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Over 20 businesses raise funds to help local family and improve mental health awareness

The Center for Hope, left, and Devon James Nelson
IDAHO FALLS — An organizer of a fundraising event hopes to raise as much money as possible to help a local nonprofit and a deceased man’s family.
Idaho Falls resident Manny Ibarra organized a raffle fundraiser involving over 20 businesses to raise money for The Center for Hope and for Devon James Nelson’s family. Nelson recently lost his life to suicide.
The fundraiser is happening now and will last through May.
“I started doing a fundraiser for The Center for Hope because they help a lot of people with drug addictions. They are nonprofit, and I figured…you know what? Let’s start helping out these companies that are actually trying to do something for the community,” Ibarra said.
According to The Center for Hope’s website, the nonprofit provides free addiction and mental health recovery support services. It also provides opportunities for socialization, education, and participation in activities that support wellness and recovery from behavioral health challenges, including substance use.
Ibarra said he is a former addict and wants to help others.
“You see a lot of things that are negative when you see people getting busted for drugs. I figured rather than making fun of them or not doing something positive, it’s time to give awareness that there is help for people out there,” he explained.
Ibarra said when he started organizing the raffle and created a poster, he learned someone he knew died by suicide — Devon James Nelson — and he wanted to help his family.
“I know about the issues he’s had in the past with his mental health, so I decided to put him on the poster. I decided to start raising money for him as well to take the burden off of his mother,” he said.
Nelson had recently turned 22 on March 8. He died a few days later, on March 19. His mother described him as creative. He loved to draw, produce music and skateboard.
“He was incredibly funny. He definitely marched to his own beat and had his own personality,” said Lindsey Brown, Nelson’s mother.
She said her son struggled throughout his life with mental illness, and they utilized numerous resources and services. He moved out on his own and still had access to those resources. He became focused on working and his music.
“I would just like to tell everybody to please, please, please reach out for help. You have no idea how much you mean to someone and how much you impact lives around you and somebody cares about you,” Brown said.
She is grateful to Ibarra and all those that have helped her family during this time.
“We are trying to put awareness out there for suicide, mental awareness and drug addiction,” Ibarra said.
Ibarra hopes to raise anywhere between $8,000 to $10,000 for the nonprofit and Nelson’s family.
If you are interested in participating in the raffle fundraiser, you can purchase raffle tickets for $5 each or five for $20 at three locations. Raffle tickets are available at Pristine Supply, Verns Radio Shack, and Garcia’s Street Taco’s & Pelona’s Fruit Oasis.
Three winners will be announced on Pristine Supply’s Facebook page on May 27. Businesses involved include Just Breathe Massage, Let’s Get Roasted Coffee Co, the Paramount Theater in Idaho Falls and many others.
Click here to view the involved businesses and what prizes are being offered. Prizes will be divided between three winners.

Raffle fundraiser information. | Courtesy Manny Ibarra
The post Over 20 businesses raise funds to help local family and improve mental health awareness appeared first on East Idaho News.

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