LAKE COUNTY \u2014 Area residents who struggle with heating bills during the winter and fall into emergency situations have an extra safety net thanks to FiveCAP, Inc.\u2019s 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. \u201cThe two objectives of Walk for Warmth are to raise awareness of people in need, and to also help meet those needs,\u201d said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks. \u201cPrograms don\u2019t always go far enough, and household income doesn\u2019t always meet the needs. Some people might be $1 above the limit for assistance for heating. It is necessary to have a safety net.\u201d 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. \u201cWe love our county so much, and that we\u2019re 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,\u201d 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.