Father and son share their quality time with the homeless.  John Hansen and his son, Chase, decided to do something meaningful with their quality time together instead of playing video games and watching movies. When Chase Hansen was 4 years old, he noticed homeless people for the first time while shopping at an outdoor mall with his dad. John said he remembers Chase looking at him and asking “who are these people and why don’t they have a place to stay?”  After explaining to his son that they were homeless because they ran into some hard times, Chase immediately asked how they could help.

Facebook page of John Hansen

Hansen, 44, a former marketing business owner, had recently divorced and only has Chase, 10 years old, on the weekends. That’s when they decided that on their weekends together, they would invite a homeless person to have lunch with them. It would give them the opportunity to get to know new people and help them at the same time.  Chase said he would ask them things like what their hobbies were and where they were from, and sometimes they would share their story of how they became homeless.

Facebook page of John Hansen

Now, 150 lunches later, John and Chase run a self-funded charity called Project Empathy.  Their goal is to inspire others to create friendships with homeless people in their neighborhoods and to help them with the resources they need to get help with housing, jobs, and even addiction.  They live near Salt Lake City.  Chase and his dad took Project Empathy to Las Vegas and Phoenix during his holiday break last month.  They had one of their homeless friends join them and they traveled in an RV so they could serve lunch at shelters in both cities.  The father and son duo have made many great friendships with the homeless and still remain in touch with them all.