Employees hit the trail for energy assistance

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Runners take off from the starting line during Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth March 2, 2019 at Stinson Park. Photo courtesy of Roger Humphries Photography

Of the more than 560 registrants, single-digit temperatures did not freeze out nearly 250 runners and walkers raising money for utility energy assistance programs.

The 12th annual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth, organized by OPPD, Metropolitan Utilities District, Common Fund of the Heartland, Aksarben Village and Race Omaha, was held March 2 at its second new location– Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

weather not a worry

Below-average temperatures proved why the event is crucial. It highlighted the difficult decisions some residents make as to whether they will pay for food, medicine or heat for their homes.

“Heat the Streets is a pretty neat event. I had no clue that OPPD took such an active stance with the Common Fund and its mission,” said John Staup, director of talent acquisition for OPPD. “And it goes to prove yet again, that we as a company take honoring our community seriously.”

Staup added, “The event provided a great platform for me to talk to my daughter about what it means to give back to the community. And I could show her examples of ‘what good looks like’ and how important it is to care for others, especially those in need.”

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Volunteers sign in participants at Stinson Park prior to the event. Photo courtesy of Roger Humphries Photography.

Volunteers arrived as early as 6 a.m. to ensure the event was a “go” for the 9 a.m. start. The runners and walkers braved the snowy Keystone Trail segment that runs through Stinson Park. Participants passed snow-packed banks along the frozen Little Papillion Creek.

community effort

The Salvation Army supplied coffee, hot chocolate and water to keep the participants and volunteers warm and refreshed. Hy-Vee at 51st and Center streets, and Costco helped supply nutritional snacks. Additional sponsorships helped make the event a reality.

The event has raised more than $1 million for energy-related expenses over the past 12 years, along with awareness. Having the event in the winter months raises awareness of the need for utility assistance. Moving the venue to Aksarben Village created a centralized location for organizers and a family-friendly atmosphere.

helping yearround

Heat the Streets is OPPD’s largest fundraising event for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP). More than 200 employees registered their families, and OPPD’s senior management team strongly supported the event.

“I had so much fun and it was really encouraging to see the number of folks who came out, both from a volunteer and participant capacity,” said Jamie Wagner, community relations project manager, Community Outreach.

EAP works year-round to help neighbors in need. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

“I was proud to see how many OPPD employees showed up – despite the frigid temperature. I am so excited for next year!” said Wagner.

This event photo gallery was provided by Roger Humphries Photography.

Jeni Radik

About Jeni Radik

Jeni Radik is a contributor to The Wire. Her array of services, gift of gab, and love of people morphed into a communication assistant position at OPPD. When she is not studying for her communications degree, she is spending time with her children and grandchildren, among other activities.

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