Sponsorship deadline for Walk for Warmth approaches

HEATING HELP: Volunteers and sponsors are still needed for the Walk for Warmth at Ferris State University on Saturday, Feb. 28. (Pioneer file photo)

HEATING HELP: Volunteers and sponsors are still needed for the Walk for Warmth at Ferris State University on Saturday, Feb. 28. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Mid Michigan Community Action is still seeking sponsors, walkers and volunteers for its Walk for Warmth event at Ferris State University on Saturday, Feb. 28.

The event, now in its 24th year, is designed to raise awareness and financial aid for people who need help with their heating bills during winter.

According to Amy Lafnear, account executive for Mid Michigan Community Action, more than 100 people participated in each of last year’s walks, raising about $56,000.

Participation in the event is free; however, MMCA is looking for sponsors for the event before the Friday, Jan. 9 deadline.

“We have different levels of sponsorships, ranging from $500 to upwards of $5,000,” Lafnear said. “There is no cost of participation for the walkers and the volunteers, but we do ask for personal contributions.”

Proceeds from the walk will go to the Mid-Michigan Emergency Utility Program, which supplies financial support for individuals and families who are struggling to pay their utilities, but do not qualify for already established programs.

“We are still in talks with sponsors until the middle of January, so we are still unsure as to the number of sponsors we will have,” Lafnear said. “Last year, there were multiple sponsors with Berends Hendricks Stuit Insurance Agency, Chemical Bank, DTE Energy and Trivalent Group as top sponsors.”

Registration for the event will begin at 9 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. Walkers, volunteers are encouraged to visit www.mmcaa.org/w4w/ to download the pledge form. Sponsors are encouraged to register at visit www.mmcaa.org/w4w/sponsors.html .

MMCA also will host events on March 7 in Clare and March 21 in Midland.

“A cold home isn’t just uncomfortable — it’s dangerous,” said Jill Sutton, executive director of Mid Michigan Community Action. “The Walk for Warmth events focus on eliminating this problem by increasing the amount of support we can provide to individuals and families so they can feel warm and safe in their homes.”

Volunteers will be asked to do various tasks to make the event run as smoothly as possible, such as registration, assisting with the kickoff ceremony, providing course directions to participants and cheering on walkers.

This year’s event will have an added twist, with the Mid Michigan Community Action combining events — scaling back the number of walks in six different counties to three throughout the area.

Lafnear hopes the combined events will allow MMCA to focus its efforts on putting on only three successful events and encourage collaboration between the six counties in the area.

“This will allow us to put on bigger, better events,” Lafnear said. “It will also make the different counties in Mid-Michigan feel more connected, as we are all fighting the same fight — making sure people are warm during the winter.”

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