The problem of homelessness and the resulting panhandling downtown has been in the news of late in Grand Rapids. One of the institutions making a Wee Difference in combating that problem is the Guiding Light Mission.

I had a chance to tour the facility recently and talk with Executive Director Stuart Ray about his mission and how you can help.

One of the first things I noticed upon entering the Guiding Light Mission is the peacefulness. Located in the middle of the tumultuous South Division corridor, it was a stark contrast to the hustle going on just outside their doors.

Stuart Ray took me on a tour which showed how much the Mission has turned around since his arrival five short years ago. Ray said the men who inhabit Guiding Light have a stake in their own revival, and are given responsibilities  to help run the facility. This, in turn, instills the men with a sense of purpose and community.

Rather than giving homeless men a hand out, Ray suggests you walk with them, and give them a hand up.

"There's no doubt God is alive and well here," Ray told me.

Ray talked to me about Guiding Light and its place in the Grand Rapids Community and how you can help. Give the entire interview a listen to find out how you can by of service.