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Grand Forks Mission has to replace broken $10,000 water heater

Residents of the Northlands Rescue Mission in Grand Forks will have to get by on cold meals and the generosity of donors until next week as the homeless shelter waits for a new water heater.

Northlands Rescue Mission logo

Residents of the Northlands Rescue Mission in Grand Forks will have to get by on cold meals and the generosity of donors until next week as the homeless shelter waits for a new water heater.

Director Dave Sena said a water heater in the Mission's 1920 building gave out Wednesday night, cutting off hot water to the women's residential area and to the kitchen and dining areas.

Staff have been boiling water for some kitchen needs or getting creative with meals.

"They made nachos," he said of recent meal. "We'll continue to try to do some things that don't involve water... and that isn't easy."

Sena said he expects a new water heater will be installed by Monday or Tuesday. While the residents coping with cold food and cold showers will be a temporary challenge, the Mission has made a public appeal to help with the $10,000 to $12,000 blow the broken heater delivers to its budget.

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"We do have some money set aside, but you're always trying not to use that money," Sena said.

Mission management sent out requests for donations through email and on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon. It received pledges of about $350 in its first 20 minutes and raised double that amount by early evening.

They have heard from one business interested in donating pizzas for residents so far.

The start of winter is a tricky time for the Mission to face a large capital need such as a water heater. Sena said the building's monthly heating cost is usually between $5,000 and $6,000 during winter, and its resident numbers typically swell as the cold forces more people from the streets to find shelter.

The Mission has about 125 residents now, according to Sena.

"It's especially difficult at this time of year as we prepare for our holiday activities, while continuing our regular emergency and recovery programs," Sena said in a press release.

On the Web: Online donations can be made www.northlandsrescuemission.org by clicking on "Give" and selecting "Water heater" in the drop-down menu.

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