ST. GEORGE — Last week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it was donating $3.3 million to five nonprofits across Utah that focus on aiding the state’s homeless population and lifting them out of poverty.
Among those nonprofits was St. George-based Switchpoint Community Resource Center, which operates facilities in Washington and Tooele counties.
“We reach out to all of God’s children without exception,” Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the LDS church’s Presiding Bishopric, said in a statement. The Presiding Bishopric oversees the physical needs of the Utah-based church.
“As a Church, one of our priorities is caring for those in need, and we can’t do it on our own,” Waddell said.
The donations largely come through Latter-day Saint Charities and are primarily provided by Latter-day Saints from around the world, the statement reads.
Switchpoint has received funding for the incoming Stepping Stones 24/7 child care facility, currently under construction in downtown St. George, and a 150-unit homeless resource center in Tooele.
Switchpoint began operations in Tooele County in July 2020 after officials there asked for help in addressing the needs of its homeless community, Carol Hollowell, Switchpoint’s executive director, previously told St. George News.
The purpose of the 24/7 child care facility is to cater to children whose parents work non-traditional hours, like graveyard and swing shifts. This also provides a way for parents to pursue better-paying jobs where they were unable to before due to the schedule conflicting with looking after young children.
“We’re asking them to be self-sufficient and they can’t do that if they have little children at home that they are worried about,” Hollowell said during Stepping Stones’ groundbreaking last October.
Many of the working poor in the area have also had their hours cut or lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no place to take their children. Many of those workers are employed in the tourism industry, according to the statement.
Stepping Stones is anticipated to open later this year.
Other nonprofits that received donations from the LDS church include The Road Home, Shelter the Homeless, Friends of the Coalition and Utah Community Action.
“It just warms my heart to see so many in the Utah area who have taken an active interest (in the homeless), not just a passive concern, who have rolled up their sleeves and gotten out there,” Elder William K. Jackson of the church’s Quorum of the Seventy, said in a virtual meeting with the selected nonprofits on Jan. 8.
The LDS church’s humanitarian budget has been increased for the second year in a row to help those around the world who are suffering from the effects of the COVID-10 pandemic, according to the statement.
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