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Franklin’s inaugural “Love is in the Air 5K Fun Run/Walk to raise monies for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research will take place at South Macon Elementary School on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 2 p.m. Registration for runners and walkers begins at 1 p.m. The race entry fee is $20 before the day of the event and $25 on race day.

The fund-raising event is sponsored by Dryman’s Chapel United Methodist Church, pastored by Rev. Janet J. Green. The congregation is raising funds to support research into the causes and treatment of MS. This event is being held in honor of church member, Kevin Bell, who has had MS for several years. All proceeds from the race will be donated to The National MS Society Greater Carolina Chapter, in honor of Bell, to fund further research.

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You wouldn't know it by looking at him, always smiling and full of life, but in reality, three-year-old Caleb Watson is fighting for his life and has been doing so since he was just 14 months old.

Just after his first birthday, Caleb was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, sending him and his family into a spiral of doctor visits and treatment facilities all over the state. Still undergoing constant treatment as his condition has worsened, members of the Macon County Community have banded together to rally around sweet little Caleb and do whatever they can to help "Cure Caleb."

Last Saturday, cars were lined down the side of Addington Bridge Road and South Macon Elementary School's parking lot was overflowing as hundreds of people came out to attend a benefit to raise money for the family. According to Lynn Fish, a friend and co-worker of Colleen, Caleb's grandmother, the fundraiser served more than 700 people with either a BBQ or hotdog dinner. With a raffle, face painting, a cake walk, and other fundraising activities, the event raised more than $33,000 for Caleb and his family.

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Each year teens in Macon County commit to raising awareness for hunger by going 30 hours without food. The youth of First United Methodist Church lead the annual 30-Hour Famine event to not only raise awareness of hunger in our local community, but to shed light on the issue of world hunger.

This year, the youth of First United Methodist Church are joining with the town of Franklin to proclaim February Hunger Awareness Month to further their goal of reaching members of the community.

According to the proclamation, 842 million people - about one in eight - are hungry; and malnutrition causes nearly half of all deaths in children under five years old. Locally, 3,614 people were served by CareNet in 2014, with an average of seven visits each. There are 5,350 estimated food insecure people in Macon County and one in three Macon County children are considered to be food insecure.

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In honor of this month being National Can Food Month, what better way to give back to our community than a can food drive? Eckerd Living Center at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital is sponsoring a food drive.

A recent study by MANNA found that more than 104,000 people in the Food Bank's 16 county service area, including 38,000 children do not always know where they will find their next meal.

In all, 14.9 percent of the population, more than one in four children-in Western North Carolina struggles with hunger, according to research released June 12, 2013, by Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization.

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