Frigid temps bring warm gift to homeless

Betty Jo Carnes said she hadn’t heard of the Grand Junction Police Department’s new patrol unit until Wednesday morning.

By that afternoon, she was donating cash to a new cause.

Carnes, who works in the accounts-receivable department for Jim Dible Oil Co., 611 S. Seventh St., said she initially didn’t know what to think when a police officer called the business asking if the company sold bulk quantities of white gas, which usually is used for camping heaters.

The information wasn’t sought as part of an investigation. Instead, an officer was asking on behalf of local homeless people, many who were camping through subzero weather midweek.

“I was blown away by it all ... very impressed,” Carnes said.

So much so, Carnes and fellow employee Sandi Davis pooled together $80 to buy eight, one-gallon containers of the gas at a local hardware store.

The containers were then turned over to members of the Grand Junction Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, or HOT, on Wednesday and distributed at a local homeless camp that same afternoon.

Carnes and Davis said the donations were unsolicited by the officers.

Officer Jeff Davis, who is no relation to Sandi Davis, said they called several businesses Wednesday in search of one locally that sells white gas in bulk. He said the outreach team wasn’t seeking to buy the gas, but was gathering pricing information to pass on to local transients who asked about cost savings in buying the material in bulk.

“They (Dible Oil employees) took it upon themselves to help, and we’re obviously grateful for their kindness,”  Officer Davis said of the gift.

Jeff Davis said the Homeless Outreach Team met for the first time Tuesday evening with a group of roughly a dozen transients who camp near The Point, which is situated near the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers.

The department has committed three full-time officers to the Homeless Outreach Team, which is tasked with identifying area homeless people and putting them in touch with service providers.

They have worked the new assignment since Jan. 9.


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