Gift of Warmth telethon: You can donate to help families in need

Help The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) provide assistance with utility bills

Gift of Warmth Telethon (WDIV)

It could be your neighbor, your friend, a family member, a coworker -- many people are struggling to make ends meet during this COVID-19 pandemic.

That struggle could include being unable to pay their utility bills and a fear of being in the cold and dark during the winter months.

The Heat and Warmth Fund, or THAW, continues to provide assistance with utility bills and to help these people during a very difficult time in their lives.

“Any season is bad when you can’t afford utilities,” said Brandi Turner THAW Utility Assistance Center Manager. “But when we think about the cold in Michigan, you think about the dark, you think about your children, you think about the elderly, and you don’t want to see them in the cold in the dark.

Turner said the need is always there. According to THAW, 40 percent of homes across Michigan struggle to pay for basic needs including housing and energy costs.

Tuesday THAW Telethon -- 800-866-8429

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday a total of $68,350 was raised with the goal of reaching $100,000 by the evening.

To donate to the Gift of Warmth telethon, click here:

All day Tuesday, Local 4 viewers can help THAW keep the lights and heat on for these families by donating to the Gift of Warmth telethon.

The telethon runs from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. THAW staff and volunteers will work in a virtual phone bank, taking calls remotely to keep everyone safe. Every dollar donated will be used to help pay utility bills.

The toll free number is 800-866-8429 (THAW).

THAW distributed more than $15 million in utility assistance to nearly 18,000 Michigan households last year. More than 28,000 children and 4,800 seniors lived in homes that received help.

Anyone in an energy crisis can apply for help from the Heat and Warmth fund. Recipients include seniors, unemployed or underemployed and the disabled.

“Saving lives could be preventing that family or that individual from not using their stove to heat their home or not knowing the proper way to use a kerosene heater. People die in their sleep, you know, from carbon monoxide poisoning. There’s house fires where, you know, they may be even using utilities in a way that they shouldn’t, you know, as it relates to electrical, and we want to make sure that that doesn’t happen because we see it far too much,” Turner said.

For more information on how THAW helps, click here.

Watch: Interview with CEO of The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) Saunteel Jenkins

Local 4 viewers can help THAW keep the lights and heat on for these families by donating to the Gift of Warmth telethon.

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