"It is extremely important to Share Community, that our unhoused neighbors are really getting all the things that they need," said Ricka Davis-Sheard, co-founder of Share Community.
"We understand that a shower, clothes and hygiene is not going to cure homelessness. However, we know that this is going to be able to give an opportunity for folks to feel confident again and to help to rekindle some of the dignity they have."
Share Community was founded in 2019 by Davis-Sheard and Vincent Vidriales with a mission of sharing hope, abundance, resources and encouragement. Both share the same story of having a family member who has experienced homelessness. They have shared the dream of wanting to help others by providing resources and a clean, safe place to shower.
The free shower event takes places on Tuesday mornings at 525 E.18th Street in Antioch. Since their launch in late September, Share Community has provided close to 100 showers for unhoused members of the community.
The event operates as a first come, first serve basis. At the moment, Share Community is able to provide between 20-25 showers and arrange for a local salon or barbershop to offer their services once a month.
The nonprofit has collaborated with White Pony Express which supplies like-new clothing and shoes for the free shower event.
"We all put clean clothes on when we get out of the shower and we're housed. That is not always an option for the unhoused," said Davis-Sheard. "We want to make sure that all of their needs are met. Everything that they needed to come out and feel clean, and that we provided for them."
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The free shower service provides shampoo, conditioner, soap, towels and other essential hygiene products.
"Without the help of the community, without the White Pony Express, and without this location, we couldn't do the showers here," said Davis-Sheard.
Tony Martinez has visited the free shower event on a couple of occasions and has opened up to Davis-Sheard.
"We just want to be part of society, here," said Tony Martinez, recipient of Share Community's free shower program. "Our camps just got hit again and we lost everything." Martinez credits Share Community for bringing light into his life and other unhoused members during the time of darkness. Their homeless encampment was cleaned out the morning of the free shower event and many recipients were in a somber mood.
"It feels like it's a miracle. Everybody appreciates it," said Martinez. "When something like this is born, it's fresh."
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Share Community believes in "consistency" and re-visits the Sycamore Drive and L. Street area in Antioch through their Adopt-A-Block program. In a year, volunteers have picked up over 5,000 gallons of trash.
"We show the neighborhood that we love them through action," said Davis-Sheard. "We are trying to maintain and build relationships with the community. It is a sacrifice that I am willing to make that deserves it."
Davis-Sheard comes from a lineage of women who love to help their community. Share Community has been a longtime dream of hers that has finally come true. "It is like a dream, honestly. Every week, I am astounded that I get to do this and serve members of the community," said Davis-Sheard.
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"We want folks to know that they are loved, this is strictly out of love," said Davis-Sheard. "When we think about the people that we serve, we truly think about them as they're our family members. Our hope is that other people in the community can begin to look at the unhoused with a different lens and through the lens of compassion. And really begin to show love in a way that makes sense for what they need because they deserve it, just like we do, just like everybody does."
In the future, Share Community hopes to expand and serve more unhoused communities in the East Bay and provide more opportunities for people to serve their community.
For volunteer opportunities or to make a donation, visit the Share Community website here.