For some families during these winter months, just staying warm can be a luxury in itself. As a result, a Waterloo heating and cooling company known as Afterglow set out to find a family who needed a new furnace but could not afford one.

A dozen families were nominated, but in the end Heather Richardson, whose home includes foster children as well as her own, was chosen to receive a free high efficiency furnace. The furnace, along with a new thermostat, labour, and materials, would have cost over $5000. 

“It’s like a Christmas miracle,” said Richardson.

Richardson says she normally struggles to keep the children’s bedrooms warm in the winter, and has to use portable heaters, extra blankets, and keep blinds closed. 

Stephen McDonald, the general manager of Afterglow, said Richardson’s old furnace looked like it was at the end of its lifespan. He added that installing the new furnace for the family was a memorable experience.

“It was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time, it felt like we were doing the right thing.”