By Jodie Fletcher FiveCAP, Inc. BALDWIN\u00a0\u2014\u00a0A total of 119 people across four counties braved the winter chill to support FiveCAP\u2019s annual Walk for Warmth fundraiser, which took place on Feb. 21. FiveCAP was proud to announce $18,200 was raised. \u201cWe are so pleased with the turnout this year,\u201d said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks. \u201cEvery dollar helps. Over the years, we\u2019ve seen the amount allocated for federal and state programs cut time and again, making fundraisers like this more important than ever.\u201d FiveCAP uses its Walk for Warmth fund to provide heat assistance to people who might not otherwise qualify for available government programs. The program provides emergency help to families who are low-income and have exhausted all other options. \u201cIt\u2019s truly a safety net we have to make sure no one falls through the cracks,\u201d Trucks said. \u201cIt is important to have that fund in place so we can ensure everyone is getting the help they need. Emergencies don\u2019t always come in perfect packages. Sometimes something happens and someone\u2019s income might exceed the limit for an existing program, or they need help and funds for existing programs have already been exhausted. The unpredictability is part of it being an emergency. \u201cBeing able to offer assistance in these circumstances is so important, and keeps us bundling up each year and walking.\u201d Each of the four counties in FiveCAP\u2019s service area held their own Walk for Warmth, and all the funds raised in each county will remain in that county to help residents of that county. The event featured a two-mile trek, for which walkers gathered pledges based on participation. There was no minimum donation to participate, and everyone was welcome to attend. A shorter route also was available so people of all abilities could participate. \u201cThis event is always enlightening, because many of our participants are clients who have received assistance through FiveCAP and are grateful for the service we provide,\u201d Trucks said. \u201cMany are active community members who are driven by their natural inclination toward philanthropy. With everyone walking side-by-side, it\u2019s a great opportunity for people to meet and talk to people outside their social circles. \u201cTalking to people, and really listening to what they have to say, is an eye-opening experience. Walk for Warmth is a chance for people to have these experiences with one another. Our neighbors are all dealing with their own set of challenges in life, but when we act together as a community, great things can be accomplished.\u201d The walk itself began at St. Ann\u2019s Senior Services in Baldwin. From there, participants took Eighth to Oak, Oak to 10th, and travelled back to St. Ann\u2019s where a light lunch was served. FiveCAP accepts donations to its Walk for Warmth fund year-round. To donate, send a check with \u201cWalk for Warmth\u201d noted in the memo line to FiveCAP at 2476 West 44th St., Baldwin, MI 49304. To enquire about heat assistance, stop by the office or call (231) 745-4617.