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PEPPERELL — Luth’s Family Karate will host their annual Kick-A-Thon and blood drive on Saturday, June 2.

For the past 18 years, the students and families of the karate school have gathered pledges, rolled up their sleeves and volunteered their time to raise money for charity and donate blood.

This year the karate school will be raising funds for the Loaves & Fishes food pantry and the Pan-Mass Challenge. Loaves & Fishes provides food and clothing to area families in need. The Pan-Mass Challenge is a fund-raising bike ride that benefits the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Luth’s Family Karate students gather pledges and then kick a bag as many times as they can in 10 minutes at the Kick-A-Thon. Through the years, the karate school has raised more than $150,000.

This year, school owner Mike Luth will be one of 4,800 cyclists participating in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a two-day bike ride that travels from Sturbridge to Provincetown. Luth and a small group of cyclists will unofficially make it a three-day event by riding from the Burbank Hospital Cancer Center in Fitchburg to the Pan-Mass start in Sturbridge. The group will cover some 250 miles in three days. The 2007 goal of the Pan-Mass Challenge is to raise $27 million for cancer research.

“This event is a great way to show our students that they can really make a difference in the communities in which they live,” said Jennifer Luth. “Every year I am moved by the support shown by our students and their families to help these excellent causes.”

On the same day as the Kick-A-Thon, Luth’s also holds their annual blood drive to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital. Over the years, the school has become MGH’s largest mobile donor. The summer is perennially a critical shortage time for blood banks and this is a great opportunity for local residents to offset the shortages.

The public is invited to donate. The karate school is accepting pledges for Loaves & Fishes and the Pan-Mass Challenge, and they are taking appointments for blood donations.

For more information call Luth’s Family Karate at (978) 433-8620.

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