10th annual Walk for Warmth
Feb. 9, 2018 La Grande, Ore. — The 10th annual Union County Walk for Warmth is set for Saturday, Feb. 17 and participants will put their feet to the pavement in one, two and three mile walks, as well as 5k and 10k runs. Bill Grigsby, a sociology professor at Eastern Oregon University, works with student volunteers to increase EOU’s presence and participation in the event.
Members of the Mission for Environmental and Social Awareness Club (MESA) at Eastern Oregon University are key organizers of the event and students are busy selling tickets for the raffle. Just 200 are available for $5 each. MESA has been involved with the event since its inception in 2009, largely through the efforts of sociology professor (now emeritus) Rosemary Powers and community member Sherry Mendoza.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. for runners and 10:30 a.m. for walkers at the Union County Senior Center, on the corner of Cove Avenue and Albany Street. A group walk starts at 11 a.m. Indoor walking in the senior center is also encouraged. Complimentary hot lunch will be provided beginning at 11:30 a.m., with live music, a silent auction and raffle drawings throughout the morning.
The goal is to raise $15,000 in this 10th annual event, and there are multiple ways to contribute: gathering pledges for the walk, becoming a sponsor or donating items for the raffle to be awarded as prizes for walkers. Contributions of non-perishable food items are also being accepted, with 10 percent of total donations going to the “Eating is Heating” campaign.
The Oregon Housing and Community Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) sets the income requirements for providing monetary assistance to qualified renters and homeowners. There are gaps in the coverage tiers where Walk for Warmth steps in.
Funds raised by the event are placed in an account that is more flexible, but still managed by Community Connection. The money can also be used for other heating emergencies like replacing a broken water heater or purchasing firewood. 10 percent of donations will be available for low income seniors via Meals on Wheels.
“This short walk/run in the winter cold reminds us of how much we may take warm homes for granted,” Grigsby said. “We invite individuals, clubs, church groups and businesses to join us in a call to action: as we ‘move our feet to give others heat.’”
Walk for Warmth organizers include C.U.R.R.E.N.T.S. of Justice for Peace, MESA, Community Connection, Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Union), Grande Ronde Road Runners and more.