Walk for Warmth to hold 25th annual event Saturday morning

Saturday, March 22, 2014
Meriden Record-Journal
Meriden, CT

The 25th annual Walk for Warmth will take place today with a brand new 5k run .

New Opportunities Community Services Director Larry Elliott said the run, sanctioned by U.S.A Track and Field, is in addition to the traditional 3k walk.

Elliott said that over the last 24 years the event has consisted of the walk and post-walk activities, but some of the staff this year wanted to add the 5k as another component. Since its inception, the Walk for Warmth in Meriden has raised over $350,000 to assist residents with heating costs, Elliott said. Last year’s event raised about $32,000 and an average year will see about $20,000, Elliot said. The goal for this 25th anniversary event is $50,000, Elliott said.

“All these years people have made a sacrifice and helped a number of households not go cold,” Elliott said.

The 5k is a “downtown run” starting at First Congregational Church on Colony Street, then onto Hanover Street, onto Coe Avenue, down onto West Main Street, then Lewis Avenue, back onto Colony Street and back to the church. About 100 people preregistered for the 5k, and there will be registration an hour before the event. Elliot said there was a great collaboration with the city and police department. Elliot said New Opportunities and the city were both looking to keep running the event in the future.

“It’s a community event that can only be a success through the collaboration of different individuals, organizations and departments, and it’s crucial to the success of the event itself, “Elliot said.

City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior said “it’s a great event for a great cause,” particularly after a hard, cold winter like the one the city just went through. “It builds up local support and brings people together,” Kendzior said.

Kendzior said New Opportunities manages the funding and distributes it to the residents who sign up for assistance. Kendzior said it was a tough year, funds are low and the program can use all the help possible.

City Councilor Miguel Castro will be running in the 5k, and said he has been a great supporter of the event in years’ past. Castro, who runs various races a year, said he likes running in local races and bringing people’s attention to the events.

The idea to add the 5k will hopefully bring even more runners to Meriden, Castro said.

“I encourage everyone to participate not only for the race, also for a great cause,” Castro said. “It’s something close to my heart and I’m happy Meriden has it.”

The event will start with registration at about 9 a.m. at First Congregational Church, 62 Colony St. The race and walk are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. The events are estimated to take about 45 minutes, and after there will be raffles, auctions and kid friendly events at the church.

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