The annual Walk America event will return to Storm Lake on Saturday, May 12. Fundraising efforts began this week.
Walk America is the major fundraiser for the March of Dimes, which works locally and nationwide to prevent birth defects and premature births.
"We want to do all we can to help give babies the chance for a healthy start in life," says Jill Wooster, community director for the Siouxland March of Dimes Foundation.
She has been busy rounding up business partners to help sponsor the local walk, in hopes of revitalizing the event.
"Last year we raised $19,000 in Storm Lake, and that was off somewhat from what we had done in the past," Wooster said. "We are going to set our goal at $24,000 this year."
Pledge envelopes are available now at participating businesses, and at the offices of the Pilot-Tribune and KKYL/KKIA radio, the media sponsors for the walk. Entrants may also sign up online at walkamerica.org., or may call 1-800-525-WALK.
This year's walk will again begin at Chautauqua Park and run west to Frank Starr Park, due to construction along the former lakefront route. There will be food, water breaks, fun, prizes and possibly special events taking place at the walk.
Participants may enter as individuals, families, or teams representing their workplaces or organizations.
Storm Lake Sara Lee is the team to beat, having placed first in fundraising a year ago, edging out Cherokee K-Mart, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Newell-Fonda Elementary School and Storm Lake South Elementary teams.
Juelisse Castillo was last year's top pledge walker, bringing in $383, with Sarah Deitering and Patricia Miller close behind at $300 each. Last year's number one Iowa walker, Sheila Molden , raised $11,170.
Youth who earn $50 or more in donations, and adults with $100 or more, earn special Walk America comemmorative t-shirts, There are additional prizes for higher amounts.
Office Elements in Storm Lake will be hosting a kick-off coffee for Walk America on March 14 at 10:30 a.m. More details will be announced.
The organizers of the local walk are also seeking an Ambassador Family to represent the effort in the community. Anyone who has had their family's lives touched by the services of the March of Dimes is encouraged to call Jill Wooster at 1-877-343-6101.