Burst pipes flood newly renovated dining hall at community center

Rev. Kim Gaines-Gambino said her mom and dad started the Helping Hand Rescue Mission in 1965. She has made it her mission to keep it going.

"We have a pantry that's open four days a week, we have clothing for people," she said. 

But now the mission is in need after burst water pipes in the nonprofit's brand-new dining facility early Sunday morning destroyed the inside of the recently renovated building in Huntington Station. A new heating system had just been installed but freezing temperatures over the weekend led to a broken sprinkler line.

"When I opened the door the water was gushing out," she said. "I looked up and saw water pouring out of the ceiling."

The ceiling, floors, walls, and kitchen had all just been remodeled after two local Lowe's stores contributed $5,000 and countless hours of their time as part of a do-good campaign. The dining room was finally slated to reopen next week after it had been closed for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app | Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

Now the opening has been pushed back indefinitely as restoration crews gut the building.

The food pantry and collection site in the main building weren't impacted. Kim doesn't know the cost of the repair yet. But volunteers from Lowe's told FOX 5 NY that they're more than willing to do the work once more if it means getting it back up and running to serve the community.

Volunteers are determined to get it done. And Kim is committed to being in the kitchen sooner than later.

"To have part in cooking a good meal and serving it to the community, it is my heart," she said.