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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Walk for Warmth event raises more than $11,000

Walk for Warmth event raises more than $11,000

Community members throughout Union County really came together Feb. 15 to help families in need.        

Everyone who walked, pledged money and sponsored the Walk for Warmth event has a lot to feel good about. 

If all the pledges come in, the total for the 2014 Walk for Warmth one-day event will be more than $11,000, which will help about 33 households with heating costs this winter. The money raised is for people whose income is higher than the federal income guidelines of the Low Income Heating Assistance Program. 

In addition, 10 percent of the proceeds will go to the Meals on Wheels program under the banner of  “eating is heating, too!” as a way to bring attention the plight of our most fragile citizens who have been severely impacted by federal budget cuts this year. In the last year, many families have been helped. Here are a couple of stories of how and what the funds have covered. Names are changed to protect identities. 

Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are in their late 60s, and both have significant medical issues. She suffers from severe seizures, and he has COPD and emphysema. 

They both take very expensive medication and have no medication coverage because they are $12 a month over income for Medicare Part D. They were also $5.30 over income for the Federal Energy Assistance Program, which meant that with the help of Walk for Warmth money we were able to help them with $300 toward their Oregon Trail Electric bill. His medication just for his breathing treatments are more than $400 each, and hers are more than $300. They struggle to keep up with regular bills. 

Walk for Warmth helped them get through a month of paying their heating bill so they could afford another month of their medication. 

Mr. Richards is trying to work a part-time job to supplement his Social Security. His income from his part-time job just barely put him over the income limits of the federal program. He normally doesn’t get that much work on his part-time job but was thankful for the extra money during the holiday season. He didn’t qualify for the federal program but does qualify for Walk for Warmth.  He will need the extra help this winter because he won’t have the part-time job in the coming months to supplement his disability income.

These are real stories of people who have been helped with their heating costs because of the gracious donations the community has made. 

Without Walk for Warmth, Community Connection would have just had to turn these people and others away. It is really difficult to tell people who are doing everything they can to make it, “I’m sorry, you are $5 over income for any help.” 

There are so many people who went the extra mile literally to help families in Union County. 

Eighty  walkers of all ages, including a strong and visible first-time participation by Eastern Oregon University’s ROTC and by the Celtic Society of Northeast Oregon, moved their feet to give others heat.     

We had close to 40 volunteers working to put on the event, with major leadership by Brittany Thibodeau, Sherry Mendoza and Rosemary Powers and members of the EOU MESA Club.  

Everyone did an amazing job and should be commended on their efforts. Community Connection is really thankful for such a wonderful event and some really wonderful volunteers who make this all happen.  

 Community Connection is still accepting donations at 1504 Albany St., La Grande 97850. 

For information about next year’s event, slated for Feb. 14, contact Sherry Mendoza at 541-663-1534.

Carmen Gentry is Union County manager for Community Connection of Northeast Oregon.

 
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