Maj. Steven Koehler of the Salvation Army says he still believes in Christmas miracles.
Last week, thieves snatched the copper from the rooftop heating system of a building the agency is borrowing at 121st Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard in Grandview to distribute Christmas toys to more than 1,000 children, and food and other items to more than 500 needy families.
With no heat, and no alternative building available, Salvation Army volunteers faced the prospect of toiling in a building cold enough to make even the Grinch shiver when distributions start Monday.
“The thought crossed our minds about moving, but this location is very special and this is a very special event,” said Koehler, director of the Grandview chapter.
So he asked the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce for help. The chamber approached United Heating & Cooling Inc., a Grandview company that quickly agreed to install a portable heating device at no cost.
“This was the Christmas miracle we were needing,” Koehler said. “This is very special and my heart is very warmed and this really made my (Christmas) season.”
Gayla Andriano, a vice president for United Heating, said providing the portable heater is “the right thing to do.”
The Salvation Army has helped Grandview families for 35 years, and it was important to continue those efforts, said Kim Curtis, chamber president.
“We are just pleased to be part of a community that cares so much that they are willing to jump in at a moment’s notice and do what needs to be done to help the needy,” Curtis said.
United Heating workers will install the heater for the 4,000-square-foot space this morning, Koehler said.
“I am just really grateful that the community is coming together in this manner,” he said. “This is very special. It will do a world of good, and we are very thankful.”