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Variety show raises $9K for Kingman's homeless

Orator Dale Herren performs a theatrical reading of Madeline ’LEngle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” Saturday at “A Night in the Spotlight,” the Cornerstone Mission’s 7th Annual Variety Show fundraiser, at Kingman High School.

KINGMAN - Ten talented acts brought down the house for the homeless Saturday at Kingman High School when Cornerstone Mission held its Seventh Annual Variety Show, "A Night in the Spotlight."

About 200 people attended the big night, raising nearly $9,000 for the area's homeless population, said Lisa Beauchamp, the executive director of Cornerstone Mission.

While the show brought in far less money than it has in previous years, Beauchamp was still appreciative.

"It was awesome for us," said Beauchamp, who founded Cornerstone Mission 10 years ago on April 1. "We have three new sponsors and they are awesome."

Kingman Regional Medical Center, Taco Bell and Monica J. Busch Investments were the sponsors, she said.

The money raised Saturday will help fund the mission for the next year. If the past is any indication, every dime will be required if the basic needs of Kingman's homeless population are to be met.

In 2012, the faith-based, nonprofit Cornerstone Mission served nearly 19,000 meals.

The soup kitchen is open every day to anyone in Kingman who needs a meal, said Beauchamp.

Nearly 2,000 homeless people were provided with a shower in 2012. More than 1,000 sets of clothing were handed out along with 451 pair of shoes, 119 sets of bedding, and 1,265 hygiene packets.

Nearly 700 food boxes were distributed and more than 6,000 bed nights were provided, said Beauchamp.

Those are impressive figures for an organization that relies almost exclusively on donations and fundraising to survive.

"We are very excited to be celebrating our 10th year," said Beauchamp. "It's so nice to live in a community that helps the homeless. We certainly would not be here without their support."

For Beauchamp, who in January was named executive director of the mission she founded a decade earlier, helping the homeless is a calling from God.

"God told me I was going to open a shelter," she said. "I ignored it for a long time. It just went in one ear and out the other."

God would not be ignored.

"Everywhere I looked there were homeless people. I couldn't sleep," she said. "That's when I began laying out a plan."

For five years Beauchamp worked on the logistics of opening a homeless shelter while working a full-time job and volunteering with the Arizona Youth Partnership, a shelter for runaway boys between the ages of 13 and 17.

"We wanted to make sure we did everything right," she said. "The city was a lot of help to us. We had a grant to purchase a building that had to be refurbished, and the city was there. We opened the doors on April 1, 2003."

Over the next decade the homeless population neither increased nor decreased, said Beauchamp, but the burden has lightened for her and others like her when more people began reaching out to the vulnerable demographic.

But the look of homelessness has changed over the past few years in light of the Great Recession.

"The fastest-growing demographic among the homeless is the family," said Beauchamp, "and then youth."

And the transient nature of the homeless has also changed. Not too long ago the area's homeless population would swell during the mild winter months and thin out during summer.

These days the opposite pattern has emerged.

"We're not really sure why that is," said Beauchamp.

It doesn't matter, either. Come winter's cold winds or summer's scorching heat, Cornerstone Mission will continue its ministry to the homeless.

That includes Diana's Faith House, which opened a year ago this month. There, the needs of homeless single mothers with children are met, said Beauchamp.

"I just want everyone to know how much we appreciate them. Kingman is a wonderful community. We have wonderful sponsors and wonderful citizens."

While God told Beauchamp to open a shelter, she never in her wildest dreams thought it would one day turn into a job.

"From its inception, the call to do this, I never thought I'd be working full-time in the mission," said Beauchamp. "I've been blessed by the board of directors."


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