Catholics plan walk for poor next Saturday

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, September 17, 2009

A walk is always a good form of exercise, but next weekend it will also be a great way to raise money for Covington County’s impoverished families.

On Sat., Sept. 26, Christ the King Catholic Church in Andalusia will host its first “Friends of the Poor Walk” at the church’s campus on Sanford Road. The event is designed to foster fellowship, as well as bring about awareness of the suffering of those who are less fortunate.

Those who participate in the Sept. 26 walk are asked to collect pledges from friends and family, and they will then turn in those donations on the morning of the walk. All proceeds from those pledges will go to Christ the King’s St. Vincent de Paul Society, a charitable organization.

“In the past year, we’ve had a 68 percent increase in the number of clients,” said Susan Gantt, director of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society. “This event is a fund-raiser for us, but more than that, it’s an opportunity for people to be aware of the plight of our local poor even here in Covington County.

“The great thing about this Society is that not a single cent goes toward administrative costs or paying national dues. Everything stays here in Covington County and goes to help those in need.”

Gantt said the Society meets several needs locally, including helping clients pay utility bills, helping with rent or food, or helping clients pay for prescriptions.

Registration for the walk will begin at 7 a.m., and the walk will begin at 8 a.m. Breakfast will be served following the walk, at approximately 8:30 a.m. The breakfast is free, but those who attend are asked to first call the church at 222-4858 so they will know how much food to cook.

Gantt said there will be two “paths” for walkers to choose from — an easier track that will circle the church grounds only once, and a longer 2-mile track that will circle the campus several times. There is no age limit to walkers, but those who are younger than 18 must have a parent sign a waiver.

“It’s not about who walks the fastest,” she said. “We’re going to have a 96-year-old lady who will be with us, and I’m sure there will be babies in strollers. We’re allowing people to bring their dogs, as long as they can keep the animals under control.

“This is about walking together in solidarity for the cause of helping the poor.”

Those who wish to participate in the walk are asked to start taking and recording pledges now. Forms are available at the church office or by calling 222-4858. All checks should be made to “Christ the King Charity.”

Gantt said Andalusia Regional Hospital will sponsor a “health fair” the day of the event, and employees of ARH will be there to check blood pressures, pulses and body mass indices.