REDWOOD CITY (KPIX 5) — Years ago, he was a homeless drug addict who was no stranger to jail. Today, his life is transformed and he is helping others make their own fresh start.

Pastor David Shearin brings hope to the spirit.

“Thank you so much for blessing us this morning,” Shearin says as he leads a circle of prayer, giving a message from the Bible before a hot breakfast in a Redwood City parking lot across the street from Rise City Church.

With his wife Shawn working alongside him, Shearin has led Street Life Ministries since 2008.

“He’s a very good friend to a lot of people here,” said Dee Henry, a program participant for several years who recently secured a space in low-income housing.

Its weeknight gatherings for the homeless and at-risk people in Redwood City, Menlo Park and Palo Alto provide free dinners and a sermon, plus clothes and sleeping bags.

Under Shearin’s leadership, Street Life Ministries serves about 1,200 people a week, providing more than 35,000 meals over the course of the year.

Shearin and his volunteers partner with other groups that offer housing and rehabilitation.

He himself found faith and recovery from drug addiction 13 years ago, so he understands the struggles of people on the street.

“Somehow or another, they’ve lost their way. Some are so far gone they think no one can ever forgive them,” Shearin said. “What we do in the ministry we just continue to show love and forgiveness.”

The pastor helped get William Alexander from sleeping on the sidewalk into a recovery program. And after Alexander graduated, Shearin connected him to a job in dry cleaning.

Alexander is incredibly grateful. He calls Shearin his superhero.

“He’s not judging me. He’s not, ‘Shame on you.’ It’s like,’Hey, brother, you know what? Pick up the pieces and let’s go,'” Alexander said.

Alexander now volunteers with Street Life Ministries. He gives back.

“That’s success right there,” Shearin beamed. “A totally changed life.”

Operations Director Scott Dixon says people to respond to the humility of the man they call Pastor David.

“I’ve seen people on the street attack him, cuss him out, say, ‘We don’t want any of your religion.’ But then those same people come back and give him a hug,” said Dixon with a smile.

For providing the homeless and at-risk help and hope through Street Life Ministries, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Pastor David Shearin.

Street Life Ministries is co-sponsoring a big fundraiser this summer to help nonprofit homeless organizations. The Olympic-style sports competition and concert One City United will be held at Woodside High School in Redwood City on August 24th.

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