Get out your walking shoes and call up your friends, because New Hope Pregnancy Care Center is preparing for its 22nd annual Walk for Life on Saturday, Oct. 6, and needs as many volunteers as it can …
Get out your walking shoes and call up your friends, because New Hope Pregnancy Care Center is preparing for its 22nd annual Walk for Life on Saturday, Oct. 6, and needs as many volunteers as it can get before the big day.
New Hope director of advancement Delaney Walker said she’s been working on the Walk for Life for months already.
“The walk demands a response from the community to be a success, because we are reaching out to those in our community to sponsor people to walk,” she said.
Impact is what New Hope CEO Tracie Shellhouse said participants in the walk have on others.
“The people who walk in the Walk for Life not only are making a statement by walking during the event, but also by impacting others who see their good works,” Shellhouse said. “One of my favorite things I get to do is tell them, especially repeat walkers, how they’ve impacted their community this year, and also how their previous contribution helped us last year. People now see the value of the nuclear family, and New Hope wants to strengthen that institution.”
Proceeds from the walk go to New Hope, which focuses on preserving human life and sexual purity by promoting abstinence until marriage.
The program Walk for Life involves volunteers signing up as a sponsored walker, who then go out into their community to raise funds for New Hope from family, friends and church members. Shellhouse said this not only raises money for their cause, but also raises awareness for their company.
“These people may ask ‘Why is this something you’re committed to?’ And then our walkers get to explain why,” Shellhouse said. “I think the Walk for Life has the largest marketing impact of any event we do. We’ll have between 150-200 walkers out in our community asking people to sponsor them. People can also donate through the website fundeasy.com.”
Walker explained the Walk for Life isn’t like the Relay for Life, in that it’s not physically demanding, is only around 1.5 miles and is a very easy walk for all ages, as many walkers bring their young children and family members as well. Beginning at North Cleveland Church of God, the walk winds in a large circle ultimately leading back to the church.
Various prizes are awarded for certain milestones reached in fundraising as well. Those who raise $100 will receive a $5 gift card to LifeWay Christian bookstore. If you raise $225, you’ll win a Walk for Life T-shirt and those who raise $1,000 or more will be treated to a dinner party with Shellhouse at “Tracie’s Kitchen.”
“I love to cook. It’s something Shellhouses do. That’s one of the many ways we grow as a family,” Shellhouse said. “Regardless of what the occasion is, I’ll cater the meal to it. I do everything from American, Asian, French, Creole – and my husband is the 'king of the grill,' so we do a lot of BBQ and grilled food.”
Shellhouse cited the numerous references in the New Testament about breaking bread together as a means of breaking down barriers. She said cooking for these walkers is her way of giving back to them and giving everyone equal attention to speak with about their personal stories and experiences. Last year, Shellhouse hosted 15-18 people at “Tracie’s Kitchen.”
While this may be the first year walking for some, other walkers have participated for all 22 years.
“This becomes a tradition for them,” Walker added. “It’s a great opportunity for fellowship in the body of Christ, because a lot of people know one another, and this may be the only time during the year they see each other.”
A kickoff event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 18, to introduce potential and current walkers to the program from 9-10 a.m. at New Hope. The staff will answer questions and explain the program to attendants.
New Hope currently has various underwriters for the event, including Award Realty, Dr. David and Becky Chapman, Surf’s Up carwash, Jim Rush funeral homes and Southern Heritage Bank.
Walk for Life begins on Oct. 6 with registration starting at 8 a.m. and the walk starting at 9 a.m. The event will take place rain or shine, as there is also an indoor walking track in case of inclement weather. Those who can’t attend the event can also walk on their own after turning in pledges. Walker encourages everyone who is interested in aiding New Hope who may not have time to volunteer at the pregnancy care center to volunteer for Walk for Life, as the work can be done on their own time.
There’s still time to volunteer. If interested, call New Hope Pregnancy Care Center at 423-479-5825 ext. 7 or visit www.newhopepcc.org.
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