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Feel the Chill, Warm Your Neighbor. Cool Down so Others can Warm Up. These were just a couple of the themes for the 2019 WAFF Ice House event at the District Wharf in Southwest DC to raise funds for emergency heating assistance and awareness of this critical need across our community.
This was the second consecutive year Washington Gas joined with The Salvation Army, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, NBC4, WTOP, The Washington Post and dozens of local area partners to host the two-day WAFF Ice House event. Built from 98 blocks of ice, amassing 20,000 pounds, the Ice House was the star of the show which, coupled with face painting, a thermal camera booth, and other family-friendly activities, showcased the Washington Area Fuel Fund’s (WAFF) longtime role in providing critical heating assistance to those in need.
The 2019 WAFF Ice House stood at 10-foot by 20-foot on the District Pier at The Wharf and was designed and built by Ice Lab, a Baltimore-based company that specializes in modern ice carvings for a broad range of clients, industries and occasions. The visually compelling structure enabled passersby to not only learn more about the cause, but also to safely experience what it’s like to be in a home without heat. The blustery conditions brought on by the recent snowstorm that blanketed the D.C. area helped underscore WAFF’s mission to distribute financial aid to those who would otherwise be forced to endure a cold home every day. In addition, programs like WAFF help support those families impacted by the federal government shutdown who are going without a paycheck as temperatures sharply drop.
“Every year, our customers and neighbors across the region join with us to help families in need pay their energy bills through donations to WAFF. We are pleased to pay all costs to run this program so that every dollar donated can help a family directly,” said Adrian Chapman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Washington Gas and WGL. “Through our Ice House event, we are able to raise awareness about this serious issue in a very visual and dramatic way, while providing the community with a fun and entertaining experience at the same time.”
Fewer than 2 in 10 people eligible for federal energy assistance actually receive it due to a lack of funds to meet the growing demand. In addition, families living in poverty spend more than 30 percent of their income on energy bills. WAFF bridges this assistance gap by making emergency funds available for those in need to help pay their heating bill. Because Washington Gas pays all administrative and promotional fees to operate the fund, 100 percent of all donations to WAFF go directly to heating assistance.
In 2018, the WAFF Ice House raised $130,000 which provided heating assistance to more than 200 families. The event also raised visibility about those in need during winter and seeking donations in support of providing heating assistance throughout the season. At press time, more than 56 companies and individuals have already raised almost $140,000 to support WAFF.