Each year, many from the Eastpointe and Roseville communities join Macomb Community Action’s annual Walk for Warmth. Unlike last year, pictured, the 2021 walk will be taking place virtually due to COVID-19.

Each year, many from the Eastpointe and Roseville communities join Macomb Community Action’s annual Walk for Warmth. Unlike last year, pictured, the 2021 walk will be taking place virtually due to COVID-19.

Photo provided by Sarah Carter-Wallace


Walk for Warmth 2021 goes virtual

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published February 6, 2021

 Hundreds of volunteers come together each year to help their neighbors keep their homes warm during the winter months through Macomb Community Action’s annual Walk for Warmth. This year’s will be virtual.

Hundreds of volunteers come together each year to help their neighbors keep their homes warm during the winter months through Macomb Community Action’s annual Walk for Warmth. This year’s will be virtual.

Photo provided by Sarah Carter-Wallace

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MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb Community Action will be hosting its 31st annual Walk for Warmth virtually in order to continue its fundraising tradition while allowing people to stay socially distanced.

The Walk for Warmth supports low-income Macomb County residents in need during the winter months. All funds raised during the event will be used to assist individuals with heat-related emergencies such as paying a utility bill or replacing a broken furnace.

“Every year, Macomb County residents join together in the Walk for Warmth to help care for their neighbors in need,” Ernest Cawvey, director of Macomb Community Action, said in an email. “As the COVID pandemic continues to exacerbate the challenges of our most vulnerable families, our 31st Walk for Warmth is more important than ever. The pandemic also reminds us that we cannot address these monumental challenges alone, and the Walk for Warmth symbolizes the broad partnerships that help Macomb Community Action serve our community. We are thankful for the outpouring of community support that we have received throughout the pandemic, and grateful to our Walk for Warmth community sponsors and all of the individuals that have pledged their support this year. We look forward to seeing you virtually for this event.”

This year, those wishing to take part can do so at a location of their own choosing from Sunday, Feb. 21, to Saturday, Feb. 27. The walk traditionally is 5 kilometers in length and has taken place at Macomb Mall in Roseville for the last three years.

Participants who wish to take part this year will pledge online to walk or run 5K and are encouraged to take selfies and photos throughout their experience. They can make posts with the hashtag #W4W2021 and comment or post on Macomb Community Action’s Facebook and Twitter pages — @MacombCommunityAction and @_mcaction. Participants can also enter themselves in photo contests for prizes. The first 100 walkers to sign up will receive a Wally the Walker scarf. Anyone interested can register at www.mca.macombgov.org/mca-W4W.

“Because of COVID-19, we had to adjust our event to make sure people can stay safe, and we didn’t know what the safety protocols would be in February,” said Macomb Community Action Special Projects Coordinator Sarah Carter-Wallace. “So this year, to accommodate that, we are hosting a virtual event where people can choose to go to their favorite local trails or  parks, or malls or shops if they’re open, and participate virtually, take some photos, and share them with the hashtag #W4W2021 and be entered into a photo contest.”

Since it began, Walk for Warmth has raised nearly $770,000 that has helped local families stay warm in their homes throughout the winter. In 2020 alone, the event helped support 26 households consisting of over 50 individuals with electric or natural gas assistance. All of the recipients are Macomb County residents.

Of its 2020 recipients, 14% were single-parent households, 43% of the families were at 100% of the federal poverty level, 35% of the individuals were children, 12% were seniors ages 60 or older, 21% were disabled individuals, and five households were assisted with furnace repairs and replacements.

“This year, it is so important that we band together as a community, stay strong and help those in need to stay warm in the cold Michigan winters. Our mission is just as important as ever,” said Carter-Wallace. “We would like to raise at least $10,000, and we are hoping some corporate sponsors reach out to us.”

While it is difficult to organize people remotely, the event planners are trying to bring people together and unite them through the Walk for Warmth, even if they have to do so in different locations.

“It’s a way to meet with the community when we can’t personally meet with the community,” said Carter-Wallace. “We’re primarily reaching out to people online. We’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter, and we will have a Facebook event when the event is live, Feb. 21-27. We’re also reaching out to past walkers, and we are really hoping for public support because COVID has really hit people hard and we don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks.”

Carter-Wallace said she hopes people will still support an important program despite living in unusual times.

“We hope it will have the same impact,” she remarked. “That’s why we’re trying to engage on social media, since more people are spending time online. We hope that will help them connect with us on future events, as well.”

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