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Organizations team to raise money toward Somalia famine relief

Two organizations have teamed up to raise money for those suffering from the severe famine affecting millions in Somalia. New American Services, a division of Lutheran Social Services and the United African Community, both of Grand Forks, organiz...

Two organizations have teamed up to raise money for those suffering from the severe famine affecting millions in Somalia.

New American Services, a division of Lutheran Social Services and the United African Community, both of Grand Forks, organized and held a potluck dinner Saturday night at the UND International Center. The event raised thousands of dollars for the cause.

"We wanted to be as much help as we could," said Tara Dupper, director of Grand Forks refugee resettlement.

Alexander Azenkeng, president of the UAC, said that, as of today, the effort has raised about $3,400. More donations are coming in by mail from those who still want to help he said.

Letters also have been sent to local churches asking them to take a special collection for the fundraiser. Money raised by some churches still is expected to come in later this week.

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Azenkeng considers the event a success. The UAC and NAS will work with an international nonprofit organization called the American Refugee Committee, he said. The ARC will ensure the funds are used to provide food and water for the 12 million people starving in Somalia and in refugee camps located in surrounding countries.

The ARC is based in Minneapolis and has offices in seven countries, including Somalia.

A majority of those attending the potluck were originally from other countries. Some were from Somalia or have friends and family still in the area. This makes the fundraiser very critical said Dupper.

"We can imagine what it would be like to see our families in such a crisis," she said. "But for these people, it's real."

To donate, call Tara Dupper at (701) 787-7743 or Alexander Azenkeng (701) 330-5866.

Reach Jewett at (701) 787-6736; (800) 477-6572, ext. 2736; or send email to bjewett@gfherald.com .

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