CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — With the help of generous contributions from the Southern Utah community, Stephen Wade Auto Center is supporting four organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of kids and families in need this holiday season.

A vehicle full of donated items from the Wish Trees drive, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Stephen Wade Auto Center, St. George News

‘Tis the season to give, and in the spirit of Christmas, Stephen Wade Auto Center has set a goal to donate $20,000 total to Switchpoint, Youth Futures, the Washington County School District and the Washington County Children’s Justice Center. When you purchase a new or used vehicle at any local Stephen Wade dealership during the month of December, a portion of your purchase will help further the efforts of these charities. 

“When you shop local, you know that your money is going back into the community,” said Jamie Bahlmann, public relations director for Stephen Wade Auto Center. “The need is real, and we have to support these nonprofits that are really helping make a difference.”

The impact of today’s economic challenges on local families is undeniable. Nearly 700 Washington County students are currently experiencing homelessness, and thousands more are living at or below the poverty line. Stephen Wade Auto Center is committed to supporting community organizations that provide help and hope when times are tough.

Switchpoint addresses poverty by creating a comprehensive plan to support families on their journey to self-sufficiency. The organization operates an emergency shelter, food pantry, soup kitchen and 24/7 child care facility in St. George along with providing referrals for affordable housing and other services.

Acting as a safe haven in times of crisis, Youth Futures offers shelter, guidance and resources to at-risk youth ages 12-18. Drop-in services allow kids to access food, clothing, hygiene items, laundry facilities, computer stations and case management on a daily basis. 

A Stephen Wade “Wish Tree,” in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Stephen Wade Auto Center, St. George News

The Washington County School District Foundation funds numerous initiatives to enhance the quality of education for area students. Available in every school, the Counselor’s Closet program collects items that at-risk youth may be lacking at home and provides these resources to the counselors to distribute as needed.

After experiencing abuse or other crimes, the Washington County Children’s Justice Center offers a warm, welcoming place where kids and families can begin their healing journey. A multidisciplinary team provides interviews, victim advocacy, medical care and trauma-focused mental health care.

Stephen Wade Auto Center is also collecting essential items for at-risk kids and families through their sixth annual Wish Trees fundraising drive. Switchpoint, Youth Futures, the Washington County School District Foundation and the Washington County Children’s Justice Center all rely on donations from the community to keep their shelves stocked with sleeping bags, jackets, gloves, socks, snacks, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, gift cards and more. 

“Children and families in Southern Utah need our help,” Bahlmann said. “We want to ensure members of our community have the supplies they need.”

Located inside every Stephen Wade dealership on Auto Mall Drive are Wish Trees with tags that include specific items needed by each organization. Choose a tag from the tree, purchase the item and drop it off in one of the donation bins. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 20.

Click here to view a complete list of items needed by each organization. All donated items will be distributed before Christmas.

The Stephen Wade family of dealerships is always working to build stronger kids, families and neighborhoods. Supported by generations of loyal customers, they’ve been giving back to the community for nearly 30 years and don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. 

“We couldn’t do this without your help,” Bahlmann said. “Let’s all keep investing in Southern Utah.” 

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Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

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Stephen Wade Auto Center | Address: 150 Auto Mall Drive, St. George | Telephone: 435-222-7605 | Website.

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