Walk for Warmth event to take place March 1
OSCEOLA COUNTY — With this year's winter temperatures dropping below zero without a hint of relief, having the ability to heat a home is imperative for the lives of local residents in need.
Each year, volunteers and participants of Walk for Warmth strive to provide the assistance to keep struggling individuals and families warm through the winter. The annual fundraiser, hosted by Mid Michigan Community Action, helped 348 households across six counties last year, more than half of which were occupied by children under 18. All proceeds benefit the Emergency Utility Assistance Program and will help those in need with payment of utility bills. All recipients are local.
Keeping a home warm during winter is necessary for the lives of everyone, but especially children and senior citizens, who are more at risk for illness.
"Getting a utility shut-off notice can be a dangerous and deadly situation," said Meagan McGone, spokeswoman for Mid Michigan Community Action. "If you can imagine having a hard time paying your heating bills when it's this cold out, it's scary."
Osceola and Mecosta counties are teaming up at this year's Walk for Warmth event, which will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, at the Ferris State University Student Recreation Center. Registration will begin an hour before walking begins, which will loop for a mile and a half around campus before reconvening back at the recreation center. All ages are welcome and participants can walk at their own pace.
The walk is meant to be taken outside, so participants get the feeling of how cold it may become inside a home if heating bills cannot be paid. All donations are accepted, and people who donate at least $50 will receive a T-shirt. Refreshments, including doughnuts from Bernie's Place, will be provided and live music will help get people excited, McGone added.
Last year, 90 individuals participated, but this year, she hopes Ferris students will join the event as it is close to home. It's also a great way to meet new people and come together for a common goal, she added.
"The atmosphere that's created during the event is really a feeling of community and a sense of helping others," McGone said. "To do something like this takes compassion."
For more information on Mid Michigan Community Action or Walk for Warmth, visit mmcaa.org or call Meagan McGone at (321) 961-4732.