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Lunch Box Ministry to benefit the hungry in Somalia and Sebring

Dec 30, 2023

Press Release

Emmanuel UCC is starting a new ministry to support the hungry in Somalia and the clients of the church’s local Shepherd’s Pantry, which feeds over 140 families a month.

Members of Emmanuel saw the crisis in Somalia, with nearly half a million people without homes and their children facing drought-related starvation. According to the World Food Program, 4.3 million people are facing crisis or worse levels with a $387 million gap in funding between now and April 2024.

After learning of the desperate situation in Somalia, the members of Emmanuel UCC felt they must act. Locally, The Shepherd’s Pantry has had to cut back on groceries given out due to the sharp increases in food costs. Getting help from the community will empower Emmanuel to help people locally who are dealing with inflation, loss of jobs, and ill health.

To help fund the missions in Somalia and The Shepherd’s Pantry, Emmanuel UCC wants to involve the community. A lunch box and tin container method of collecting money was selected to get community members to support these two worthy causes.

Church members and others will place lunch boxes and tin containers next to cash registers in many local businesses. Slots have been cut in the tins so customers can donate change and dollar bills.

Half of what’s collected will go to The Shepherd’s Pantry and half will go to the hungry in Somalia. Lunch boxes will be handed out to church members in January so that they can be placed in local business establishments. Emmanuel plans to collect the containers once a month.

Emmanuel UCC is at 3115 Hope St., Sebring. For more information, contact Clay Benedict at 607-591-3385 or email clay

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