The United Methodist Church of West Chester (UMCWC) raised over $10,300 in 2015 to support the Imagine No Malaria campaign’s effort to eradicate malaria in Africa. Our annual “Beat the Bug” 5K Run / 2K Walk is the focal point of UMCWC’s fundraising.
(The “Bug” refers to the female Anopheles mosquito that carries the infectious parasite which causes malaria. The most effective prevention against infection are mosquito-repellant bed nets that protect sleeping persons against mosquito bites. Funds raised through Imagine No Malaria pay for bed nets as well as other prevention and treatment measures.)
Over 160 people joined in the West Chester UMC’s 4th annual run and walk in April 2015, the largest total since the event began in 2011. As the participation has grown, so has the sense of connection between our church and brothers and sisters in Africa.
Through 2015, the UMCWC has generated over $30,000 to support malaria eradication since beginning its fundraising and outreach efforts in 2011.The church held its first run/walk in 2012, and it has consistently proven to be a fun family event drawing people from other area churches, as well as the local community. The run and walk has benefited from the generosity of numerous sponsors–including businesses, local service organizations, families and individuals–many of whom have sponsored the event for multiple years.
In addition to the run and walk, the UMCWC congregation conducts other fundraisers throughout the year and incorporates creative ideas to spread Imagine No Malaria’s message, such as showcasing artwork and posters from the 3rd, 4th and 5th-grade Sprouts group. In addition to fundraising the Imagine No Malaria team at UMCWC has given about a dozen presentations about malaria eradication efforts to local community organizations and discussed the United Methodist Church’s commitment to combating this deadly disease.
Our Imagine No Malaria ministry has been instrumental in increasing awareness and understanding of how we can contribute to a global effort to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Now we are gearing up for the 5th annual run, to be held in April 2016.
The UMC of West Chester has received many blessings by joining in the fight against malaria. Being part of a global effort to eliminate this deadly disease has brought us closer as a church family by having a shared commitment, and has allowed us to reach out within our community to let people know that the United Methodist Church is working for a healthier world.
By Craig Thomas, UMC of West Chester Imagine No Malaria Team
Photos: (courtesy of UMC of West Chester):