Walk for Warmth raises funds for residents in need

Local walk raises $6,550

Walk for Warmth participants walked a brisk, but scenic route in Baldwin, raising funds for emergency heating that will stay in Lake County. (Submitted photo)

Walk for Warmth participants walked a brisk, but scenic route in Baldwin, raising funds for emergency heating that will stay in Lake County. (Submitted photo)

LAKE COUNTY — Area residents who struggle with heating bills during the winter and fall into emergency situations have an extra safety net thanks to FiveCAP, Inc.’s Walk for Warmth, a program where community members can reach out to their neighbors each year.

Walk for Warmth funds allow FiveCAP to help low-income families and individuals who are barely over the threshold to meet qualifications for state or federal assistance, or to help residents when state and federal funds are exhausted or delayed.

“The two objectives of Walk for Warmth are to raise awareness of people in need, and to also help meet those needs,” said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks. “Programs don’t always go far enough, and household income doesn’t always meet the needs. Some people might be $1 above the limit for assistance for heating. It is necessary to have a safety net.”

Due to COVID-19, many Community Action Agencies conducted a virtual walk this year, but FiveCAP, serving Mason, Lake, Manistee and Newaygo counties, decided to continue with the two-mile brisk, winter walk on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Program organizers said it was important to proceed with the walk, especially with the extra economic hardships brought on by COVID-19 this past year. While walkers braved a couple hours of frigid temperatures, too many households face the prospect of days, weeks or months without adequate heating during the winter.

In conjunction with the 28th annual walk, funds also were collected year-round. With the combined effort, a total of $14,020 was raised to help area residents in times of need.

Lake County raised $6,550; Mason County raised $760; Manistee County raised $470; and Newaygo County, $12.50.

Susie Bradford Tripp, who has participated in almost every Walk for Warmth event since it began, said supporting her county is something she is happy to do.

“We love our county so much, and that we’re able to support FiveCAP in their long-standing endeavor to help keep families warm in the winter has been critical all these years. All the funding stays in the county,” she added.

Contributions are accepted year-round and are especially needed with the extra difficulties brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. Anyone interested in making a contribution can contact FiveCAP in Baldwin at (231) 745-6254.