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The Matthew Project

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Matthew 25:35 says, for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. (Matthew 25:36) I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:40) The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

More than 649 students attending Hernando County schools are known to be homeless and/or impoverished, as identified by Hernando County Schools. The Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce is teaming with other local organizations and churches to ensure that these children are not deprived of the magic of Christmas. In its partnership with The Matthew Project, a Brooksville organization that has provided gifts for homeless children since 2010, the chamber has agreed to help supply gifts to these disadvantaged children, ages 6 months to 18 years. “This is all about helping these kids and serving the community,” said Morris Porton, president of The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce.

In its inaugural Matthew Project effort last year, Porton said that many chamber members dug into their own pockets to purchase gifts for these kids. This year, the chamber is enlisting members and the general public to help brighten the holidays of those who otherwise may not know a Christmas.

Here is how those interested can help:
Members need to pick up a child/children’s info card and put the member’s name and phone number on the signup sheet. If you would like to sponsor multiple children, it is recommended to look for children in the same family so gifts are similar. If you are unable to stop by the The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce office and want to participate please contact the office today 352-796-0697.

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The chamber of commerce is asking for appropriate gifts from what is on the list (if reasonable) or a substitute, which God leads the sponsor to provide. It is recommended that a Bible, New Testament, or Christmas story that is age appropriate be included in each gift box. Please contact the Chamber of Commerce for additional instructions. The deadline to deliver the gift to the chamber office is noon on December 10.

Porton says that, while toys and games do appear on Matthew Project wishlists, many of these kids are asking Santa to bring them the basics this holiday season.

“They’re asking for bookbags, shoes, clothing. All known homeless/impoverished children in Hernando County Schools will have a Merry Christmas, know they are loved by the community, and most importantly begin/continue a personal relationship with God/Jesus Christ,” said Porton.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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