Walk for Warmth raises awareness of Isabella County heating needs
The air may have been cold, but the sun stayed out for people walking in the first Mount Pleasant Walk for Warmth.
EightCAP workers and volunteers met at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 320 S. Bradley St., Saturday and walked about three-quarters of a mile to raise awareness for those in need.
“The focus is to raise money to keep families warm,” EightCAP community coordinator Mary Schneider said. “The money can help families to prevent utility shut-offs or pay for wood, propane or rent bills.”
Schneider said she hopes to raise about $5,000 to add to the $20,000 they raise yearly for families.
Kelly Kjolhede, early childhood specialist for EightCAP, brought her 10-year-old son Kaden out to support the event.
“We came out because there’s such a big need,” she said. “He really enjoyed himself, he talked almost the whole way.”
She said the event has grown in other counties and she hopes it continues to expand in Isabella County, as well.
EightCAP President John Van Nieuwenhuyzen said programs such as Walk For Warmth exist to ensure no one goes without the basic necessities of life.
“The purpose of the actual walk is for others to empathize with people in need,” said Van Nieuwenhuyzen, a Mount Pleasant resident.
He said tough economic times make a bigger need for programs like Walk for Warmth.
Schneider said people donating or walking in the event were asked to raise at least $35. Walkers were also funded by local businesses.
Sophomores Abby MacCormack of Menominee and Kelsey Bourbeau of Portage said they volunteered because they were looking for something to do on the weekend.
“An event like this is only a couple of hours of your time,” Bourbeau said. “It’s easy and fun to do.”
EighCAP hosted events in Ionia, Gratiot and Montcalm counties during the past five years. Schneider said it came to Mount Pleasant for the first time this year.
“The staff felt that it was time to sponsor a walk here,” said Van Nieuwenhuyzen. “This area was ready.”
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