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LDS church donates $50,000 to help expand Pocatello homeless shelter

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Artistic rendering of the Aid For Friends shelter expansion. | Facebook photos

The following is a news release from Aid For Friends.

POCATELLO — Aid For Friends received a major boost to its fundraising campaign from the Latter-day Saint Charities Humanitarian Services North America. The $50,000 donation will help the Pocatello nonprofit in its efforts to expand its homeless shelter.

Latter-day Saint Charities is the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its primary purpose is to relieve suffering, foster self-reliance and provide opportunities for service. Latter-day Saint Charities has sponsored relief and development projects in 195 countries and territories.

“Our local Bishops and leaders know firsthand what a critical role Aid for Friends serves in our community. For far too many people this facility is their absolute last resort and we are so grateful for the Christlike service BJ and her staff provide to such vulnerable members of our city,” Pocatello East Stake President Tom Bates said. “I’m personally grateful that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has the ability to give such a generous donation without using tithing funds. This expansion will be a wonderful blessing to countless many and we are humbled to be a part of it.”

Aid For Friends is the only emergency shelter for women, men, and families in the Pocatello area and many nights operates at 114% capacity. The new shelter, at 209 E. Lewis St., will provide appropriate living quarters for men, women, and families. It will include a dining area, laundry facilities, and space for education and workforce development opportunities. The new shelter anticipates serving almost 1,000 Southeast Idaho residents each year who may be facing or experiencing homelessness.

“The reality is that every community experiences homelessness. There are people that are unable to be in a safe place. This new shelter is something that came together based on our community, supported by our community,” Aid For Friends Executive Director BJ Stensland said. “All the different entities that have supported us are necessary. We just couldn’t do this by ourselves and without this kind of support.”

The new shelter would not have been possible without support and financial contributions from a number of community partners that include Bannock County, Citizens Community Bank, City of Chubbuck, City of Pocatello, Housing Alliance and Community Partnerships, Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho Housing and Finance Association, Latter-day Saint Charities, Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, ON Semiconductor, Pleasant Valley Investments, United Way of Southeastern Idaho, and Wells Fargo.

Aid For Friends has raised $2 million in its fundraising efforts, but still needs about $200,000 to fully renovate its new space. Whether you make a donation, promote the campaign, or help spread the message, you can become one of the many community partners. Learn more at aidforfriendspocatello.com.

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