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Mat-Su nonprofit looking for help with diesel fuel clean-up

The building came from Pioneer Christian Fellowship, a church that was disbanding, and Bear said the gift was a complete surprise.
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 5:39 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When Family Promise Mat-Su, a nonprofit that works with families experiencing homelessness in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, heard it had been donated a new building, the staff was thrilled, according to Executive Director Ginger Bear.

The building came from Pioneer Christian Fellowship, a church that was disbanding, and Bear said the gift was a complete surprise.

But while the building has allowed them to expand their programs and services, there is a hitch. It came with a leaky fuel tank that now needs a big clean-up.

Bear explained that vandals had drilled a hole in a 500-gallon diesel fuel tank that sat on the property. She said they syphoned off some fuel and left the rest to leak.

John Stiner, president of the Pioneer Christian Board, said they discovered the problem before Family Promise took occupancy of the building in November. They told the nonprofit the board would pay for the clean-up.

Stiner said the extent of the spill was uncertain but initial estimates for the clean-up were between $16-20,000. After just four days of work, contractors collected more than 100 bags of contaminated soil, the bill had jumped to $50,000 and the church board had run out of money. Bear said the work came to a halt on Wednesday.

“They stopped because they want to make sure they’re going to have funding to finish the job,” she said, adding, they have to raise the money somehow.

“It’s an environmental issue now because diesel in the ground is not safe,” she said. “So we want to be safe. And we are anticipating children playing in the yard and they can’t play in the yard with a diesel spill.”

Bear is reaching out to the public for donations big or small, anything that will help to get the job moving again. She doesn’t know exactly how much the final bill will be but she’s hopeful contractors have already removed most of the contaminated soil.

She said people or organizations that are interested in helping out can find contact information on their website.

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