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Though Utahns are responding well to a challenge to match funds to feed sick and starving refugees in Somalia, still more generosity is needed - and fast.

Last week an anonymous donor pledged $100,000 to help feed people suffering from starvation and disease in the war-wracked Horn of Africa nation and asked Utahns to match the compassionate donation.As of Monday, a total of $11,760 had been contributed by private individuals and groups. That means $25,000 of the $100,000 pledge is being sent to the Red Cross, making the total contribution to date $36,760.

The money will go directly to the International Committee of the Red Cross and will be used to operate communal kitchens in the town of Afgoi, located just outside the Somalian capital of Mogadishu.

It takes about $3,500 a month to operate each of the communal kitchens. If Utahns can raise $200,000, this money will keep five of the kitchens operating for nearly a year.

The need is enormous and urgent. Throughout Somalia, 600 kitchens are trying to help more than 4.5 million people in dire need of emergency food, including 1.5 million facing imminent starvation.

Utahns wishing to help can send checks to either of two different locations.

Checks can be made payable to "Somali Relief Project" and mailed to the Salt Lake Chapter of the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 6279, Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-6279.

Or, especially for donors wishing to remain anonymous, checks can be made payable to "American Red Cross - Somali Relief Fund" and mailed to Key Bank of Utah, Crossroads Office, Suite 1012, P.O. Box 30815, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0815. These checks should contain the account number 580030179.

Meanwhile, a special vote of thanks to that anonymous donor who pledged the $100,000 - and to the many Utahns rising to the challenge. Won't you please join them?