BAY CITY (WJRT) - (01/02/2018) - A Mid-Michigan shelter is asking for help as it tries to keep families warm now and for years down the road.
Over time leaks have sprung up here and there, but it wasn't until this past fall that they found out how big the problem really was.
"A lot of the pipe is insulated so you really couldn't see it until you pull back some of the insulation where we had some leaks and you could see how bad it really was, and so it really kind of caught us off-guard," said Dan Streeter, CEO of Rescue Ministries of Mid-Michigan.
Every inch of the heating and cooling pipes, which date back more than half-a-century, need to be replaced at the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission in Bay City.
Streeter said replacing the pipes all at once, instead of piece-meal, is the most cost effective. But the project comes with major sticker shock.
"We thought we had maybe like a $30,000 to 50,000 problem, and when we actually started to get more and more into it, we realized it was $158,000," Streeter said.
Already $78,000 has been raised, allowing them to begin installing some of the new blue and green PVC pipes. But they need the rest -- and soon -- to finish the project before it's too late.
"Fortunately, God has protected us. We haven't had that major leak," Streeter said. "If we continue to not do the repairs to it, at any point we could have a major leak that would take place."
Each night an average of 82 people stay at the emergency shelter, including children. Last year, Good Samaritan was a safe place to stay for more than 1,000 individuals.
Streeter said providing heat for those people is just as important as the three meals a day, counseling and life-skill classes they receive during their time at the shelter.
"It's a part of that network of care that we're trying to provide," Streeter said.
Click on the 'Related Link' on the upper right side of this page to go directly to the rescue mission's website.