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Pedal Poker Run on Sunday to benefit Northampton-based Valley CDC

— Valley Community Development Corp. will host its second annual Pedal Poker Run on Sunday to raise funds for the Northampton-based nonprofit’s programs, which provide affordable housing for low- and middle-income families.

The run starts at noon in the Maplewood Shops parking lot in downtown Northampton, with registration starting at 11 a.m.

Joanne Campbell, Valley CDC’s executive director and one of the event’s organizers, said the Pedal Poker Run was conceived as a new way to raise money for the agency “to make sure that it meets the mission and to have fun at the same time.”

People can register online at www.bikereg.com/Net/17261 until Saturday at 5 p.m. for $25 per person or, on the day of the event, for $35. Participants are encouraged to seek sponsorships from friends and families, with the aim of each person raising at least $100. People can register and fundraise as a team or individually.

Pedal Poker riders, runners and walkers will receive cards at each of five checkpoints along a 10-mile route, which has an additional optional 15-mile bike route for more enthusiastic participants. At the end of the run participants will return to Maplewood Shops and their cards will be scored by the organizers. Prizes, including a new iPad, will be awarded for the best poker hand and the second-best poker hand, as well as for the most money raised, both individually and by a team. The awards ceremony takes place at 3 p.m.

Campbell said that because funding for nonprofits has been shrinking in recent years, the agency is exploring new ways to raise funds. She said she hopes the run, which has been modeled after the increasingly popular annual Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton, will attract at least 100 participants this year.

“We’re focused on (bike) ridership this year and are encouraging people to put teams together,” Campbell said.

The Valley CDC has provided housing, financial counseling services and other assistance to low- and middle-income residents of Amherst, Easthampton, Hadley and Northampton for more than 25 years.

— MISHAL HALIM

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