Walkathon moving to August

Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ 45th Annual Walkathon, which raises money for its Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly, is set for August 29, a change from the event’s traditional spring date.

The Walkathon is typically held the first Sunday in May. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic paired with a later-than-usual 2020 Walkathon, which was held virtually, prompted organizers to push the 2021 fundraiser to August. MEOC Emergency Services Director Marsha Craiger said organizers hope for an in-person event this year if pandemic restrictions are lifted by that time. If restrictions are still in place, however, the Walkathon will again be held virtually.

The Walkathon is the Emergency Fuel Fund’s major fundraiser. The program assists older people throughout Lee, Wise and Scott counties and the City of Norton with winter heating costs. During the most recent fuel season, November 1, 2020 to March 30, 2021, the fund assisted 963 households with heating-related emergencies at a cost of nearly $196,000.

“We are very hopeful we can have everyone gather for the Walkathon in its traditional format this year,” said Craiger. “I am always humbled by the crowd that shows up to support the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. It is a display of a community taking care of and supporting its older generations.”

The 2021 Walkathon goal is $165,000. That is the same as last year, a target which was thankfully surpassed. MEOC again needs the community’s support to meet this goal and assist the frailest, most vulnerable people in need next winter.

MEOC Executive Director Michael Wampler noted the success of last year’s Walkathon despite the untraditional format. “Thanks to the tremendous support of the community, last year’s virtual Walkathon was a success. But we are very excited to get back outside, walk on the Greenbelt and have a picnic for our 45th Walkathon!”

Event organizers are ever appreciative of the local community’s support of the Emergency Fuel Fund. “We are so thankful and so grateful for every single individual, business, church and civic group who generously give to help others,” noted Craiger. “Every donation goes directly to help an older person in our service area. No money is used for administrative costs. And the money is spent right here in our local area, helping our local economy,” added Craiger.

For more information about this year’s Walkathon, contact MEOC at 276-523-4202 or 1-800-252-6362.

You may donate to the Emergency Fuel Fund at any time here.