MICHIGAN CITY — Just days before the coldest weather so far this season is expected to move into the area, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence faces a chilling dilemma.
A large industrial furnace, one of several that heat the Stepping Stone Shelter for Women, is shot, and the organization is in need of immediate funds to replace the $9,000 unit.
“We have a furnace out at the shelter, which means we will struggle to provide many of our clients warmth over what looks to be our first lake effect snow this weekend,” said Nanda Danitschek, shelter director. And the snow is expected to be followed by lows in the teens and highs in the 20s Monday night through Wednesday.
“We are moving things around as we can and working to be creative with heating sources until we can replace the furnace,” Danitschek said.
Community members have already reached out to help, and she hopes others will follow suit.
The crane needed to move the unit into place will be provided at no charge, and an individual donor has pledged to match up to $5,000 in donations received by Tuesday, Nov. 12.
“This person called as soon as they learned about our need and without hesitation held out their arms to embrace us and offer the matching funds,” she said of the donor, who wished to remain anonymous. A special fund for donations has been set up through PayPal.
The furnace that went out was an old one, Danitschek said. “We knew it was going to need to be replaced, but this was not a good time for it to go out. This is an old building, and it’s hard to heat. There are multiple furnaces in the three-story building.”
The one that went out heats the back of the building, which houses residential units, along with offices, she said. And with cold weather moving in, space is at a premium.
“We’re very full right now and it will stay that way through the holidays,” she said.
For more information on how to help, contact Danitschek through Facebook Messenger, call 219-879-4615, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can donate by sending a check made out to “Stepping Stone Shelter” to P.O. Box 1045, Michigan City, IN 46361. Checks or money orders must be dated between Nov. 8 and Nov. 12 to receive the match.
Or use the secure PayPal account – https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=hUjRMVJ4Pvw8gaGFqVzMh5rM8ngpqPAHMPe8BH7AtDtddAtGznqh65dL5HmTCVdVCF1X80&country.x=US&locale.x=US
There are other ways to assist besides donating money, Danitschek said.
“Portable heaters will be very helpful for us right now,” she said. “Blankets are always needed at the shelter, too.”
She offered “very special thanks to our special donor, who believes in our mission to empower the community to live without violence. We are so blessed to know you and have your heart.”
To others in the community, she pleads, “We need your support. You will be helping us keep our families and single clients warm this winter.”