For the third year now, Newton Grove United Methodist Church is sponsoring the Walk in the Park fundraiser to benefit U Care, the local, private nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
From its start, the walk was “a way for us, as a church, to reach out into our community and do a community focused mission project,” shared church member Brenda Warren who has served on U Care’s board of directors for six years. “Our pastor was very instrumental in getting it started.”
“We wanted to start something in our own community, something that benefits someone other than ourselves,” pastor Scott Foster explained.
According to Foster, the church chose to support U Care because of the Christian values the church members hold dear, ones they see being lived out in U Care’s work.
“We feel that U Care’s public stand against domestic violence supports Christ’s mission of peace in the home and in the community. There should be mutual respect in all relationships,” shared Foster. “We feel what they are doing is something that Christ would do for the community as well.”
Over the past couple of years, the Walk in the Park fundraiser has proven successful and has greatly helped meet U Care’s needs.
“We raised $800 for U Care last year,” noted Warren. “They really depend on contributions like that from the community because their grants are often binding, only being able to be used for certain things. This money makes it so that they can choose how they use it.”
Director of U Care Pam Gonzalez is grateful to Newton Grove United Methodist Church for organizing the event and to the community for their support, especially during this critical time of the year.
“People don’t realize that our year ends in June so starting in May everything is winding down and zeroing out, including our grants, so we really depend on donations to keep going,” explained Gonzalez. “That $800 from last year helped pay the light bill and helped keep our crisis line open.”
Gonzalez and others from U Care will join the Newton Grove community for the walk which is being held this coming Sunday, May 19 at Weeks Park.
Registration, which is $5 per person, will begin at 3:30 p.m. and the walk will be held from 4 to 6 p.m.
According to Warren, the walk is acutally a relay where teams of six particiapte, one team member walking then passing a baton off to the next team member.
If people would like to participate in the walk but are not yet a part of a team, Warren encourages them to attend. “Individuals can most certainly take part. We can put them on a team that is incomplete.”
“If you’re not up for walking, you can come out and be a cheerleader as we say,” Warren continued, mentioning that there is always food, music, and plenty of fun available for everyone.
Foster added that is a great event for families. “Kids love it. They enjoy the walking and running, and if they get bored, they can always play on the playground.”
This year, the church is excited to have team sponsors involved in the fundraiser. “They are individuals or businesses that have said they would sponsor a team for $25 or $50. This will help the event raise even more money for the shelter,” said Foster.
This kind of growing community support for the event is just what the church wants to see. “We hope everyone will come out and support the event,” said Warren. “It’s open to the whole community.”
“We really want this to be a community thing. Our church sponsors it but we want others to come out and take part,” stressed Foster. “Tehe vent helps fill a need for U Care of course, but it is also a chance for community members to fellowship, to be a part of the public witness of the church, and get some exercise.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.