Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District have seen a 38% increase in the number of customers requesting assistance with their bills since the pandemic began. The need, while up this past year, is constant in our communities. That’s why the utilities work so hard to generate funds for their assistance programs.
M.U.D. and OPPD are teaming up for the 14th annual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth. It takes place this Saturday, March 6. This year, it’s being held virtually via www.HeatTheStreetsOmaha.com. The event is hosted during the cold winter months to bring attention to those who struggle to keep the lights on and heat their homes.
Register for the event or simply donate to the cause by visiting HeatTheStreetsOmaha.com.
- Virtual 5K price: $35
- Virtual one-mile walk price: $25 (Children 12 and under free with paid adult.)
Funds raised through registrations and donations are administered by Dollar Energy Fund and split between M.U.D.’s Home Fund and OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program.
OPPD and M.U.D. encourage participants to complete the 5K run or one-mile walk on March 6 on their own – in neighborhoods, local trails, or even on a treadmill. Participants in the 5K may submit their results online. Awards will be mailed to the first-, second- and third-place male and female runners in each of the following age divisions:
- 12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+
As we head into the home stretch, the event has raised nearly $88,000 of its $100,000 goal.
“Donations in support of these programs have a significant impact in the community and further our ability to provide services to those who have nowhere else to turn,” said Chad Quinn, chief executive officer of Dollar Energy Fund.
“The pandemic has had a huge impact on demand for the services we provide,” said Maj. Greg Thompson, divisional commander of the Omaha-based Salvation Army Western Division, one of 41 agencies that partners with the utilities and Dollar Energy Fund. “We’ve seen that practically across the board.”
Inner Rail Food Hall, a collective of individual family-run restaurants at Aksarben Village, 1911 So. 67th St., is also supporting the cause. Now through March 15th, you can purchase a $12 meal to donate to local healthcare heroes working on the frontline of the pandemic. And $4 from each meal purchased will go toward local utility assistance programs.
Matt Taylor, Inner Rail regional director, said since the pandemic started last year, he’s been inspired by watching his vendors, even as they struggled to support their own families and businesses, support their neighbors in need.
“Inner Rail is a supportive place for our internal community, and a welcoming gathering place for our community at large,” he said. “We are so proud to be able to continue this service virtually and contact-free by partnering with Heat the Streets this year."
Tanya Cook, director, M.U.D. Board of Directors, and Janece Mollhoff, director, OPPD Board of Directors, alongside her husband, Wayne Mollhoff, are co-chairing this year’s event.
“Keeping homes warm and safe has taken on an even higher priority within the last year,” said Director Cook.
Director Molhoff said it’s been wonderful to see so many come together to help lessen the burden for others. “We need to support our communities now and through the recovery.”