Church Group Aims to End Poverty

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MIFFLINBURG -- Members of a church group in Union County are raising money to try to end poverty, but they are doing it in a unique way. The group will soon send a cow overseas.

The folks at St. John's United Church of Christ in Mifflinburg raised $500 to buy a cow. They will soon send that cow to a family in need through Heifer International. The cow will provide that family with milk and money. The church group plans to buy a lot more animals.

One dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day. For a family in poverty, that cow can be a miracle. Rev. Susan Gabbard of St. John's in Mifflinburg knows the benefits farm animals can provide to a low-income family. She said her church is raising money to send animals all over the world to people in need.

"This isn't just handing them something, it's giving them something they can take, use and empower themselves to build their family up economically," Rev. Gabbard said.

St. John's United Church of Christ is participating in a program called Heifer International. The program provides animals to people in the United States and all over the world. The animals are a way to feed people and provide them with a way to make money.

Heifer International's website lists dozens of different kinds of animals you can donate. There are camels, llamas--even honeybees. The people at St. John's UCC are trying to raise $5,000 to donate an ark full of animals to people all over the world.

"And so it provides water buffalo, calves, rabbits, a hive of bees, chicks, goats, all kinds of different animals are provided,"  Rev. Gabbard said.

The minister says church members collected enough money to send one cow so far.

Back in the 1950's Glen and Ruth Zimmerman donated one of their dairy cows through Heifer International.

"We had to get all the health reports and we took the animal to Baltimore and put it on a boat to go over," Zimmerman said.

"When their animals have offspring they pass that gift on to friends and neighbors who are also in need. It lifts people out of poverty all over the world," Rev. Gabbard said.

Rev. Gabbard says 10% of the money her church in Mifflinburg collects will go to help farmers in need in Central Pennsylvania.

If you would like more information on Heifer International visit our websites mentioned page.