(WJBK) - We'll be getting a blast of cold temperatures this weekend. THAW and DTE Energy are joining forces again this year to provide hope and heat to Michigan families in need during the coldest months of the year.
Many struggle to pay their heating bills, like Valencia Washington. She's a mother of four kids under the age of 11.
"I'm strong and, I mean, with God on my side I get through it. I just make sure everybody's straight; make sure we got clothes; make sure we got food; make sure we got a roof over our head. That's what matters the most," she says.
She's like the nearly one million people living in Michigan right now, forced to make difficult decisions every day between feeding their families or keeping them warm.
"Families shouldn't have to choose between heating and eating at the end of the day. THAW's goal is to empower and stabilize Michigan families to keep them healthy, safe and warm, and so one of the opportunities we have is with customer assistance days where we're able to provide them with assistance to relieve their prices," says Matthew Phillips, THAW's chief operating officer.
The 8th Annual Week of Warmth is happening right now. It's an annual partnership between THAW (The Heat and Warmth Fund) and DTE Energy. The goal is to raise and distribute more than a million dollars in assistance.
Last year, customer assistance day events meant 14,000 families came home to a warm home.
"As customers leave, the happiness that they have, that they know that we were there for them in the time of need - it's a great feeling. Especially during this time of year, it just helps out a lot," asys Marcus Pearson from DTE Energy.
A number of events are going on through November 15. They're all an effort to raise awareness to the plight of so many, and raise money to ease the burden of people like Valencia.
"It makes me feel good that there are good people out there that have good hearts and someone to talk to to help you out," she says.
For more information on the Week of Warmth, visit www.weekofwarmth.org.