgiving and Christmas food hampers. With hundreds of dollars in food donated, and hundreds of hours in time, the community comes together each year to help those less fortunate, to brighten their smiles and uplift the spirits in these times of celebration.
Project Share has helped hundreds of folks right here in South Utah County when they felt there was nowhere else to turn. Project Share serves as a catalyst for the people, to open the hearts, the pantries, and sometimes the wallets of the community members to help those less fortunate. By doing only what the Savior would ask us all to do for our fellow man. Doing the Lords work is the real motivation behind Project Share. It’s Shelly’s Passion! It’s giving people that are in the most need a helping hand, a chance to start over, or a chance to have a little joy, brought about by the kindness of others. Life can change suddenly and leave any one of us in the sudden and unexpected need of assistance. Project Share strives to always treat the less fortunate with love, respect and dignity.
It is not unusual for those that have been helped by Project Share, in return, to step up and help others when they are able to do so. Without any strings attached, and not requiring a return of goods or services. It naturally becomes a circle of love, a pass-it-on kind of motivation. When a need arises, the Project Share call goes out, reaching out to the community for help. There are always dozens of good people that answer the call, with whatever they can do to help others. Many people help time and time again, some may even go without, to help another. Project Share is a true community service project.
Whether the need is for food, or for clothing for a child to start school, or a bed to keep someone off the floor; the contributions given to Project Share, are always given as gifts to the needy. Project Share loves and appreciates all of the donations that are received. And some of the biggest needs are with food, and anything that you can do to help is very much appreciated.
However, at this point in time, Project Share has a much bigger need. Project Share is outgrowing the Erickson family’s ability to handle it all from their home. Shelly would like to reach out yet again to hopefully find a couple of neighbors who would really like to be involved in this service. She is asking for someone to take over the clothing portion of Project Share, the Project Share Clothing Closet. There is a growing need for donations of clothing but Shelly has very limited space for everything that’s needed to continue providing this service. She is also in need of someone to take over the Project Share Shed that houses mostly furniture such as beds, dressers, table’s chairs, etc. Both of these service areas need a large space to function properly. The space should realistically be at least the size of a double car garage. It should be an area that is indoors away from the weather. Along with the needed space, is the need for someone who wants to help, and to continue this valued and needed service for our community. It requires someone who could work hand in hand with the Erickson family to provide for the local needs. If two generous people or families could step up and take over these two sections of Project Share, it would allow all of the areas to grow & provide even more support when and where needed.
If you are interested in donating, helping, or taking on the Clothing Closet or Shed, please reach out to Shelly. You can connect with Project Share through Facebook under Project Share – Payson Utah or by calling Shelly personally at 801-400-6896.rLove and Charity are Limitless – Project Share is a Labor of Love