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For the past year, the First Presbyterian Church of Salida has offered free showers to people in the community on Friday afternoons. Anyone needing a place to bathe can use the church shower at 7 Poncha Blvd. between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. every Friday.

Nancy Konvalinka, who volunteers with the shower program, said a group of church members met more than a year ago to discuss homelessness in the community. After several meetings, the group realized how big and complicated the problem is.

Konvalinka said at that point, someone suggested seeking permission to allow an infrequently used shower at the church to be made available for homeless folks. Once the request was approved, the group asked for donations of towels and toiletries from the congregation and for volunteers to staff the program.

“We got a great response from the congregation,” Konvalinka said. “We now have 14 volunteers.” She described the free shower program as “very simple” and said people needing a shower are provided with a towel and a washcloth along with other necessities like shampoo, body wash and razors.

The church shower is available each Friday on a first-come, first-served basis, and the only requirements, said Konvalinka, are that people sign in and respect a 15-minute time limit for showering.

“As volunteers, we have found that, in addition to providing showers, a listening ear and often visiting with folks who come in is almost as important as the luxury of a warm shower,” she said, expressing gratitude to everyone who has made donations to support the free shower program.

“As we continue we are more aware of other needs, like small containers of shaving cream, deodorant, razors, hair brushes and socks … sizes that are easy to carry in a backpack.”

Konvalinka said the program does not give money to people and that they have never had any problems from the people who come in for a shower. “It’s just good to listen to people,” she said, noting that people who show up for a free shower “come from all walks of life. … Some people are working; some are on disability.”

For Konvalinka, volunteering with the free shower program is a way of “living your faith.”

Anyone with questions or wishing to donate to the shower program can contact Konvalinka at 719-539-2421 or