Collection efforts for a fund that’s designed to help folks in Washington and Hancock County offset their heating cost are off to a good start. But officials at the Washington Hancock Community Agency say they’ve still got a lot of work to do.The THAW fund was started back in 2006. It helps folks who need help with their home heating bills but either don’t qualify for the LIHEAP program or have already exhausted their federal money.Today the Maine Community Foundation made a donation of nearly $30,000 to the THAW fund. Officials who oversee the fund say the number of people who need their help has been steadily on the rise. “Fuel prices are higher than they were last winter,” says Joe Perkins, Community & Family Services Director at the Washington Hancock Community Agency. “There’s a threat that unemployment benefits will run out unless Congress acts. The benefits that people were getting from the LIHEAP, the federal program, is less at this time then it was last year.”Their goal is to raise $150,000 this year. In the past year the THAW fund has helped more than 400 families.For more information on the THAW fund or to make a donation you can call the agency at. 664-2424.