March 19 • 04:27 AM
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Walk for Warmth needs volunteers

To the Editor:

Think back over your lifetime… do you ever remember a time when you couldn't pay your heating bill, and were in danger of not being able to heat your home? Maybe you are in that situation now, or know someone who is. The fact is, hundreds of people in the Thumb Area are currently in that situation, and the majority is senior citizens and children.

That's why each year, Human Development Commission holds its Walk for Warmth event. Walk for Warmth is a voluntary effort on the part of area citizens to raise money to assist those "working poor," handicapped, and seniors with utility emergencies. Each year, HDC helps close to 1,000 individuals or families in Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac and Tuscola counties with energy bills. With our currently sluggish economy, HDC anticipates an equal or even greater demand in 2009.

The typical Walk for Warmth recipient is a two or three person household living under the poverty level. More than 70% of those who seek HDC help with fuel payments receive no public assistance, and nearly 60% are employed or have become only recently unemployed. Whereas the typical local resident spends 7% of their income on heating fuel in the winter, a W4W participant is spending 30% of their budget to heat their home. Unfortunately, HDC did not have enough funds to help everyone in emergency heating situations that needed it in 2008.

HDC is encouraging everyone living in Lapeer, Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola Counties to participate in Walk for Warmth 2009. There are several ways you can help. One of the most valuable ways you, your co-workers, friends and family members can help is by securing as much in pledges as you are able, and then show up to walk a one-mile route on Saturday, February 28 in any one of the four counties. Or, if you do not want to walk, you can still collect pledges and HDC will designate a volunteer to walk for you! Walker registration begins at 9 a.m., with simultaneous walks in all four counties starting at 9:30 a.m. The Lapeer County walk begins at the County Historic Courthouse on Nepessing Street in downtown Lapeer.

Carol Arman, Communication Manager, Human Development Commission
February 04, 2009

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