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Virginia Natural Gas makes donation to help provide heat for local women’s shelter

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Feb. 18, 2021 – Through a long-standing partnership, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) recently stepped in to help residents at a local women’s and children’s shelter stay warm during the colder than normal winter months by making a special gift to fix an aging heating system that just couldn’t keep up with the demand.

The natural gas boiler at The Union Mission Women and Children’s shelter in Norfolk, Virginia, was beyond repair and needed to be replaced or residents faced the possibility of suffering through cold winter nights. Upon learning about the critical need from the mission, VNG chipped in with a $15,500 gift to help fix a heating system that was close to giving out.

“We have been community partners with The Union Mission Ministries for years,” said George Faatz, director of Growth and Strategic planning. “In December, my family stopped by to drop off donations and learned about the needs they were facing. Once we found out what they really needed, the company knew it was the right thing to do to help provide warmth for these families.”

Since 1892, The Union Mission shelters have been dedicated to helping people overcome homelessness and provide opportunities for a fresh start. As the city’s largest single agency serving adults, children and families, they provide more than 6,000 meals a week, along with shelter, job training and life skills training to more than 375 homeless men, women and children daily.

The current women and children’s shelter opened in May 2015 and provides 40 emergency shelter beds for single women, and seven family rooms for mothers and their children. The “newest” shelter is housed in an office building originally built in the early 1960s and renovated as economically as possible to serve as an additional shelter.  

According to Laura Farthing, Major Gifts officer for The Union Mission Ministries, single pane windows and undependable heating and cooling systems had reached a point where they needed to be addressed. Maintenance crews, she said, were nursing along the boiler until it could be replaced.

“The boiler that provides heat for the building turned off on a weekly basis,” said Farthing. “This has been a cold winter and the old boiler would shut off when moms and their children were getting ready for bed, or early in the morning when everyone was getting ready for the day. We were constantly having to restart it.”

Even after completing suggested factory maintenance, several heating companies, including factory representatives, recommended the unit needed to be replaced. Estimates to replace the boiler including installation were nearly $65,000.

“We had to find a way to replace it as soon as possible,” said Farthing. “We really didn’t have a choice. We wanted to be able to able to provide a warm place for residents year-round.”

Once the request was made, VNG joined two other key donors in the Hampton Roads area to help replace the aging boiler. In mid-February, the installation was completed, providing warmth for the families at the shelter, including nearly 20 children.

“How do we ever begin to thank VNG for the wonderful gift toward the boiler,” said Farthing. “We are so thankful for VNG’s commitment to our community, our relationship with the company, and their love for the people who come through our doors.”

This isn’t the first donation the energy company has made to The Union Mission. Last year during the beginning of COVID-19, VNG donated $25,000 to the Mission through the United Way of South Hampton Roads as part of a financial relief effort to nonprofit organizations to help provide essential services during the beginning of the pandemic.


About Virginia Natural Gas 
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the year four times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and LinkedIn.  

About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values.