For 10 years, community leaders have been putting on high heels and joining Walk-a-Mile in Their Shoes, to support victims of domestic violence.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, Branch County Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence staff members were planning a big party.

With the COVID-19 shut down and the need for social distancing, they came up with new plans but the goal remains the same —to raise awareness of domestic and sexual violence and raise money for survivor services.

Ten years ago when Kim Hemker became the director of the BCCADSV, she started building the Walk-A-Mile event along with her team.

The 10-year celebration is still on, just different, Hemker said.

On June 27, it will include a treasure hunt, mostly along US-12 from Bronson to Quincy.

Families can travel to specific locations, stopping at each to have their participation card punched. When completed, the cards are entered into a grand prize drawing of $250 cash.

Maps and punch cards will be available at all locations and on the front cover the Shoppers Guide that week.

At each stop, participants will can join an activity, the “balloon pop” raffle prize game and enjoy the featured attraction such as Jackie Harris and her K-9, Xeina in Bronson, the music of Delbert Walling and Cate-Harberl at Longstreet Living and the opportunity to purchase food at Coach Eby Center — barbecue pork sandwiches cooked up by the Masons.

Destinations include:

Bronson — Sew What and Bill’s Steak House.

Coldwater — Century Bank, Coach Eby Center, CVS parking lot, McDonald’s, the Shelter House and Wings Etc./The Patio.

Quincy — Longstreet Living, Rainbow Motors, Cliff and Sons and BCCADSV downtown Quincy office.

The Coldwater CVS parking lot will look more like the typical Walk-A-Mile with community leaders trying to navigate the track in high heels. But they will be socially distanced rather than shoulder to shoulder.

Hemker will also be walking.

Being a leader who asks nothing of the community she isn’t willing to do herself, Hemker too will be walking in heels alongside her husband, Tom, who joins every year.

Hemker’s goal is to single handedly raise $10,000 to add to the grand total.

She will start walking in “Kitten Heels” and work her way up to designer shoes with 7-inch spike heels. As donations reach a specific dollar amount, Hemker will put on the next style of shoes — a pair of pumps, followed by stilettos, then sling-backs, peep-toes, wedge heels, platforms and then designer shoes.

Another change is the 5K run.

Rather than being the opening event of Walk-A-Mile, this year it will be a virtual 5K run that participants can do anytime between June 17-27.

Participants can register anytime at www.278safe.com/5k-run and pick up pre-run bags between 10 a.m. -1 p.m. or 5 p.m.- 7 p.m., June 17-26, at the shelter house at 220 N. Michigan Ave., Coldwater. The bag includes a T-shirt, bib, participation medal and goodies.

“You can just pull up in the designated space and someone will come out to ask your name and get your bag for you,” Hemker said.

Then it’s off to the individual race.

“Take a great photo of yourself with your participation medal and send it, along with your name and time, to info@278safe.com or text it to (517) 462-8023. 

 “While we would love to see everyone in person, we also want to keep everyone safe,” Hemker said. “Hopefully we can go back to our previous way of doing our race next year.”

Although the state has been shut down since March 16, violence at home is not shut down.

“This is a very difficult time for survivors,” Hemker said. “Domestic violence is up in our community and we at the BCCADSV are here and ready to assist however we can. Please use this opportunity to give to survivors but also look in the mirror and say ‘I am starting with me!’”

For specific information of the event visit www.278safe.com, Facebook.com/278safe or call (517) 278-7233.