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Urbana church breaking ground for large food pantry

The Urbana United Methodist Church (pictured) will break ground today to construct a new building for The WhereHouse food pantry ministry, which the church began in 2004. You're invited to the 3 p.m. ceremony at the building lot, 110 West Church Street, Urbana.

At the end of 2011, The WhereHouse found itself without a home after the building it had been provided rent-free for six years at 1000 South Edgewood Avenue was sold to a new owner. Since then, The WhereHouse has been operating from temporary quarters across the street from the church in a garage (where the ministry got its start). In its first month of operation in 2004, The WhereHouse provided food to 33 persons. Today, The WhereHouse serves an average of more than 1,300 people a month.

"The new WhereHouse building will enable our church and others who support the ministry to continue sharing God’s love in a very tangible way for our neighbors who need help through difficult times," said Rev. Jim Lillibridge, lead pastor of the Urbana United Methodist Church. "The WhereHouse is one important way that we fulfill Jesus’ Great Compassion found in Matthew 25."

The groundbreaking ceremony will include representatives of seven churches that have joined the Urbana United Methodist Church in supporting The WhereHouse through volunteer time and monetary and in-kind contributions. They include Messiah Lutheran Church, the Urbana Church of the Nazarene, First Christian Church, Urbana Friends Church and the Kingscreek, Cable and Bowlusville United Methodist Churches.

The 2,700-square-foot building will be constructed by The Howell Buildings Company. It will house The WhereHouse’s freezer and cooler, space for food collection and distribution, a workstation for the director and restrooms.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of the month. The Urbana United Methodist Church has established a building fund for the $150,000 project and has begun accepting donations.

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