Doing something to help others

LAKE COUNTY - Each February, a perennial gathering of Lake County residents comes together to Walk for Warmth.

The annual fundraiser, which helps FiveCAP, Inc. provide heat assistance to local residents in need, has become a tradition for many participants.

“I might only see some of these people once a year, so it’s so much fun to catch up and say hi,” said event organizer and annual walker Connie Theunick-Perley. “And we’re all there for a common cause we believe in – to keep people warm in the winter.

“I look forward to seeing some of these people each year. We come out and we have a good time.”

Lee Schwartz, another regular participant, agreed.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said, “and the same people seem to always come out to walk and they enjoy it very much. Plus, you know you’re doing something that’s got a good purpose.”

Schwartz runs the thrift store in Baldwin, and said she tries to keep the prices as low as possible to so that it’s affordable to those in need. At the store, she often hears stories from customers and is very aware of the need for heating assistance.

Walk for Warmth provides her with an opportunity to do something about it.

“It’s a gathering of residents that want to help others,” she said.

Though the annual fundraiser has become a reunion of sorts for people who participate each year, Theunick-Perley said she encourages new people to come out for the walk too. She also tells members of churches and other community or school groups that it’s a great chance to spend time together while representing their organization.

“I always tell people, wouldn’t you like to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning having fun and fellowship for a good cause?” she said. “A lot of people can’t give their time on a weekly basis, but can offer a couple of hours on a Saturday, especially this time of year.

“It’s an opportunity to serve the community and the county, have fun and make someone’s life better.”

This year’s Walk for Warmth will take place on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning at St. Ann Catholic Church Rectory at 690 East Ninth St., in Baldwin. Pledge sheets are available at FiveCAP, located at 2476 West 44th Street, also in Baldwin.

The funds raised through Walk for Warmth allow FiveCAP to provide heat assistance to those who may not qualify for state and federal programs and also provide an option once funding through those programs is exhausted.

For more information on the fundraiser, contact FiveCAP at (231) 745-4617.