Panhandling in Grand Junction is a common sight, and it is also a sensitive and divisive subject. I wonder, though, if the services available to the homeless and transient are being underutilized.

It is possible that many of these people don't realize that help is available and that many, if not all of their needs could be met by taking advantage of the resources provided in the community. Here's a look at some of the assistance that is available.

HOMEWARD BOUND OF THE GRAND VALLEY is a well-known agency that provides services to the homeless. Breakfast and dinner are served, showers are available, and of course, beds. It also offers assistance to families for finding stable jobs, affordable housing, job training, and educational opportunities.

GRAND VALLEY CATHOLIC OUTREACH offers a number of services to those in need including a daily noon meal served six days a week. There is a limited food pantry as well as a clothing pantry which includes clothing, shoes, bedding, household items and books for men, women and children.The Day Center offers the amenities of home. A warm shower, laundry, telephone, mail, and storage for area homeless, ages 18 and older are all available. Job search support is also provided.

Twice each week medical personnel are present to assist the guests with preventive health care, distribute vaccinations, and provide testing. There is also an onsite counselor. A free bus service is operated by members of the St. Matthew Episcopal Church each Monday and Thursday morning.

COMMUNITY FOOD BANK is another excellent source of supplemental food for those in need. Mesa County residents can get an emergency two-day supply for every member of the family up to nine times a year.

THE SALVATION ARMY provides daily assistance through their bread line, and the distribution of government food commodities, transient food bags, and food boxes.

These are just some of the main assistance providers. There are many other food and clothing pantries in the Grand Valley being run by various churches that are reaching out to those in need.  The community is blessed to have so many benevolent operations in place.

Maybe we should keep copies of this post in our cars and hand them out to people we see begging on the street corner. They most likely would appreciate the information and would be happy to know where to go for assistance. It might be the best thing we could do for them.