As within much of the U.S., economic prospects have improved across Michigan. But a recent report concluded that the poverty rate actually increased in about half of the state’s communities over the past decade. And with winter now blanketing Michigan, where daily low temperatures often fall under 20°F, this time is a reminder of how some of the state’s residents struggle paying off those expensive winter heating bills.

To learn how both companies and individuals have banded together to help vulnerable residents during the difficult winter months – while inspiring these same people to take action and pay it forward – TriplePundit (3P) recently interviewed Kate White, Executive Director of Michigan Community Action, a coalition of nonprofits committed to fighting poverty across the Wolverine State. Prior to joining the organization, White had a long career working within legal aid programs, other nonprofits and government agencies. “I made the switch to Michigan Community Action because of the values we share in fighting poverty, as we work with those who need a hand up, not a handout,” said White.

One of the many initiatives on which Michigan Community Action works is Walk for Warmth, which operates exactly how it sounds: community walks, organized at both indoor and outdoor venues, raise awareness, and funds, to help out citizens who face difficulty in paying their home heating costs. Walk for Warmth is a decentralized program, reflecting Michigan Community Action itself, which is a network with 29 chapters throughout Michigan. Across various cities and counties, local groups schedule and launch walks. All Walk for Warmth events keep 100 percent of the funds locally in the county in which they are raised.

Read the full article on Triple Pundit, part of a special series from Consumers Energy of Michigan.

Image credit: Consumers Energy

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.