MEOC’s 44th Annual Walkathon going virtual

Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ (MEOC) 44th Annual Walkathon, which raises money for its Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly, will be a little different this year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be virtual.

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. Last winter, 1,056 older friends and neighbors were assisted with heating-related emergencies at a cost of over $227,000.

This year’s Walkathon goal is $165,000. MEOC needs the community’s support to meet this target and assist the frailest, most vulnerable people in need next winter.

“All donations go directly to help older individuals in the community,” said MEOC Emergency Services Director Marsha Craiger. “No money is ever used for administrative costs whatsoever. Every penny helps someone in need and is spent right here in our local area, helping our local economy, she added.

An increase in assistance requests is anticipated for next winter. “We feel there will be a substantial increase in need due to the pandemic,” noted MEOC Executive Director Michael Wampler. “The costs for food and other commodities continue to rise, placing an even greater financial burden for those already struggling to make ends meet,” he continued.


A virtual walk is a real walk done at your convenience. To participate, simply complete a 5k walk before Sept. 30 at whatever time and location works best for you. Then, share your pictures, videos and comments on social media using the hashtag #MEOCWalkathon2020 to show your support.

As always, individuals who raise $100 or more will receive MEOC’s annual Walkathon t-shirt.

To participate, contact MEOC at 276-523-4202 to get your pledge form, so that you can begin gathering sponsors.

If you are unable to walk, but still want to support the cause, your contribution can be sent to MEOC, P.O. Box 888, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. You may also visit MEOC’s website to make a donation. Please designate your contribution for the EFF/Walkathon.

Everyone can help by spreading the word to family, friends and neighbors about this event.

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