Angel Food Ministries celebrates anniversary of program in Mexico
Published: November 21, 2006 | 5074th good news item since 2003
As expenses rise and the holiday spending season approaches, plenty of people are looking for smart ways to save money. Angel Food Ministries is giving people the opportunity to save on groceries and also contribute to a good cause.
One year ago this month, Angel Food Ministries began in Mexico. Centennial Baptist Church secretary, Kim Pursley first got the idea to start the program.
The idea started when Pursley was in the church office one day and a person asked if the church had a food program. The visitor and Pursley discussed the need for some sort of program in Mexico.
“We talked about how this would benefit so many people,” remembered Pursley. “People who are not on welfare or not on assistance, but could use a little help.” [The Working Poor: Invisible in America]
A couple of days later, Pursley remembered information she had received from Angel Food Ministries. The organization, which runs out of Georgia, buys food in bulk in order to get the best deals. They then distribute it to participating churches who distribute it to customers.
“By keeping their costs down, they can pass those savings on,” explained Pursley. “Everywhere they can cut costs they cut them so they can provide this awesome menu for people.”
All of the food is fresh or frozen and is top quality. In order to keep the quality standards consistent, there are sometimes substitutions on the menu.
Pursley’s thoughts stayed on the idea, and she couldn’t ignore the sense that it was meant to be.
“It was like it would not stop. I could not stop thinking about it. It was like God was coming at me from every angle,” said Pursley.
Within a few weeks Pursley and Doris Woodruff, a church member and fellow Angel Food organizer, went to Clarksburg to see how the program worked. She was amazed to see how easy and welcome the program was.
“We watched what they did at this little-bitty church, and we decided at that point that we had to do this,” said Pursley.
Once a month, a menu is distributed. This menu costs $25 and changes monthly. On the December menu, for example, the 16 items include four pounds of chicken drums and thighs, 16 ounces of ground turkey, 24 ounces of potato wedges, and one dozen eggs.
There are also specials that can be purchased along with the regular menu. These also change every month, but often include a deal on steak, chicken or beef.
In December, there are even holiday specials that include a fruit basket and meat and cheese set.
There is a deadline to turn in the menu and payment. On distribution day, volunteers help customers fill their box with the items they ordered.
The first month the menus were available in Mexico, there were 141 orders. By January, the number had risen to 500 to 600 orders.
As demand rose, the need for a facilities rose as well. This is where officials and employees at Spartan Light Metal Products stepped in and donated the use of their warehouse and forklift driver once a month for distribution day.
The Handi-Shop Inc. also donated services by volunteering to recycle the leftover boxes at the end of the day.
As the community gave to the program, the organizers tried to find ways to give back. They began the “Be An Angel” program. This program allows people who buy the menus to donate items back. The leftover food as well as the donated items go to the Women’s Shelter.
“We also help people who come into the church needing food,” explained Pursley. “Where before we would have to take the money out of our benevolent and go to the grocery store, now we can give them a whole lot more.”
Some organizations choose to buy menus for those in need and then distribute them. Both Eugene Field Elementary School and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the middle school buy menus for people who need help supplementing their food supply.
For each menu sold, the church receives $1. The money they earn goes towards a variety of programs including their youth football league and their hospitality program at Audrain Medical Center.
“We try to do anything that is outreach. We try to get it more in the community, to make it more community wide,” explained Pursley. “That way, we’re giving back in more ways than just our church.”
The program is for anyone who wants to participate. “It’s for anybody who wants to take advantage of getting a really good deal on groceries,” said Pursley. “With the price of everything else going up, it’s nice to save a little money and still get good quality.”
The deadline to sign up for a December menu is Dec. 4 and distribution day is Dec. 16. In order to sign up, stop by Centennial Baptist between 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“We try to make it as easy as possible for people to come in,” said Pursley, who said that they also take EBT and food stamps.
The organizers of Angel Food are happy to see the program flourish and are ready for another year of success.
“We’ve been doing it for one year and we’ve sold over 5,000 boxes of food,” said Pursley. “Just think about how many people are benefitting from that.”