The Washington Hancock Community Agency has gone through $60,000 since January 1st from its Thaw Fund. The money is used to help folks buy emergency fuel for their homes, whether they don't qualify for federal funding or they're waiting for their funds to kick in. The organization is hoping folks will donate to the fund, to help out our neighbors downeast.

Hancock and Washington counties were the hardest hit by the recent ice storm and subsequent power outages. This means that many had to pay to feed gas to generators for days on end, and then deal with frozen pipes once the heat came back on. Susan Farley of the WHCA told me about one such situation.

"I know of one particular instance where a woman called me, her husband died of cancer in August. Her and her 9-year-old daughter are living in their trailer and their pipes burst. They're not going to be able to live in that trailer anymore because the damage was so extensive. She was under several feet of ice for more than a week after the power came back on because the temperatures were so cold outside. They lost all of their food, they lost all of their belongings, and they're now trying to replace everything."

The Thaw Fund is made up totally of donations. And so now that the fund is empty, the WHCA is scrambling to try to replenish it. Susan told me how heartbreaking it is to have folks call for assistance and there's nothing they can do.

"We've helped so many people. You certainly don't want to tell an elderly lady who has finally worked up the courage to call us because she needs fuel assistance 'I'm sorry, we don't have any funds,' because it's so hard for them to even call."

She says it's really concerning the folks at the WHCA because they want to help but are challenged right now.

"It's hard for us because you worry about those people when you go home at night. You're human. And you worry about those people and you hope you hear from them again the next day. It's a scary situation and it's a stressing situation to be in, all the way around."

Susan says donations of any amount would be greatly appreciated as the WHCA works to help the residents of Washington and Hancock counties to recover from the challenges this winter has posed already, and get through the next few months.

For more information about the Thaw Fund, you can call the WHCA at 664-2424. Donation checks can be made out to the Washington Hancock Community Agency, with 'Thaw Fund' in the memo line. Send them to:

  • Washington Hancock Community Agency
  • 248 Bucksport Road
  • Ellsworth, ME 04605