FAIRMONT - For thousands of orphans in Uganda, the act of sleeping is dangerous. Lying for hours on broken-down, bug-infested mats leaves the children prone to poor rest and disease, translating to trouble in school.
But several area residents from a variety of churches have taken on the issue.
To raise money for Sweet Sleep, an organization that provides beds and malaria nets to people in Uganda, an inaugural event has been scheduled during Fairmont's Interlaken Heritage Days. Heritage Days Hope Walk for Uganda, a 1-mile and 5K walk/run event, will take place June 10 at Sylvania Park.
Katie Kautzmann, youth director at United Methodist Church in Fairmont, is organizing the event.
Kautzmann has had it in her heart to serve Uganda since working with a Ugandan pastor at a camp many years ago, but the logistics have not worked out until now.
The goal is to raise funds to buy as many mattress/netting sets as possible. Each costs $200, so each team or individual who raises at least that amount will be entered in a prize drawing.
A group from Fairmont plans to deliver the mattresses and mosquito nets to Gulu, Uganda, in November.
Gulu, in northern Uganda, has suffered under a civil war for more than two decades. Peace recently was restored, but about 750,000 children were left orphans in the fighting.
"The awesome part of this is that walk-a-thon participants and sponsors are not only saving lives and meeting a very important need, but when Fairmont citizens return ... from Uganda, our community will be able to see pictures of the beds and malaria nets that they provided," Kautzman said.
Registration for the walk/run is $10 and begins 4 p.m. June 10 at Sylvania Park in Fairmont. The walk begins at 4:30. Following the walk is a benefit concert featuring Bright Light Parade.
To contribute to the fund-raising effort, checks can be made to Sweet Sleep and sent to Katie Kautzmann, youth director, 119 E. Second St., Fairmont.
Those interested in joining Kautzmann on her trip to Uganda can call for more information: (507) 236-2370.