ST. GEORGE — Nearly $400,000 was raised by donors to fight homelessness through the Switchpoint Community Resource Center last week.
The funds were donated during a breakfast fundraising event for Switchpoint on April 10. During the event $395,623 was raised, according to a press release.
The breakfast was attended by 200 community leaders and garnered this amount of funds in large part due to a matching dollar for dollar gift offered by Southern Utah newcomers Ken and Shelly Weisbacher.
“We want to be part of this community and we can’t think of a better way to do it than support the work of Switchpoint, which is serving thousands of those most in need,” Shelley Weisbacher stated in the press release.
Carol Hollowell, Switchpoint’s executive director said with the funds raised, the center would be able to make “desperately needed facility and security upgrades to the shelter, in addition to relying on $79,125 annually for the next five years through the pledged amounts.”
During the fundraiser a video featuring the story former Switchpoint residents and clients Dustin and Jessica Gunn and their family was shown. It detailed the family’s “rising up from rock-bottom.”
“We owe it all to Switchpoint. They stuck with us and empowered us to do it ourselves,” Dustin Gunn said during a speech that introduced the Gunn family’s story.
The video details how Dustin Gunn turned to drug addition following the death of his fiancee and how he eventually met Jessica and her children. Due to the drug addiction, Dustin would end up in jail on occasion. They had been located in northern Utah at the time and made the decision to move to Southern Utah, where they lived with Dustin’s parents for a time before coming across Switchpoint.
(Story continues below)
“I felt like Switchpoint was a very safe place for me and the kids,” Jessica Gunn said in the video. “(Switchpoint staff) did everything they could to make them feel like they were going to be OK, and that its OK we were at Switchpoint, that our family’s going through a hard time right now, and they don’t have anything to be ashamed of.”
As the video progressed, Dustin Gunn said he didn’t leave Switchpoint feeling ashamed of the situation his family had been in. Switchpoint provided the tools and direction the family needed to go, he said, but left it to the Gunns to do the footwork.
“They didn’t do it for us, we had to do it for ourselves,” Dustin said. “They allowed us to earn that.”
Through Switchpoint the Gunns were also able to gain a housing grant and get into a home.
“Switchpoint wrote a letter to the property management company and we were accepted 24 hours later,” Dustin Gunn said in the video. “Now we have a place of our own, and I think its amazing.”
Switchpoint opened in 2014 and serves as both a homeless shelter and resource center for those in need by offering multiple services under a single roof.
Since its creation, Switchpoint has grown to include a community food pantry, thrift store, a dog boarding and grooming business, and other ventures that benefit the nonprofit and its clients.
The nonprofit was also recently named the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year for 2018, as well as Innovator of the Year during the 15th annual Homelessness Summit in Salt Lake City in October.
Switchpoint operates through grants and donations, as well as paid and volunteer staff. It is located just off Sunset Boulevard at 948 N. 1300 West in St. George.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.