As the temperatures get cooler, the Spring Valley Food Shelf will now be able to stay warm, thanks to the donation of a new furnace.

Phil and Cyndy Sheldon, owners of Sheldon's Plumbing and Heating and Valley Appliance, donated the new furnace after the food shelf's board members, which had considered a move to another building or closing down, approached them about needing a replacement.

The food shelf's old furnace was damaged when the water heater broke this spring, flooding the former Kasten farmhouse's basement.

Board member Rita Hartert explained during the summer they approached the Sheldons to see if they would be able to find a less expensive scratch and dent furnace. Then about six weeks ago, the board received great news; the Sheldons had decided to donate a brand new furnace to keep the shelf going.

The final installation was completed in late September with Phil reporting that it all went quite smoothly.

According to board member Kathy Baarsch, if they had not received the furnace the food shelf may have had to close for the winter months.

The potential shutdown would have affected the 200 local families that count on the support of the food shelf. That could have been even more devastating as the holiday season nears.

Both Hartert and Baarsch say they are extremely appreciative of the donation and the work the Sheldons and their employees gave to the shelf.

But, there is still work to be done to keep the shelf safe and running smoothly. The farmhouse needs a new roof as well as repairs, including structural issues with the front porch and windows.

Though the board is hoping to stay in the location for at least the next five years, the property is owned by the city of Spring Valley, which plans to use the land for economic development since it is located in the city's industrial park.

The city is able to provide plowing and some property maintenance, which saves the shelf money, but the money the shelf saves is needed to purchase food and leaves little for the necessary repairs.

The board would like to remind the public that it is possible to donate buildings as charitable donations, as well.

As for the Sheldons, Phil says, "We are just glad to lend a hand."

For more information on the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf and how to donate, email, or call Spring Valley's city hall at (507) 346-7367.