Angel Food Program Helps Virginia Families
Published: June 4, 2008 | 7099th good news item since 2003
Strapped families struggling to pay increasing food costs can order a $30 box of food that participants say doubles their money.
“Going in the store and seeing the prices of things and then comparing it with what you get, honey, it’s a big, big difference,” said Helen Taylor, 89.
“I think the value is about $70 or $75,” said the Sandston resident, who so far has purchased two boxes from Angel Food Ministries, a Georgia-based nonprofit, nondenominational organization.
The boxes include restaurant-grade meats, frozen vegetables, fruits and dairy products, said David Mills, program director for Virginia and Washington.
The items are purchased in large quantities from such major suppliers as Tyson, ConAgra, Pilgrim’s Pride and Sara Lee, Mills said.
Anyone can buy the food, and food stamps are accepted for the boxes, which include 12 pounds of meat and can feed a family of four for a week or a senior for a month, according to Angel Food Ministries’ Web site. There is no limit on the number of boxes.
Not many Virginians know about the program, which operates in 36 states, organizers said. For example, 37 churches from Abingdon to Woodbridge participate, compared with about 800 churches in Texas.
“I want more people to take advantage of the food,” said Terry Alligood, a member of New Bridge Baptist Church in Sandston.
Alligood, an area coordinator, was responsible for bringing the program to the Richmond area about eight months ago.
“It helps you live a lot higher on the hog,” said Eleanor Grubbs, 86, of Varina.
“You can eat much healthier and a bigger variety. There are some things you have to add to it. As a rule, there isn’t bread in it,” Grubbs said. “I haven’t found anything yet I had to throw away.”
Boxed specials are also available. The specials are mostly savings on meat boxes.
More host site churches are needed in the Tidewater and Northern Virginia areas, as well as throughout the Shenandoah Valley, Mills said.
Churches have to apply, and the ministry makes a determination about their capacity to participate based on the details of their application and whether the churches are on the route logistically.
For Taylor of Varina, the program warrants more exposure at a time when people are penny-pinching to buy the basics.
“I’m 89 years old, and I’m a widow. Social Security is not the highest-paying thing in the world, and this has really been a blessing to me.
“I just wish there were more programs such as this to help people in the same position I’m in and some who are in worse.”