Off-duty Selma officer gives voice to the homeless with unique Facebook page

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A Selma police officer spends his weekends learning, listening and helping people who are on the streets. (KFSN)

A Selma police officer spends his weekends learning, listening, and helping people who are on the streets.

About a year ago Lance Pearce created a Facebook page titled "Portraits of Hope", which combines his love for photography and passion to help people.

"Portraits of Hope is a ministry I'm trying to do in order to raise awareness of the brokenness that's out there on the streets," he explained.

Pearce wants to help change how homelessness is viewed.

"We tend to put blinders on and judge. It's really easy to judge people out there on the streets," he said.

Pearce started this after coming across a transient who goes by the name of Bob.

"(He) just kept getting my attention. As I felt drawn to talk to him, I went by him several times that day, I thought 'you know what am I suppose to talk to this guy'," he said. "I went over to introduce myself and said 'I don't know why but I feel like I'm supposed to pray with you, can I pray with you' and he said yes".

However, in order to pray for Bob, Pearce needed to learn more about him. After having a conversation with Bob, Pearce asked to take a picture.

"I want people to see the eyes of the person telling the story," he explained.

With permission, he posted the photo on Facebook and it has flourished into "Portraits of Hope".

Pearce does not do this while he is protecting and serving his community. The conversations he has that eventually leads to pictures are done off-duty on his own time.

On his days off Pearce goes through his normal routine, if someone catches his eye then he will stop and listen to their story.

"As I get to know their story and that's when we develop that friendship. They are blessing me to allow me into their lives. Then they are being real they are being vulnerable," he said.

Pearce explained once he makes a connection and even friendship with these people he offers to help and pray with them.

"That's what the ministry is about, is getting into them to where they allow me to spend that time with them, pray with them and if they reward me with the photograph, then that for me completes the whole circle of the ministry," Pearce said.

After talking and taking their photo, in some cases, Pearce will give a "care package" full of goodies.

Since this is all through donations or his own money he can only give out a few each week.

"A friend of mine makes these bags for me and then I pick them up weekly," he said. "In those bags are snacks, hygiene products, a bible and a gift card to the Dollar Tree".

The bags are valued around $25.

Pearce eventually will post the photo, with permission, on Facebook along with their story and a prayer request. He mentioned most the people he talks with do not know he is an officer. However, if necessary he will tell them.

Pearce explained a time when a man he was trying to help was anti-law enforcement. Pearce made the decision to open and tell him he was an officer.

"It really touched him that a police officer would actually be out there and cared about him," Pearce said.

Pearce hopes his ministry and the Facebook page can help save someone's life.

"What people don't realize we are all just one wrong choice, one bad day, one bad decision away from where these people are. As the same and I explain to them they are also one good choice, one right choice, and one right day, on a good day and serious to work themselves back off the streets," Pearce explained.

Pearce feels he is already making an impact, saying people have responded positively to the photos. However, he did admit there are people who have responded negatively.

Pearce revealed this is only the beginning. He eventually wants to have a location that homeless people can come to and get help.
Related Topics:
societyfacebookphotographyhomelessfresno countySelma
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