Fuel fund builds icehouse to raise donations for needy families

WASHINGTON — Extreme stretches of cold weather like we’ve had this season can be budget busters for heating bills, and the Washington Area Fuel Fund is raising money to help needy families — with the help of an icehouse.

“We’re going to be sitting on ice. We’re going to be sitting within ice walls and we’re going to feel what it’s like not to be able to keep that thermostat up to 68 or 70 degrees,” said Adrian P. Chapman, president and chief operating officer of WGL Holdings Inc.

Anyone is welcome to visit the icehouse at Washington Harbour to make a donation. Local celebrities will be chilling out inside its cold confines for 30 minutes at a time in order to raise donations.

Special icehouse appearances include WTOP’s Bruce Alan and Joan Jones Friday at 3 p.m. Washington Capitals alumnus Peter Bondra and Slapshot the mascot will chill out at 2 p.m. Thursday. Washington Bullets alumnus Harvey Grant and the Washington Mystics’ mascot, Pax the Panda, are the chill-ebrities at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Washington Harbour icehouse began to take shape Wednesday evening. In this image, it still needs a second story.

“We’re going to be sitting on ice,” said Adrian P. Chapman, president and chief operating officer of WGL Holdings Inc.

This completed icehouse was built by the Dollar Energy Fund in Pittsburgh. (Courtesy Washington Gas)

Inside the icehouse.

D.C.-area celebrities, including WTOP’s own Bruce Alan and Joan Jones, will warm up the “cold seat.”

The WAFF icehouse is located at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown.

The WAFF icehouse is located at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown.

WTOP is a sponsor of the WAFF icehouse. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Inside the ice house. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

The icehouse is made up of about 60 blocks of ice. Warmer weather is in the forecast this weekend, but the house should hold up as long as it stays cold during the overnight hours. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Sponsors of the WAFF icehouse are carved into the ice blocks. The designs are made with snow and colored sand. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Inside the icehouse. These blocks will hold the ribbon for the ribbon-cutting Thursday afternoon. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Inside the icehouse. (WTOP/Jack Moore)
Inside the icehouse.

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Inside the icehouse. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Because Washington Gas takes care of all the Washington Area Fuel Fund administrative costs, every dollar that is donated goes to help families pay their heating bills — whatever the energy source.

In 2017, the Washington Area Fuel Fund distributed more than $770,000 to help more than 8,000 families. Eighty-five percent had electric heat, 13 percent used natural gas, and two percent heated their homes with other sources, such as oil, kerosene, wood and pellets.

“You’ve got families who are at the poverty level who are probably paying about 30 percent of their income for energy bills,” Chapman said. “They may be eligible for federal heating assistance, but there just aren’t enough funds to go around.”

The Washington Area Fuel Fund icehouse will be accepting donations at Washington Harbour Thursday (2–8 p.m.), Friday (2–9 p.m.) and Saturday (12–9 p.m.).

You can also donate anytime at their website online.

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