WAIM furnace is on the fritz
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Nov. 19, 2013
It was about 60 degrees outside on Saturday, Nov. 16 - an unusually balmy, mid-autumn day. But inside the WAIM (Windham Area Interfaith Ministry) building on Main Street in Willimantic, it was at least 10 degrees colder. That’s because the building’s furnace had failed, and the cavernous former warehouse holds onto cold air for a long time.
On the third floor of the five-story building, volunteer Genevieve Micali was wearing a jacket as she worked to sort clothing in the clothes closet. Downstairs, furniture manager Neena Shafer was wearing a jacket, as well, as she sat at her desk among the furniture and household goods. WAIM Director Victoria Nimirowski “may have found a funding source for the new boiler, but I don’t know for sure,” said Shafer. The replacement boiler is estimated to cost in excess of $50,000.
“They said the old boiler could have blown up, so we’re very lucky,” said Shafer. Though the furnace had only been out for about two weeks, “It feels like forever,” said Shafer. “Though it could certainly be worse. We could have a huge snowstorm outside.”
For the time being, areas are being heated with donated space heaters. “We’re still operating, and we’re trying to maintain operations throughout,” said Shafer. In fact, she added, the agency had been busier than ever recently. “We figure people might be worried that we’ll close,” said Shafer. But WAIM has no plans to close. In fact, a large group of volunteers planned to come in the following day to help set up the Christmas area. “They’re still coming in,” said Shafer.
The agency hopes to have the furnace replaced within the next couple of weeks. But regardless of how much grant money Nimirowski is able to drum up, WAIM is always in need of donations, especially at this time of year. “People need heaters,” said Shafer. The few the agency has, they’ve needed to temporarily hold onto in order to heat their offices. But they hope to be able to give them out once the furnace is fixed. “We have a waiting list for space heaters right now,” said Shafer.
According to the WAIM website, “The commitment of WAIM is the free redistribution of clothing, household goods and furniture to people who need them.” WAIM is a volunteer organization that serves about 7,500 people a year via basic services and special programs. WAIM also provides energy assistance and administers funds to prevent homelessness.
To make a donation to WAIM, go to http://waimct.org or contact Nimirowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-456-7270, ext. 11. WAIM’s annual Walk for Warmth to raise money for the Energy Assistance Fund takes place at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, following the Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the First Congregational Church of Willimantic, 199 Valley St. Registration starts at 1p.m., and the Interfaith Service starts at 1:30 p.m.
The walk is a short 2-mile track that starts and ends at the church. “The true beauty of the walk is the way everyone involved gets together and does what they can to help families in need in our community,” according to the WAIM website. You can access a registration form at the WAIM website.