Community raises funds, awareness for those needing heating assistance

The annual Walk for Warmth raises funds to help low income families in Manistee County with emergency utility assistance. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Walkers of all ages came together at the FiveCAP office on First Street in Manistee to take part in the 26th annual Walk for Warmth.

Despite the chilly weather, even the youngest participants were eager to start the walk, which benefited Manistee County residents in need of heating assistance.

Walk for Warmth raises funds to help low income families in Manistee County with emergency utility assistance. The funds are specifically designed to assist those people who are unable to be assisted by other state and federal programs.

“The walk is to raise awareness so the community realizes that there are people in need,” said FiveCAP community support worker Tara Treesh. “We also raised the funds to be able to help those people that may need help paying for heating.”

The walk went from the FiveCAP offices located on the east end of First Street through River Street to Oak Street and back. Participants enjoyed the provided lunch upon their arrival back at the office.

“We generally see about 20 participants each year, sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less,” said Treesh. “We generally get over $1,000 each year, but this year will be a little more due to a bigger donation we received. Local businesses and some of our walkers raise pledges to support this.”

Some of the donations this year were given by Morton Salt and Packaging Corporation of America.

The funds help those who have experienced a loss of employment or suffer from underemployment, are on a fixed income or unable to meet the basic payment of their utility bills. They must also have been denied help in writing from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Treesh felt it was important not only to raise funds for those in need, but also to raise awareness for individuals struggling to heat their homes.

“I think everybody in the community should help each other,” she said. “A lot of people who are better off don’t realize that there are a lot of people who can’t make ends meet. It’s good to support each other.”

FiveCAP executive director Mary Trucks pointed out that every donation helps the effort.

“All donations of any amount are appreciated and will be used for a good purpose,” said Trucks.

Trucks added that those who took the time to volunteer, pledge and walk received the satisfaction of knowing they helped individuals and families in need in Manistee County.

Contact Jane Bond at (231) 398-3111 or email jane.bond@hearst.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MNA_Jane.

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