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Stand Down helps out hundreds of homeless

Volunteers in Pocatello came together on Saturday to help out hundreds of homeless in southeast Idaho.

The annual Homeless Stand Down tries to provide needed help to those people who don’t have a regular or safe place to sleep at night.

“Last year we were less than 100, years before they were over 200. It just depends and we’re seeing a whole lot of groups coming through today and thanks to the community they’ve been able to support us here,” Stand Down Chairman Shawn Kelsch said.

After just a little more than an hour Saturday monring, the stand down had served 165 people, helped by more than 100 volunteers.

“People don’t realize how many people are homeless. You look at it you don’t even think about it,” Kelsch said.

Organizations and individuals throughout the region donated items and time to make the stand down possible.

Rebekkah Richardson spent her Saturday finding the right sized coats and jackets for those coming by her table.

“It makes me feel good to know that they’re going to have something warm for the winter,” Richardson said.

Along with clothes and shoes, groups at the stand down offered free haircuts, counseling, flu shots, dental help and a warm meal.

Those running the stand down said, of the hundreds of people helped, many aren’t the stereotypical person without a home.

“People always hear homeless and they think of the people living underneath the bridge.”

Renata Skinner is a grad student at Idaho State University, but tough economic struggles brought her small family to the stand down looking for a little assistance.

“As I go through here I see fellow students as well. We may be students and people think we have money, we really don’t. We’re just as hard luck as everybody else, we’re surviving month to month,” Skinner said.

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