“Feel the Chill, Warm Your Neighbor” is the slogan for this weekend’s Ice House event at the Wharf’s District Pier in Southeast D.C. The second-annual benefit for the Washington Area Fuel Fund, the event will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.
Admission is free to the Ice House, a 10-by-20-foot structure built of 98 large blocks (about 20,000 pounds’ worth) of ice. As they experience what it is like for thousands of area residents to suffer through the winter in homes without heat, visitors can have their “Bring the Heat” picture taken with a thermal camera.
Ice House visitors can also enter to win prizes such as an NBC4 Storm Team Weather Tour Studio Experience, which includes a studio tour for four persons, photos with weather and news personnel and a tour of the Storm Team 4×4; and a Golden Ticket Package from the Washington Capitals, including two lower-bowl tickets, dinner, beverages, swag and a ride on the Olympia ice resurfacer.
Local celebrities, pro athletes, team mascots, elected officials and gas company executives are expected to take turns sitting inside the Ice House in 30-minute intervals. The Frost Fairy will be on hand and free face painting, sponsored by design firm ASD/SKY, will have a winter theme.
According to Washington Gas, only two in 10 people who qualify for federal heating assistance programs end up receiving it because there aren’t enough dollars to go around. The Washington Area Fuel Fund, created in 1983 by the gas company in conjunction with the Salvation Army, bridges this gap, helping to pay heating bills across the region.
Last year, the Ice House raised $130,000. The total amount disbursed in 2018 was more than $1.4 million, providing essential heat to 8,000 individuals. Washington Gas pays all expenses to manage the program while the Salvation Army assists clients and manages the disbursement of funds through its 12 area offices.
As a result of the 2018 merger of Calgary-based AltaGas with WGL, the parent of Washington Gas, an additional $1.5 million in funding to the Washington Area Fuel Fund was committed over five years.