The high cost of heating bills can be a concern during the cold Michigan winters, but for most it would be difficult to imagine struggling to stay warm inside their own home. Unfortunately, this is a very real problem for some Michigan families each day. These families are often forced to layer their clothing, huddle under blankets, use kerosene space heaters, and sometimes even candles because they cannot afford to heat their homes. Organizations such as the Blue Water Community Action Agency have stepped in to provide assistance for these families.
The Blue Water Community Action Agency assists families in need with funding for utilities such as heat, electricity, and deliverable fuels like propane, fuel oil, and even corn and wood. To qualify for this assistance, families must have a received disconnect notice, they must meet the low income criteria, and they must have resided in the county for at least one year. The program is operated on the basis of available funding, which comes from the Department of Human Services, the Heat and Warmth program, and the Michigan Community Action Agency. When funds from these sources run out, the program is continued with monies raised during the Walk for Warmth.
For the second consecutive year, staff and students from the Port Huron, Michigan campus of Ross Medical Education Center bundled up to participate in the Blue Water Community Action Agency Walk for Warmth on Saturday, February 27th. The event is held during the chilly winter months to provide a reminder of those who are in need of help with heating expenses. The Walk for Warmth participants gather pledges and join one another for a brisk two-mile walk through downtown Port Huron. At the end of the route, volunteers from Blue Water Community Action Agency provide a delicious hot breakfast for the walkers. In addition to the pledges collected, additional funds are raised through the sale of raffle tickets for a 50/50 drawing and for various themed prize baskets that are donated by local businesses for the cause.
This year marks the 28th year for the Blue Water Community Action Agency Walk for Warmth, and it turned out to be a resounding success. The Blue Water Community Action Agency collected a record $18,000 to supplement the heating and utilities program, surpassing last year’s total by $5,000. Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration program Instructor Kim VanDerMaas appreciated the large crowd that attended the Walk for Warmth this year. “It is gratifying to see how many people are passionate about this very worthy cause,” she said.
You can learn more about the many different services the Blue Water Community Action agency provides to those living in the St. Clair County area by visiting the Blue Water Community Action Agency Facebook page or their website at bwcaa.org.