WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 14, 2020) – For the third year in a row, Washington Gas has set out to raise money to fund critical heating assistance for those in need by hosting a Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) Ice House event in the nation’s capital. Joined by The Salvation Army, NBC4/Telemundo, WTOP, The Washington Post, Monumental Sports & Entertainment and several other local area partners, Washington Gas will host two days of fun activities for kids and adults. The Ice House aims to draw attention to the reality of families who live without heat this winter season and offer an opportunity for the public and concerned citizens to address a critical issue.
Taking place on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18, at The Wharf on the main District Pier located at D.C.'s Southwest Waterfront, proceeds will benefit the WAFF, a 37-year-old program led by Washington Gas and The Salvation Army. WAFF has served a quarter of a million low-to-moderate income families in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia who cannot pay their energy bills and face the challenges of living in a cold home.
The WAFF Ice House is a celebrated occasion that has generated awareness about the thousands of families, senior adults and veterans who live in freezing conditions at home, and how WAFF is proven to lend financial assistance time and again. Last year, a total of $150,000 was raised through the event, which included an average offering of $223 and 443 first-time donors. These donations enabled WAFF to give the gift of heat to an additional 230 families throughout the region last year.
“As we begin the new year, we are delighted to once again join with our customers and neighbors across the region to give the gift of paying energy bills for those in need through thoughtful donations from the WAFF initiative. Most of all, Washington Gas is honored to ensure that every dollar goes to the fund because we pay all administrative costs to run the program so each penny helps an individual or family directly,” said Blue Jenkins, President, Washington Gas. “The Ice House event unites all of us around a serious issue in a very visually compelling and dramatic way. It allows us to appreciate the terrible condition of living with no heat all while creating a fun and entertaining experience for the community to lend a hand and enjoy themselves.”
This year’s WAFF Ice House is a 10-foot by 20-foot structure made from 88 ice blocks designed and built by Ice Lab. By simulating the harsh environment of a home without heat, it draws attention to the cause and connects people to WAFF’s mission of distributing financial aid to those who would otherwise be forced to endure a cold home every day.
The event will be open to the public from 12 to 6 p.m. on January 17 and noon to 5 p.m. on January 18. Local celebrities such as Brian Mitchell, formerly of the Washington Redskins and official WAFF 2020 spokesperson, as well as executives of WGL companies and vendor sponsors, are scheduled to sit in the Ice House for 30-minute intervals as part of the program’s highlights. In addition, the Fire and Ice Festival takes place on Saturday, jointly hosted by The District Wharf and WAFF, where attendees can tour the ice house, participate in ice games, see fire dancing and sample whisky.
The importance of assisting residents who cannot afford heating has intensified over the years with colder-than-usual winters in the Washington, D.C. area. 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 WAFF receives goes directly to heating assistance.
Since its inception, WAFF has disbursed nearly $29 million in energy assistance, serving more than 300,000 people, some of whom have shared their compelling stories. In 2018 alone, more than $1.4 million was disbursed to more than 8,000 people. In addition, Washington Gas was able to expand eligibility for WAFF assistance because of our merger with AltaGas in July 2018. The WAFF Washington Gas Merger Funds Program provides $1.5 million in additional energy assistance over five years. Each year, an additional $300,000 will be available to help both low-income and moderate-income Washington Gas customers.
Washington Gas gives special thanks to the 68 sponsors who have signed on to support the 2020 event to date, including but not limited to: The Salvation Army, NBC4/Telemundo, WTOP, The Washington Post, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, The American Gas Association, The District Wharf Community Association, MasterPrint, National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), Miller Pipeline, Beveridge & Diamond PC, DCI, Ferguson Trenching, JLL, Starion Energy, TC Energy, TD Securities, Wells Fargo, Pepco, and UtiliQuest.
Washington Gas created the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) in 1983 in conjunction with The Salvation Army as its signature philanthropic program. Washington Gas pays for all administrative and promotional costs while The Salvation Army assists clients and manages the disbursement of funds through its 12 area offices. This ensures that 100 percent of all donations go to heating assistance. WAFF pays for all types of fuel. To make a donation or get more information, please go to www.waffhelp.org.
About Washington Gas and WGL
WGL and Washington Gas are wholly-owned subsidiaries of AltaGas Ltd [TSX:ALA]. Washington Gas, is a regulated natural gas utility that provides safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 1.2 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The company has been providing energy to residential, commercial and industrial customers for more than 171 years. Visit us at www.washingtongas.com and follow us on Twitter @washingtongas.