'I was actually in tears': Saskatoon Crisis Nursery asks for financial help, community responds

The Saskatoon Crisis Nursery — a safe house for children under 12 — had a rough Christmas holiday after its furnace needed to be replaced at the end of December. But when Christmas came, so did the $3,000 bill for the furnace — an amount the organization couldn't afford.

Money to cover $3K furnace bill raised in 3 hours

Saskatoon Crisis Nursery program director Lisa Welter-Mills stands in front of the building that functions as a safe house for children under 12 years old. (Submitted by Lisa Welter-Mills)

A warm feeling of gratitude is circulating around the Saskatoon Crisis Nursery this week.

 I needed to ensure that I had a warm place for the kids.- Lisa Welter-Mills

The community-based organization — which functions as a safe house for children under 12 — had a rough Christmas holiday after it found out its building needed a costly furnace replacement at the end of December.

On Monday, the group decided to use social media to reach out to the community for financial help.

"I was actually in tears as I opened up my email and there were so many emails about donating for the furnace fund," said Lisa Welter-Mills, program director for the nursery.

Carbon monoxide detected

The furnace belonging to the Saskatoon Crisis Nursery had to be replaced just before Christmas. (Submitted by the Saskatoon Crisis Nursery)
"It was the Friday before Christmas weekend and we noticed an odour outside and we couldn't quite figure out what it was. It wasn't a natural gas odour but it was something that I had never smelled before," explained Welter-Mills.   

After a call to the fire department and SaskEnergy, Welter-Mills said high levels of carbon monoxide were detected outside of the house. That meant the building's furnace had to be shut down.

"At that point, I needed to ensure that I had a warm place for the kids," she said, adding there were three children in their care at the time.

Luckily, a replacement furnace was installed later that day.

$3K furnace bill

But when Christmas came, so did the $3,000 bill for the furnace — an amount the organization couldn't afford.

Welter-Mills said they decided to wait a few weeks before asking for help.

On Monday, the group posted to Facebook about the problem. In the span of three hours, they were inundated with offers of help, raising more than enough to cover the cost of the new furnace.

"I knew it would make some sort of impact on that bill but I had no idea how quickly, and that also the whole amount would be covered.

"I was really, really shocked."