• January 19, 2020

Church group seeking sponsors for Christmas celebration, meal - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Church group seeking sponsors for Christmas celebration, meal

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Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:35 pm

SOMERS POINT — Loving Families in Need Matter, a social service group based at Lifegate Church, is seeking sponsors for food and gifts for 28 more needy families in Atlantic County.  

Lisa Sodano, missionary leader and organizer of the group, said they will be feeding 500 children and their families during a Christmas celebration Dec. 21. 

Sodano said the group works with the families throughout the year who may be homeless or near-homeless, living in motels, victims of house fires and other disadvantaged people from throughout Atlantic County. The group has an application process and then does home visits to try to connect the families with social services, and hold a back-to-school drive, Thanksgiving meal and Christmas celebration.

“There are a lot of children in homeless or borderline homeless and would receive nothing under the tree if it weren’t for our church, our community and our sponsors,” Sodano said.

She said community sponsors, including 50 to 60 restaurants, have provided a basket, gift certificate or food product for the event. The items will be distributed to the families based on need, according to Sodano.

“We do a full meal, arts and crafts, we have a food pantry table so people can collect items they need,” she said. “We’re looking for side dishes and desserts for families, as well as unwrapped toys to cover 28 families.”

The children are also provided a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus taken during the event.

She said the children range in age from preteens to 16 years old. Toys, food items and other donations can be dropped off at Lifegate Church, 296 Bethel Road in Somers Point, starting at 10 a.m. Dec. 21. Those wishing to donate may also call Sodano at (609) 432-0346 to arrange for pickup. 

This will be the fifth year for the event.

“We have grown since last year, when we had 390 families; this year we are doing 500,” Sodano said.

Sodano said Lifegate Church pastor Jaime Magbanua supports the group and sponsors it throughout the year.

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