Local 4 partners with THAW, DTE for Gift of Warmth Telethon

Call 313-298-9348 to donate!

By Kelley Kosuda - Producer

DETROIT - Local 4 is partnering with The Heat and Warmth Fund and DTE Energy for the Gift of Warmth Telethon.

Our phone bank will be open from 5 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Tuesday taking donations that benefit THAW, also known as The Heat and Warmth Fund. Volunteers will be on hand to take your donations all day. To donate, call: 

313-298-WDIV (9348)

THAW, a nonprofit, provides utility assistance and energy efficient education for people in need across the state of Michigan. 

Or you can DONATE HERE (click here).

It helps people who are in crisis pay their utility bills – especially to help keep the heat/lights on.

The telethon will start at 5 a.m., with a live interview with Saunteel Jenkins, the CEO of the Heat and Warmth Fund.  DTE, a partner of THAW for more than 20 years, will join members of the THAW team during our 6 a.m. newscast. 

Hank Winchester will show you how you can save energy and money in your home, with the help of DTE experts and their free Home Energy Consultation. We will continue answering your phone calls, to answer questions about THAW, and to take your generous donations throughout the day. 

We will be back with more live interviews during our noon and 4 p.m. newscasts as well. 

Remember to tune in at 5 p.m., where we’ll tell you about all the services and programs THAW has to offer. 

And at 6 p.m., we’ll show you one of the friendly faces behind THAW’s telephone bank, who helps hundreds of families in the Metro Detroit area. 

Week of Warmth

The telethon is the finale for their Week of Warmth Campaign to raise $1 million statewide. Michigan winters are unpredictable -- they can be bitterly cold and blustery, or mild and damp like this past year – but the reality of families, children and seniors who struggle to pay their utility bills does not fluctuate with the weather.

Each year, thousands of Michigan households are unable to pay their energy bills, and face the possibility of having their lights and heat turned off. A home without heat or electricity can be unbearable, even in above-freezing temperatures.

Nearly 70 percent of households assisted by THAW include a child or senior.  Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the dangers associated with living without electricity and heat, especially when they have medical conditions that require constant monitoring. THAW works tirelessly -- in any weather -- to provide energy assistance that keeps families healthy and safe.

More about THAW

  • Winter is coming and with it the cold weather.  Unfortunately many in the metro Detroit community can struggle to keep their heat on in their homes.
  • According to THAW, The Heat and Warmth Fund, more than 28,000 children and 4,800 seniors live in homes that received energy assistance last year.
  • THAW helps the elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled individuals who found themselves in an energy crisis. According to THAW, more than 70 percent of the homes they help have a child or senior living there.  THAW says these groups are very vulnerable to the cold.
  • That's why Local 4 is teaming up with The Heat and Warmth Fund and DTE Energy to give the gift of warmth on Monday.  
  • The Local 4 phone bank will open to take donations from 5 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and the money raised will go to thousands of low-income families and individuals who cannot pay their heating bills.
  • Last year, THAW gave more than $12 million in utility assistance to over 10,000 Michigan households.   More families can be helped this winter if people help give the gift of warmth.
  • THAW began in 1985 to help low-income families who fell through the cracks of other social service programs

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