Salt Lake City — John Hansen and his 10-year-old son Chase search the streets of Salt Lake City every weekend for the perfect person to take to lunch. Their only requirement is that the person is homeless.
They started Project Empathy four years ago, to share a meal with someone, listen to their story and figure out how they can help.
“The homeless took me in more than the people I actually knew here,” said one homeless woman named Monique.
Chase and John’s meeting with her was brief and John said it might be hard to keep in touch with her.
“Sometimes you can’t, it’s a challenge. There’s oftentimes what you have is a moment in time where you’re intentional and deliberate. Sometimes you can’t do more than the now,” he said.
Mike Campbell was one of the first people they took to lunch and they’re still in touch. Campbell has two sons who live with his ex-wife and he lives in a small tent south of Salt Lake.
“It’s a way to get by until I can go back to a place where I can provide a place for my boys and I to live together,” Campbell said.
John and Chase know they can’t solve the homeless problem everywhere. They’re just hoping empathy will catch on.
“We could and we will succeed if we have other people come out and help,” Chase said.