Alyssa Sutton

The Union County Walk for Warmth will be making it’s 10th appearance in La Grande tomorrow.

Eastern Oregon University Sociology Professor Bill Grigsby said a considerable contingency of Eastern students will be volunteering at the event. The key organizers of the event are the members of the Mission for Environmental and Social Awareness Club at the university, Community Connection –– which is sponsoring the event –– and Community Connection manager Audrey Smith and community member Sherry Mendoza. MESA has been involved with the event since its inception, through the efforts of retired sociology professor Rosemary Powers, who was the club’s adviser.

“We’re looking for walkers and runners,” Grigsby said. The Walk for Warmth event features one-, two- and three-mile walking routes and a 5K and a 10K race.

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 in La Grande.

Additionally, students and organizers are selling $5 raffle tickets, for prizes including a homemade quilt by Ellen Krieger, a Wayne Arnson metal sculpture of wildlife and several gift cards from local businesses.

“We’re looking for donations, too, along with solidarity,” Grigsby said.

The proceeds from the event are used to financially assist community members who are struggling to pay heating bills. Last year the event raised more than $12,500. The goal this year is to raise $15,000.

There are many different ways to contribute, such as gathering pledges for the walk, becoming a sponsor or donating items for the raffles. Monetary donations are welcome, and this year contributions of non-perishable food items are being accepted, donations will go to local food banks, with 10 percent of the donations going to the “Eating is Heating” campaign. The idea behind this campaign is the less money spent on food, the more money available to pay for electricity and heat.

See complete story in Friday's Observer