Share began in 1979 when a group of compassionate individuals began serving the homeless and hungry of our community. A formal Board of Directors was developed in 1982, establishing a set of policies and procedures. In 1983, 501(c)3 status was granted by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Board began looking for a permanent home in 1985 and purchased a building at 1115 West 13th Street with 40 loans of $1,000 each. Many hard-working volunteers remodeled the facility, which opened in December of that year as Share House. The Forty Founders donated or were reimbursed for their investment in 1992, when the Washington State Housing Assistance Program awarded a grant to Share. The grant helped to build a new porch to shelter those waiting in line for a meal, installed a new roof and weatherized the house. In 1995, a Camp Fire Horizon group turned a $1,500 grant into a $10,000 project, completely landscaping the Share House grounds. The following year, the property received new carpeting and a walk-in cooler and freezer.
With the success of Share House, Share was able to expand their services. The Hot Meal Program has grown from 26,000 meals a year to over 125,000 meals—an unfortunate reality of those affected by hunger in our community. A Transportation Assistance Program was developed, with the assistance of local churches and Clark County, to provide individuals with gas vouchers and bus tickets. In August of 1993, a Resource Center opened to address the needs of individuals living on the streets. Now called Share Outreach, this vital resource provides showers, bathroom and laundry facilities, a place to receive mail, use a telephone, receive a hot meal and develop a relationship with a case manager who can link them to services that will help move them from the streets into stable housing. In 1996, Share expanded their shelter operation with the addition of Share Homestead and Share Orchards Inn, both providing shelter to families and single women.
Tragedy struck in 1996, when fire destroyed Share House. The local community answered the call for help, raising money, volunteering time and resources, resulting in the opening of the new Share House on January 4, 1999.
In 2000, Share began providing transitional and permanent housing for ten households through Share ASPIRE—Achieving Self-sufficiency Personal Improvement and Resource Education. This program has expanded dramatically over the past five years and now serves over 100 households and answered the State’s request to become a local resource to victims of hurricane Katrina and Rita who have moved to Clark County.
Share once again expanded its shelter operation in 2003, when Share Homes was opened to provide emergency shelter for up to 13 women. This program works in partnership with other agencies to provide emergency rental assistance, serving an average of 25 women each month. Note: due to funding cuts, Share Homes was closed in Jan. 2011.
In 2004, Share reached out to the children in our community with the Children’s Summer Lunch Program and the Children’s Backpack Program. In our community, 22,000 children are eligible for free or reduced cost meals through the schools. These programs, in partnership with Evergreen Public Schools and Washington State University Vancouver, were developed to address this alarming truth and provide meals for children in need when school doors are closed.
Demand for Share’s Outreach Program continues to exceed its capacity to adequately serve all those in need. The more than 1,800 clients who visit Share House each year—accessing restroom, shower and laundry facilities—combined with daily use by the 40 residents of Share House, has greatly exceeded the capacity of the building. In June 2007, Share began a public outreach process to share our Facility Improvement Plan and seek feedback from the community about how best our organization should grow to meet the on-going needs of the hungry, homeless and low-income in our community.
In 2009, Share purchased a building on Andresen Road that, once remodeled, will become the Share Fromhold Service Center, centralizing our administrative staff as well as house the ASPIRE, Backpack and Holiday Cheer programs, as well as the Volunteer Center.
In Feb. 2013, the Share Fromhold Service Center officially opened as the new home of: Share ASPIRE staff offices, Share Outreach Program, Share Volunteer Center, Share Administrative Offices and Warehouse for Share’s Backpack & Holiday Cheer Programs, plus storage space for donations.
Share believes in the importance of every individual as part of our community. We will continue to provide from the strength of our community to address the issues of hunger and homelessness in Clark County.