Walkers Go The Extra Mile To Keep Others Warm

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Dozens of people walked the streets of Lansing in the cold today, so others can stay warm.

Consumers Energy puts on the Walk for Warmth event every year to raise money for people who can’t afford their heating bill.

Bundled in blue hats and scarves, these walkers are going the extra mile to put heat in other people’s homes.

“It’s sad that services and those things that families depend upon have been cut back,” Ivan Love, Executive Director of the Capital Area Community Services said. “The earned income tax credit has been cut back in the state of Michigan; it’s been cut back a thousand dollars approximately people used to use that to catch up on their utility bills.”

That’s why walkers from Consumers Energy, The Michigan Public Service Commission and Capital Area Community Services are taking the extra steps to help out.

“There’s always a need and this February we’ve seen exceptionally cold weather and so really the idea is for us to get out and try to raise money and try to raise awareness,” Brian Wheeler, Senior Public Information Officer for Consumers Energy said. “This is something that we can do that puts real dollars in real people’s household budgets and helps them out right away.”

According to Ivan Love, who is the Executive Director of The Capital Area Community Service, this walk helps pay utility bills for more than 2,000 families in Ingham, Eaton, and Shiawassee County.

“The real benefit of these dollars is they’re flexible because they are locally donated and they have no time limit, so we can spend them anytime during the year,” Love said.

But it’s the winter months that see the highest demand.

“During this heating season, we’ve released 89 millions of dollars of funding for grant assistance and we’ve just announced we have additional 22 to last the rest of the heating season,” Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, John Quackenbush said.

“It’s so cold out, and what I’m amazed of is that they’ve been doing this for over 30 years and it’s every little thing counts,” a participant, Millie Heinz said.

Consumers Energy will match a dollar for every dollar raised today.

Last year walks like this raised more than $300,000 across the state.

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