TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – With just days until Christmas, this time of year is a reminder of the importance of gratitude. After spending two years with no heat, one local woman says she’s thankful for the kindness of strangers.

Prudence Coleman has gone through her share of difficult times.  A widow from Trotwood, she needed a helping hand when everything around her felt like it was falling apart.

For two years her home was an icebox and a fire hazard during the Miami Valley’s harsh winters.

“I had electric heaters that were about to ignite because they were turning brown,” Prudence said. “The cord it was in was smoking. I had too many things plugged in. It was about to burn down the house.”

Without a working furnace or water heater, she used the oven as a heat source, and boiled water just to bathe.

“I had been falling over on the kitchen floor trying to take pots of water from the kitchen sink and put it on the stove to heat it up,” she said.

Her late son had promised to help her pay for the needed repairs, just days before starting a new job that would help fund the project. But he was shot and killed following a traffic argument.

“He said, ‘You’ve taken care of us, I’m going to take care of you now.’  He didn’t get that chance,” she said. “When Habitat came in, they took some of that burden off of me.”

Habitat for Humanity was there in Prudence’s time of need.

Galen Curry, neighborhood repair specialist for Habitat for Humanity describes his first impression.

“My first visit out here, I knocked on the door and she answered the door wearing a coat,” he said. “She takes me through the house, it’s cold in the house.”

The nonprofit is now installing a brand-new furnace and water heater and relying on volunteers to do the work!

Prudence is just one of 29 families that habitat has been able to serve through a $300,000 grant through CenterPoint energy’s Vectren foundation.

And this is just a small gesture during a great time of need.

“And I’m kind of still in shock with everything that’s going on so that I don’t have to be cold anymore,” Prudence said.

Even though the generosity will never replace what Prudence lost, she says the act of kindness taught her the importance of gratitude and acceptance.

“My pride almost kept me from reaching out. Sometimes we can’t help ourselves,” she said. “We have to ask for help. We have to allow people to help us. We have to put our pride aside and ask for help. And when I asked for help, Habitat delivered and I’m so grateful for them!”

Habitat for Humanity says they are constantly staying busy with projects and encourage families in need to speak up if they need help.