contributed by Diane Wright
Listening to the radio ten years ago, Rev. Jim Cross heard a story about a man riding a horse across the country to raise money for a charity. “Maybe I can do something like that with my walk,” Rev. Cross thought.
For the past ten years, Rev. Cross, who pastors Ashdown, Richmond, and Wade’s Chapel United Methodist Churches in the Ashdown area leads the walk and also walks approximately thirty miles to raise money for local non-profits, foundations, scholarships, and community benevolence. “I walk every morning,” Rev. Cross said, “and what I have learned is God will provide way more than we thought or imagined.”
This year the 10th Annual IMPACT 2022: Walking for Christ event was held on April 9, and brought together people from the community to “glorify God, serve others and bring the community together.”
So far this year, $26,103 has been raised for the Ashdown community and surrounding areas with a 10-year total of $221,212 raised. “People are still giving. It has become year-round,” Cross added.
This year monies raised have been donated to Ashdown City Parks, Richmond Volunteer Fire Department, Two Rivers Museum, Ashdown Public Library, Harvest Regional Food Bank, Be Like CJ Foundation, Owl’s Wing, and Marlee’s Smile, in addition to medical expense support and scholarships for several local students to continue their education and attend summer camps.
Rev. Cross, being a self-proclaimed numbers guy (“I was a banker before I became a minister,” he said), says 57% of the money comes from outside of these churches, as well as 34% coming from outside of the Ashdown community.
Through the IMPACT event this year, Ashdown United Methodist Church, Richmond United Methodist Church, and Wade’s Chapel United Methodist also used donations from the 2021 event to provide shoes, socks, and free haircuts for local families in need. “We provided around 285 pairs of shoes, and we partner with Central Baptist Church to provide socks. The Ashdown Chamber of Commerce helps to provide free haircuts,” Rev. Cross shared.
“We will continue to pray, do new things, and be open to what needs are in the community,” Rev. Cross said. “We are humbled daily to see what God is doing. God always provides. We will just try not to get in God’s way.”