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

DETROIT – Saunteel Jenkins spoke with Rhonda Walker on Tuesday morning about what The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) does to help people across Michigan.

Jenkins, the CEO of THAW, said the organization is helping frontline workers make ends meet. She said anyone having trouble paying bills should contact THAW for help.

“We help people, all kinds of people, all across Michigan,” said Jenkins. “This past year, the unemployment rate in Michigan increased by 116% percent, so many families out there need help.”

Watch the full interview above.

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

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.

For more information on how THAW helps, click here.