The need greater than ever amid pandemic for this year's Winter Survival Radiothon by WWJ, THAW, DTE

This year's WWJ Winter Survival Radiothon looks a lot different due to the pandemic.

"Normally there would be hundreds of people at a giant phone bank starting at 5 a.m. until sundown," said Jason Scott WWJ afternoon anchor. 

But for this year's fundraiser is taking place outside the WWJ Studio. 

"The phone bank is kind of spread out all across southeast Michigan we're all virtual this year," Scott said. 

"These phones just get routed to individuals' homes where people are by themselves," said Mark Winter of the Heat and Warmth Fund

That's not the only thing that has changed. 

"This year the need is greater than it's ever been," he said. "There are many people who last year did not need us, need us this year."

Thousands have lost jobs, are earning less income, or facing medical bills as a result of the pandemic - which means this fundraiser that supports THAW has an even greater mission this year.

"The Heat and Warmth Fund  partners with DTE in filling that gap to get people to stay current in these bills," said Dan Brudzynski of DTE"

"Anything from helping to subsidize electrical bills to helping pay their gas bill or also, water," Winter said. 

Organizers believe their mission during this pandemic is not surpassing last year's fundraising total - but helping as many people as they can. 

"Last year we were able to support 18,000 families and in those households, we had 28,000 children and 4,800 seniors," Winter said.

To learn how you can support this fundraiser go HERE.

"Because .92 cents of every dollar that we raise goes to programming," Winter said.

"The donations and the help you give today - you may be down that road one day where you need it yourself," said Brudzynski. "These are your neighbors, it takes a village."