Michigan winters are brutal. They cause an endless amount of problems … and that is just when you are inside with the heater on. Sadly, however, not everyone has such luxuries. All across Southeast Michigan there are people who go through the winter unable to pay their heating bills, a large problem in an area where the nights often drop to the teens or lower. However, a staple of the Motor City’s airwaves, WWJ 950, has again teamed up with sub-thermal saviors, The Heat and Warmth Fund (often called THAW), for the 10th annual Winter Survival Radiothon on February 1-2.
The charitable broadcast starts Friday, February 1 at 5:00 pm and goes to 10:00 pm and continues the next morning at 9:00 am. They will collect charitable donations and make people aware of the need until noon. The Radiothon’s headquarters will be right in front of Art Van Furniture at 6500 14 Mile Road in Warren.
Since the program started in 2004, WWJ’s Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW has raised more than $9 million in cash and utility matching. The rough economy and extreme cold temperatures are likely the reason why organizers say this year is more important than ever. Luckily, those same organizers are expecting to match, or possibly even beat, last year’s amounts through on-air donations, mobile pledging, sponsorships, events, online auction and matching funds from utility partners and local businesses.
“The Winter Survival Radiothon is a crucial source of community support that enables us to provide emergency assistance to Michigan households facing a home energy crisis,” said Susan Sherer, THAW CEO. “We are extremely grateful to WWJ Newsradio 950, our sponsors and partners for their ongoing commitment to helping us help our neighbors in need by making the Radiothon possible over the past 10 years.”
Despite WWJ and THAW doing the organizing, one could still see this as a community event since the phone banks taking in the donations are manned by volunteers from local businesses, schools and community organizers. Also lending their time to the event are area leaders and personalities from government, entertainment, sports and business, who have will give their time to be on hand for on air appearances.
“We’ve heard the heartbreaking stories of families who have gone to great lengths to stay warm in their homes and have reported some tragic outcomes as a result of their desperate efforts,” said Debbie Kenyon, senior vice president and marketing manager at CBS Radio Detroit. “WWJ Newsradio 950 understands that heat and electricity are a necessity and we are proud to offer our support to THAW with the Winter Survival Radiothon and help them assist our vulnerable neighbors keep the heat and lights on this winter.”
During the Radiothon the team will be talking with those affected and those trying to help those individuals. There will also be several other events.
“THAW Me Out” is new this year. Volunteers will be left “in the cold” and sit on ice furniture created Oakland Community College culinary art students until they get enough pledges to be thawed out.
During the Fitness Challenge participants will raise money through pledges from family and friends for THAW. On February 1st, employees from Compuware and Quicken Loans will run shifts on Treadmills and exercycles in the Wellness Center at Compuware and Quicken Loans.
The Pennies for Power coin drive, a fundraising and energy education campaign, has been going on in eight Detroit elementary schools since November. They’re competing in a school-wide penny (and other coin) drive to support THAW.
The second annual Celebrity Coneys for a Cause will be held January 31 from 11:00 am, to 2:00 pm. American Coney Island located at 114 W. Lafayette in Detroit.
Celebrity servers made up of local media personalities, entertainers and athletes will be on hand January 31 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm to serve lunch customers at the American Coney Island at 114 W. Lafayette. A portion from the sales of Coney and Coney combo specials will be donated to THAW. A portion of the proceeds will go to THAW.
Finally, there will be an online auction featuring items donated by local Detroit businesses, cultural institutions and sporting venues. The profits from the auction, which starts at 6:00 am January 29 and runs until February 4 at 6:00 pm, will go to THAW. Go to www.cbsdetroit.com and click on the Radiothon button and select the Auction link.
Donations may be made by calling the Winter Survival Radiothon Hotline at (888) 579-4950 or online at www.thawfund.org or www.cbsdetroit.com. Supporters who make a donation of $250 or more will be included in the 950 Club and will receive a special item.
Since its inception in 1985, THAW has provided $110 million in emergency energy assistance to more than 164,000 Michigan households.
Join in and help your neighbors stay warm this winter.