As inflation raises prices on many goods and services, the ongoing challenges of our current economy are taking a toll on many of us. More and more Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District customers are seeking help to pay their utility bills.
The utilities’ annual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth, taking place Saturday, March 4, 2023, raises money for greatly-needed utility assistance programs. Registration for this event, now in its 16th year, is open at HeatTheStreetsOmaha.com. The event will be in Zone 6 at Aksarben Village, 1911 S. 67th St. in Omaha.
This year’s co-chairs are Gwen Howard, member of the M.U.D. Board of Directors, and her daughter, Sara Howard, who is a member of the OPPD Board of Directors.
The run and walk occurs during the cold winter months to bring added attention to the struggle so many face to keep their homes safe and warm. However, our customers’ need is year-round. The unexpected – a lost job, hospital stay, even car repairs – can be extra tough for those living paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes, just a little financial boost can make all the difference.
Last year’s event raised more than $150,000, with 100% of those funds benefiting customers in need of assistance. The donations provided much-needed assistance for 460 households served by M.U.D. and OPPD.
Funds raised through Heat the Streets are administered by Dollar Energy Fund, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves low-income utility customers. Funds are equally distributed between M.U.D.’s Home Fund and OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program. Dollar Energy Fund works with 35 local entities throughout the utilities’ service territories to provide this financial assistance for utility bills to our neighbors in need.
New participation options for 2023
The utilities have set a goal of 1,000 registrations for the 2023 event. They are providing some new participation options, which they hope will help.
Previously, Heat the Streets featured a timed 5K run or an untimed one-mile walk. However, we have new options for 2023.
For the first time, we are offering a timed five-mile option. Participants may also choose between a timed 5K or untimed run or walk. Those running will start at 9 a.m. Walkers will begin afterward, at 9:05 a.m. We continue to offer a virtual option, as well, where participants can run or walk a path of their own choosing, without being timed.
Costs follow for various registration options at HeatTheStreetsOmaha.com.
Timed 5-mile run:
Timed 5K run:
Virtual participation cost:
Children 12 and under receive free registration for the untimed event with a paid adult. Awards will be distributed to the first-, second- and third-place male and female runners in each of the following age divisions for the 5-mile and timed 5K events:
- 12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70+
Other ways to help
The community can also help without taking part in the run or walk itself, but by simply donating to the cause. They can do so by clicking here. To view sponsorship opportunities, click here. For more information, visit HeatTheStreetsOmaha.com, as well as the event’s Facebook page, as needed.
Both utilities urge any customers who are struggling with their bills to call their customer service representatives and talk through their options. For OPPD, that number is 402-536-4131 in the Omaha area. Outside of the metro, customers may call toll-free at 877-536-4131. M.U.D. customers should call 402-554-6666 or toll-free at 800-732-5864.
Provide safe, reliable and cost-effective natural gas and water services to our community
Provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers
About Dollar Energy Fund:
Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for households experiencing hardships by providing utility assistance and other services that lead to self-sufficiency. For more than 39 years, we’ve served the limited-income community by providing $240 million in utility assistance grants to more than 794,500 limited-income families and individuals.