Walk for Warmth to raise money for under-resourced families in greater Windham

On Sunday, Nov. 19, the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM) will be holding its 25th annual Walk for Warmth to raise money for under-resourced families in greater Windham.

The event will begin at Temple Bnai Israel on Jackson St in Willimantic, with registration starting at 1 p.m. and an optional interfaith service at 1:30 p.m., followed by a two-mile walk through Willimantic starting at 2:15 p.m.

It will conclude about one hour later with food, children’s activities and socializing, according to a press release.

“Participants register for $25 per person and deliver additional pledges contributed by friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors,” the press release said.

Walk for Warmth organizers are hoping to attract over 300 walkers and raise a total of $40,000.

Victoria Nimirowski, WAIM’s executive director, said the organization’s income has been down this year after a gas explosion at the Spring Hill Inn caused them to cancel a wine-tasting fundraiser scheduled for Oct. 21.

“Every year, hardworking low-income individuals and families rely on our general programs to provide basic necessities and our energy assistance program to serve as a safety net to keep their utilities on in cold weather,” Nimirowski said. “This year, our overall fundraising is down because of the accident that canceled the wine tasting. Our energy assistance funding is also very low because we have used up last year’s funds. We need the help of existing and new patrons on November 19th to add as much to the energy assistance fund at possible.”

Nimirowski said the Walk for Warmth is vital to continuing WAIM’s efforts of providing assistance to greater Windham’s individuals and families.

“The Walk for Warmth is so important for so many people in this community,” Nimirowski said. “When a financial shock occurs, the incomes in these households are often not enough to cover basic needs. Through the energy assistance fund, we can respond immediately to personal financial crises and make life a little better for so many families.”

Since 2007, WAIM has distributed $727,665 in energy assistance to 6,616 people from 2,549 local families, according to the press release.

“Last year, proceeds from the event helped 406 people from 172 families to access heat, hot water or electricity. This year, event planners hope that more schools, colleges, civic groups, community-based organizations and clubs will participate and help increase money raised,” the press release said.

Individuals and organizations who wish to participate can contact Evelyn Solla at (860) 456-7270, ext. 12. Non-walkers can donate online to support WAIM at www.waimct.org.

The event can be followed on Facebook at WAIMwalk or WAIMonFB and on Twitter and Instagram @waimwalk.


Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.