By Quinton Bagley
Little River News
After numerous weeks of training, Bro. Jim Cross, pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Ashdown, Richmond and Wade’s Chapel, is ready for his annual 30-mile Walk for Christ.
Cross’ walk will take place on Saturday, April 13, to raise money for many charities – most of them local – as part of IMPACT 2019: Walking for Christ. This is the seventh year of the event and more than $113,000 has been raised in the past six years.
“I thought in the beginning that this would be a one-year deal,” Cross said. “It was such a success and had so much community support that I decided to continue doing it.”
Some things have changed for this year’s walk.
“This year we are having bingo at the Ashdown High School cafeteria beginning at 3 p.m. and ending around 6 p.m. with many great prizes,” Cross said. “Also, we will be serving chicken dinners for only $10. You can order dinners for your business that can be delivered, but those need to be pre-ordered through the church office by calling 898-5738.”
Walking 30 miles in one day is no small feat. Cross puts in a lot of time preparing for the event.
“I spend about four months getting ready,” Cross said. “I walk every day. If the weather is bad, I get on the treadmill and walk. It takes a lot of preparation to get ready but when you see the money raised and the people that it benefits, it makes it all worth while.”
Cross said there were three reasons why he held this event every year.
“The first reason is to glorify God. The second is to raise money for good charities and the third is to bring the community together,” Cross said. “That is what we want to accomplish. The rest will take care of itself.”
This year’s charities include:
– Scholarships for Ashdown High School Students in Memory of Jalen Lewis
– Meredith Ball: A young girl dealing with health issues
– Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Ark., Cancer Ward in memory of Marlee Pack
– Marlee’s Smile – whose mission will be to continue to bring a smile to the faces of other children battling cancer
– Harvest Regional Food Bank: Back Pack program that helps students in Ashdown.
– Community: Two Rivers Museum, Ashdown City Park, Ashdown Public Library, 4th of July Spectacular and Richmond Volunteer Fire Department
– Arkansas State Trooper Clayton McWilliams
“The faith and attitude of Clayton and Lila McWilliams has been an inspiration to me during training,” Cross said.
– Scholarship for AHS basketball player in memory of Richard “Buck” Dancer
– Free Camps for Kids this summer: football led by Dondre Harris and college players, basketball led by coach Eric Cross and WNBA Star Marie Harris, baseball led by Henderson State players Austin Cross and Bryson Haskins along with LSU All-American Cedrick Harris.
“These charities are ones where you can see the impact for yourself,” Cross said. “Every penny raised goes to the charities.
“The sports camps that will be held this summer will be free,” Cross continued. “Those attending the camps will get a free lunch as well and the camp instructors will be college athletes. It will be a great opportunity to learn new skills, get a free lunch and have a lot of fun.”