Photos courtesy of Orange County United Way

In June, Orange County United Way (OCUW) and the Angels Baseball Foundation raised more than $165,000 at the fourth annual WALK UNITED at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

More than 2,700 people came out to the ballpark for the annual 5K Walk that raises funds and awareness for the more than 300,000 Orange County residents living below the poverty line.

For the fourth year in a row, Go Country 105.1 radio personality, Ginny Harman served as MC for the event, getting attendees pepped up and ready to WALK UNITED by kicking-off the opening ceremony at 9 a.m.

Orange County United Way President and CEO, Max Gardner then joined Ginny onstage to thank walkers for restoring hope with their actions by WALKing UNITED around the Angels’ Baseball field. Later, Gardner introduced Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, the recipient of the WALK UNITED Mayor’s Challenge for the second year for recruiting a team of walkers to support the event.

For doing their part to help our coworkers, neighbors, and friends get on the path to self-sufficiency, the City of Anaheim received 100 tickets to an Angels’ game to award to an Anaheim nonprofit. Of the 90 local programs in the areas of Education, Income, and Health that Orange County United Way supports through its Community Impact Fund, eight are located in Anaheim.

Next, Mark Merhab, Chairman of the Angels Baseball Foundation spoke about the partnership with Orange County United Way and how WALK UNITED brings the entire OC community together—from Brea to San Clemente—to help those in need. Merhab also thanked former Angels All-Star second baseman, Bobby Grichfor joining the community fun. Grich autographed photos for fans during the event.

After Merhab, Gregg Martin, WALK UNITED 2012 Chairman, Orange County United Way Board Member, and Vice President of Air Traffic Management at The Boeing Company, an OCUW corporate partner, presented awards to the companies and individuals that went the extra mile to support WALK UNITED.

Irvine-based technology company and Orange County United Way’s 2010 Dimensions in Giving Award winner, Western Digital, took home the honor for Top Fundraising Team and Rookie of the Year. Their 108-member team raised more than $20,000.00. On the individual front, Western Digital employee, Alfred Garcia received the Top Individual Fundraiser award for bringing in $2,785. Additionally, UPS retained the Corporate Challenge award from 2011 for recruiting the most walkers. The company delivered more than 500 walkers this year.

Before a quick warm-up by Zumba instructor, Stephanie Stidman, Ginny Harman served up the WALK UNITED 2012 run down and what to expect: good food from OC food trucks Crepes Bonaparte, The Flip Truck, Company 77 Firetruck, California Grill Truck, DesiAmigo, as well as the Team Kids LemonAID Truck; musical entertainment by five local bands, Alter Ego, The Blackhawks, Adam’s Attic, Fusion Beat, and The OC Band; a Kid-at-Heart Zone sponsored by Wells Fargo, including a coconut climbing tree, photo booth, and Orange County United Way Destination Graduation mobile unit; as well as a Community Village complete with booths from OCUW partner agencies and local businesses.

At 9:30 a.m., Max Gardner, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Mark Merhab, and Gregg Martin led the 3.1 mile walk around Angel Stadium.

Orange County United Way is a nonprofit organization that works to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of Orange County to strengthen our community. To do this, we focus on the Building Blocks for a self-sufficient life: Education, Income, and Health, by investing in Orange County children, families, and individuals, helping them meet their most basic human needs—food, shelter, and medical care—while creating pathways to self-sufficient futures through education and training. In short, we help people help themselves.

www.unitedwayoc.org