Good News Blog

Angel Food Ministries

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008

Angel Food Ministry provides affordable food in Lehigh Valley

With the cost of groceries continuing to rise Angel Food Ministry is an organization which tries to help families to get solid, nutritious food for roughly half of the cost of buying it in the supermarket.

Operating through local churches across the USA Angel Food Ministry has also grown in Lehigh Valley over the last years.

Unlike many other charitable programs that Angel Food Ministry program is open to anyone. There is no minimum or maximum income requirement: there’s no need to prove anything. This is done so that people don’t feel you really hate it. Other programs at times require people to show their bills, their income, proof their budget.

Mostly “menus” are circulated by form pairs. They also take orders and unload the trailers of food. A typical menu includes meat and dairy products as well as frozen vegetables. $25-$30 will buy you a box of food worth around 60-65 dollar. There is no limit on the number of boxes that a family or a person can order.

Apart from the wreck alert mostly menu boxes there are also special books as was meat and chicken, fruit and vegetables. Special care is available for seniors which receive “senior” boxes. The senior books typically contains 10 heat and serve meals for the same price as a regular books.

To find an Angel Food Ministry outlet near you contact your local church.

Monday, Jul. 14, 2008

Church helps to feed families on $30 a week

The dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. Gas prices are high, food prices are rising, and families say they are feeling the effects.

So, what can one Charlotte church do to make a difference? Community of Christ congregation members will do their part by bringing Angel Food Ministries to Charlotte this month.

The nonprofit program got its start in the early 1990s when a group of families in Georgia decided to team up in an effort to purchase quality food at wholesale prices. Today, the program is run out of various churches in 35 states, with local sites including Potterville and Mason.
Offered to anyone

The monthly food menus can feed a family of four for one week and cost $30. Unlike other outreach programs, Angel Food is offered to anyone, regardless of income.

“We felt this was a community outreach, and that’s what churches are about,” said Donnie Gallimore. “The ability to stretch the food dollar is a hard thing to come by in this economy.”

Vera McDonald and her husband, Harold, congregation members for the past 50 years, are helping to organize the program at their church.

She said she was “shocked” when she learned how much food people can buy for $30. “To get that much for such a little amount is a surprise,” she said.

The Rev. Debora Crowley said Angel Food secures “restaurant quality” items, including meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables. She said the congregation’s new location on Lovett Street is perfect for the distribution of food.

“Since we’ve moved in here, we’ve anticipated that God will open doors for community outreach, and He has,” Crowley said. “This is the perfect location for this.”

Community of Christ had its first order placement Saturday. Those items will be distributed at the church July 26. Every month, orders will be taken from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month, with pick-up on the last Saturday of the month.

An estimated 15 volunteers already have been enlisted by the congregation to distribute food this month. Organizers hope the church will become a resource for local families.

Monday, Jul. 7, 2008

Angel Food Ministries Program Helps People Save on Food

In these times, people don’t have to be out of work or in debt to feel the economic pinch of sky-high gas and food prices. One church ministry group is offering a way to get a lot more money out of those grocery dollars.

Everyone is trying to save money at the grocery store these days, by buying store brands and inexpensive cuts of meat, but in the end, it all still adds up.

“I went to the grocery store recently and the amount I spent in food, for just me, I’m a single woman, versus what I was spending a year ago was just ridiculous,” said Areia Theus.

Many, like Theus, are looking for a way to save big and that may be through Angel Food Ministries.

“A friend of mine told me about it in Dallas, Texas and she spoke so highly of it I figured it was a great opportunity,” said Theus.

On a recent Saturday, Theus joined 20 people and picked up food at the Total Grace Christian Center in Decatur.

“What’s in the package would be a variety of meats such as pork ribs, pork riblets, steaks, and chicken,” said Theus.

The food was supplied by Angel Food Ministries which offers a monthly menu that includes meats, frozen foods and dry goods like pancake mix.

“I get a variety of foods that I can live off for at least three weeks to a month and the food is good,” said Tracey Gordon.

The food isn’t given away, but it’s greatly reduced. Clients said they were saving up to $40 a month.

“I’m on a fixed income and this is one way I can make sure my ends meet a little bit closer,” said Riva Annette Zwarick.

People can place orders through local churches and non-profit groups. The orders are filled by Angel Food Ministries, which purchases the items in bulk from major suppliers like Bird’s Eye and General Mills. Angel Food Ministries then ships the orders out all across the country.

“It’s not donated, it’s not seconds. It’s purchased straight from the manufacturer. It’s all USDA approved and inspected and it’s name brand top quality food,” Director Angel Food Ministries Mike Wood.

The program was started 14 years ago in Monroe, Georgia and now reaches 35 states. Wood said there are no restrictions on who can participate.

There are many churches and non-profits throughout Georgia that participate in the program.

Friday, Jun. 13, 2008

Angel Food Helps With Rising Food Costs

Churches across the state will be delivering 37 tons of food tomorrow to help Virginians with rising grocery costs.

One local church is participating in the angel food ministries program. The Orange Baptist church will provide forty five families with a box a meat, vegetables and other essentials

“It is approximately 20 pounds of food that will last a family of four about a week and a senior citizen up to a month,” said Melinda Clark of the Orange Baptist Church

The box costs thirty dollars but is valued at more than twice that. Angle food is hoping more Central Virginia churches will take part in the program.

Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008

Angel Food Program Helps Virginia Families

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.”

Saturday, May. 31, 2008

Church offering low-cost groceries

First Baptist Church of Morris has partnered with Angel Food Ministries to provide the community with low-cost groceries.

For $30, you receive a box of food which is enough to feed a family of four for approximately a week or a single adult for approximately a month.

There is no application process nor is there an income requirement. If you eat, you qualify.

The food items are top-quality and purchased from major food producers throughout the country to ensure the best food comes to your table. Orders are placed ahead of time and the food is picked up the third Saturday of each month.

Payment must be made at the time of ordering. Cash, checks, or LINK cards are acceptable payment. The menu changes each month and there are additional specials you may purchase, along with the regular box

Friday, May. 30, 2008

Angel Food Ministries Offering Summer Food Relief for Citizens

Soaring food prices don’t have to blow your budget this summer, a national nonprofit operating with 10 host sites locally can help. They’re offering boxes of food for just $30 dollars.

“All of our budgets are getting tighter,” Janet Taylor, a volunteer for Angel Food Ministries for the Christian Church of Midland, said. Taylor helped bring the program to the Basin last year and says she expects more growth this summer.

“I already think we’re seeing more interest in Angel Foods after seeing gas prices rise, and food prices rise,” she said.

“You’re getting so many things in that basic unit, that it really pays for itself,” Kathleen Wilkins, who says she ordered for her family, said.

Despite rising diesel costs, the organization is doing everything they can not to raise rates.

“They are planning to make good use of their trucks, and wise use of their money, and plan their routes to make the best use of their fuel,” Taylor said.

According to Taylor, you do not have to qualify, and you can place as many orders as you like. The organizaiton takes cash, check, lone star cards, and food stamps.

Monday, Mar. 31, 2008

Ministry helps families stretch food dollar

Angel Food Ministries has made a difference for Deanna Woodworth and her disabled husband.

Woodworth, 59, said she pays Timothy Baptist Church $30 for a big box of food worth much more. She was one of 87 people who recently purchased food boxes. The food is available once monthly.

“This gives us more variety of food,” she said. “We have kids and grandkids and we cook for them. I can go and buy what we need to go with what comes in the box.”

Licensed by the Department of Human Services to run a small home daycare, Woodworth said she doesn’t earn a large amount of money.

“My husband is on disability and has to use oxygen,” she said. “One of our babies, her mother goes to Timothy Baptist and told us about the Angel Food Ministry.”

Woodworth appreciates that the ministry saves her some trips to the store. After she pays the church, they give her a ticket to pick up her box of food.

“The folks at the church make it real easy,” she said. “You just drive around there (with your ticket) and they come out and put the box in your vehicle.”

Patsy Matson, who runs the program at Timothy Baptist, said Angel Food Ministries started in 1994 in Georgia.

“It’s now in more than 3,200 communities in 35 states, helping 500,000 families a month,” she said. “It’s not free, it costs $30 to buy that box of food, lot of brand name products some not, more money for other things can buy canned goods.”

Matson said Timothy Baptist Church has participated in the program since July 2007, as have two other churches; New Hope Assembly of God and Macedonia Baptist Church. The program fits in with the philosophy at Timothy Baptist.

“For one thing, we have a large benevolence,” she said. “People were often asking us for help with their groceries. Now when people come in, we don’t have to find time to arrange for someone to help them. We utilize the Angel Food Ministries to help with benevolence.”

Matson said the food is shipped in bulk. She and her husband Billy get up at 5 a.m. on the 29th of each month and drive to Tahlequah to pick up the church’s portion.

At the church, members set up a homemade assembly line to pack each food box.

“Our church is real mission minded,” Matson said. “Everyone thinks you have to go off thousands of miles for a mission. But, Kelly (Payne, minister) tell us about the missions in our own back yard.”

Churches help save money on grocery bills

With rising prices of just about everything these days getting any kind of break is a blessing. Now some in Connecticut can get a huge savings on their groceries with the help of the Angel Food Ministries.

Well before the sun came up ministry members were busy unloading food at the Good News Christian Church in Wallingford. The boxes of food being are being sold at bargain prices.

“With food prices climbing families aren’t able to meet that end of things so we pitch in and help,” Minister Laurence Woods of Hamden said.

Thanks to the national program, Angel Food Ministries, churches in Connecticut are helping people who want to save a few bucks on their weekly groceries.

“I have three grand children living with us and it’s expensive,” Mary Tart of Wallingford said.

Tart says the savings she gets from this program is a huge help.

“I can do things with them, more than I could before,” Tart said.
“Your dollar goes further?”
“Yeah, a lot further,” she said.

Customers aren’t getting dented cans and expired items. The boxes are full of things you might pull off your store shelves yourself. Everything from meat, beef patties, waffles, even desert.

“Once people find out it’s real same food you can get in the store, they get excited,” said Mike Calo of Old Saybrook.

Calo who works with the Shoreline Church in Old Saybrook says even people in their upper scale community are cashing in. So this program isn’t just for the poor or needy.

“A lot of just middle class and of course we live in a more wealthy area people say ‘Hey, why not? It’s a wonderful idea,'” he said.

“There is no application or qualification process, anyone just wants to supplement their food budget can come get a great deal,” Pastor Joe DeAngelo of the Good News Christian Church said.

At $75.00 worth of food for just $30.00 and with rising gas and grocery prices, it’s a savings some can’t pass up.

Monday, Feb. 25, 2008

Program offers food at a discount to anyone

Nothing stops the volunteers at Fabion United Methodist Church.

Not even rain, snow or sleet.

Once a month, they distribute food to families at the church, despite any weather condition.

“One month it was pouring down rain the whole time,” said Sid Robbins, the church minister. “We had people lined up outside with umbrellas.”

The church is one of several in the Northland that participate in Angel Food Ministries, a nonprofit program that offers quality food at a reduced price.

Anyone can purchase a box of food worth $60 to $75, for just $30 through the program.

“It gives us a chance to reach out and help people with groceries,” said Judy Fenster, director of Fabion United’s program. “They get a lot of food.”

The program’s a tremendous help for Janet Hasenohr, a retired Gladstone resident who’s on a fixed income.

“It helps me a lot,” she said. “It gets my meat for the whole month.”

Hasenohr is one of the program’s regulars and said she participates each month.

“I don’t know what I’d do without this place,” she said. “It helps people more than you think.”

The program has also been a blessing for Gladstone resident Loretta Lindsay.

She said the program isn’t just about receiving food at a discounted price, it’s also helped her on a spiritual level. She remembered one month when she came in to order her food and she explained why she needed the extra help and the church volunteer took the time to pray with her as well.

“It’s good knowing there are people out there that care,” she said.

Fenster said the church doesn’t use any guidelines to determine who is eligible for the program and simply helps anyone who feels they could use the service.

Those interested in the service sign up for the food items they’d like to have about two weeks before the food distribution date. They can choose from a variety of items such as breaded chicken breasts, salisbury steaks, potatoes, onions, corn, chicken noodle soup and dessert items.

Then, the morning of the distribution, church volunteers pick up the food at a separate site and return to the church.

Volunteers help arrange the food on long tables, so that the recipients can get their food fast.

“They’re out the door in probably one and two minutes,” Fenster said. “It runs really smooth.”

Linda Lafitte said she not only appreciates the program’s speedy service, but she also likes the variety of the food.

“You can really cook meals around what you receive,” said the retired Clay County resident.

She and other recipients who lined up for the program last Saturday said they were thankful for the church’s efforts.

“It’s a wonderful program,” Lafitte said. “In fact, it’s a blessing.”

Friday, Dec. 14, 2007

Angel Food program helps hundreds of families save

Members of Richland Road Church of Christ heard about Angel Food ministries by word of mouth from a church member whose mother participates in the low-cost food program in Alabama.

Matt Dahm, family life minister and coordinator of the outreach ministry team at the church, said once the opportunity for outreach was discussed by church leaders, a decision was made to further investigate the possibility of bringing the Angel Food opportunity to Marion.

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A team of volunteers went to Mansfield to a host church site to check out what is needed to bring the project to fruition.
“We went over on a distribution day to get the feel for the ministry,” Dahm said.

The ministry, states a press release, takes compassion to the next level by providing dignity based outreach – a sustainable service model that brings support back to the sponsoring church, and moves people from crisis mode to regular budgeting and healthier nutrition.

Once the decision was made to move forward, Dahm said there are folks in the church who have found this to be their “niche in outreach ministry.” Laurie Starcher and Dixie Hines are two of those members.

“It’s our way of serving,” Hines said. “The men can serve in the church but there’s very little the women can do to give back.”

“I love to see people’s faces when they see what’s in the menu,” Starcher added, noting that a price increase from $25 to $30 goes into effect with the January 2008 distribution. “We’ve had no complaints with the price increase. It doesn’t matter what you make to partici

pate in this – from no job to making thousands a month – you can still do it.”

Dahm said each Angel Food unit includes 17-18 items each month – most of them frozen foods but some fresh foods, as well. The Richland Road church has a team that drives a rental truck to Westerville to pick up the food on distribution day and another team that helps unload the truck and organize the food items for distribution.

Although the units are expressed as “sold,” the church makes no money from the sale of the food boxes, Dahm said. When the local ministry first began, their monthly distribution was about 50-60 units and currently now is more than 200.

On distribution day (which is this Saturday this month), the menu for the next month is available and folks can make their next month’s purchase that day, relieving them of the need to make an additional trip to make the next month’s purchase. Dahm did stress that those who make a purchase must bring a box or bags to put the food into and teens from the church are available to carry it to their car for them.

For Cathy Parker, learning the outreach would be available in Marion was a godsend. She said she had seen a flyer with the Angel Food ministry but the host church was in Marysville. She said she and several of her friends would purchase a basic unit, then she would drive to Marysville and pick it up on distribution day.

“I was so glad when I learned Richland Road (Church of Christ) was going to do it,” Parker said. “The quality of food is wonderful.”

Parker, a former teacher now on disability due to several health concerns and a single mother with a 4-year-old daughter, said stretching the budget to meet all needs can be difficult. In addition to the basic unit, she also sometimes purchases specialty boxes which she also described as “good deals.”

“It (the ministry) is just what it says,” she said. “Angel food.”

Spending two or three days a month both selling and the day of distribution is not a problem for Hines.

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “It’s a great way to help our community. I can feel like I’ve done something for God, for my church and for the community.”

Monday, Dec. 10, 2007

Feeding People, One Box At a Time

Food costs have skyrocketed along with the cost of gas and utilities. These days, everyone is trying to shave a few dollars off the grocery bill.

It takes some know-how to stretch that food dollar, and Scott and Kim McLain are experts. The Traverse City couple are parents of nine children. Yet as busy as they are caring for their three biological and five adopted children and being a legal guardian to another, Kim McLain is never too busy to make sure others are fed as well.

Along with running her busy household, Kim McLain is the local coordinator for Angel Food Ministries, a nationwide food ministry whose local church affiliate is McLain’s church, Living Hope Assembly of God.

Once a month the ministry distributes boxes of restaurant-quality food for $25. These are not seconds or damaged goods, no dented cans or day-old breads. It’s estimated that the boxes carry a retail value of between $50 and $60, and the best part is, there are no income requirements. The discounted food is available to anyone.

“The Angel Food program helps people from 20-somethings just starting out to the elderly on fixed incomes trying to cut corners on their food budget,” Kim McLain said.

The program accepts government food stamps. McLain said it also can provide a lot of groceries for people using the Michigan Bridge Card, a cash assistance card available for those who qualify for state help.

“We hear people say, the work is seasonal; my husband lost his job; I’m a single mom. It fits all these criteria,” she said.

The program also helps balance a budget when medical costs take an unexpected chunk out of monthly income.

Participation has increased since McLain took on the job as coordinator two years ago. She says over 100 customers have signed on since May.

The Angel Food Ministry, headquartered in Monroe, Ga., began in 1994 when Rev. Joe Wingo started distributing food from his back porch. He first tried to give the food away, then realized that even those with a great need were too proud to accept a handout. He changed direction and offered the food at a deep discount with the new insight that there is dignity in poverty. The ministry currently reaches roughly 300,000 people in 32 states including Michigan.

“I had heard about the program and looked into it,” McLain said.

The McLains and several other families sampled the food to see what the quality was like and investigated how much work would be involved in getting the church distribution center up and running.

“Around that time, four different people came up to me and mentioned Angel Food. I said ‘OK, I get it.’ I knew God was telling me I was supposed to be the one to get it started at Living Hope.”

It’s estimated that the box can feed a family of four for a week, or a senior citizen for almost a month The menu items vary from month to month, but include fresh or frozen items such as steak, chicken nuggets, frozen vegetables, a dessert, frozen pizza or corn dogs. In addition, boxes of three or four meat specials can be purchased along with a regular order for an extra $18.

“I feel good giving good food at a great price,” McLain said. She takes pleasure in seeing people buying a box of food for themselves as well as a box for others — a care package, she said. Others are saving on food bills and donating their savings to ministries.

Dealing with food logistics was nothing new for McLain. The family has been active members at Living Hope for five years and McLain already was running the church food pantry as well as the adoptive food co-op.

“Many of the families in church have children in foster care. The children are eligible through Child and Family Services for food through a co-op run by the Gleaners, but once a child is adopted, he is disqualified from the program,” she said. “This is difficult because some of the children have medical problems and eating issues.”

As adoptive parents themselves, the McLains recognized the need for the food co-op at the church, which currently serves about 12 families.

For them, the Angel Food Ministry is another option.

“It offers people a way out instead of a hand-out,” she said. “I just love this job. It fits me to a T.”

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007

Angel Food returns to Webster

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit program brought to Webster Parish by Webster Parish Police Jury Office of Community Services, located at 208 Gleason St. in Minden and South Main Mall in Springhill.

For $25 (plus tax when using cash or money orders) anyone can purchase approximately $60 to $70 worth of groceries each month to be shipped directly from the manufacturers to Webster Parish on refrigerated trucks for distribution. There are no applications, no financial qualifications and no limits on quantities purchased.

This is not government subsidized food. The food is purchased on the open market in huge quantities, Webster Parish Community Services provides the facilities and much of the labor, and the savings are passed on to the consumer.

Orders for the November distribution began at 8:30 a.m., Monday, October 22 at the Minden and Springhill offices. Distribution will not be until the last week of November.

Participants must have their receipt with them on distribution day to pick up their food and they should also bring a large box to exchange for each regular unit ordered. Food that is not picked up by the specified time stated on the receipt will be given to families in need and cannot be refunded. Food stamps (EBT), cash, money orders and cashiers checks will be accepted. No credit cards of personal checks will be accepted.

The November 2007 menu is as follows: Four pounds individually quick frozen leg quarters; 26-ounce Banquet turkey entrée; four 8-ounce 80/20 lean beef patties; one-pound IQF chicken breast; one-pound Gourmet sausage; one-pound corn dogs; one-pound ground turkey; 12-ounce Philly steaks; 6.5-ounce stroganoff dinner; one-pound pinto beans; one-pound rice; one-pound California veggie blend; two-pounds fresh onions; 20-ounce shoe string potatoes; seven-ounce blueberry muffin mix; and one dessert item.

Feeding People, One Box At a Time

Food costs have skyrocketed along with the cost of gas and utilities. These days, everyone is trying to shave a few dollars off the grocery bill.

It takes some know-how to stretch that food dollar, and Scott and Kim McLain are experts. The Traverse City couple are parents of nine children. Yet as busy as they are caring for their three biological and five adopted children and being a legal guardian to another, Kim McLain is never too busy to make sure others are fed as well.

Along with running her busy household, Kim McLain is the local coordinator for Angel Food Ministries, a nationwide food ministry whose local church affiliate is McLain’s church, Living Hope Assembly of God.

Once a month the ministry distributes boxes of restaurant-quality food for $25. These are not seconds or damaged goods, no dented cans or day-old breads. It’s estimated that the boxes carry a retail value of between $50 and $60, and the best part is, there are no income requirements. The discounted food is available to anyone.

“The Angel Food program helps people from 20-somethings just starting out to the elderly on fixed incomes trying to cut corners on their food budget,” Kim McLain said.

The program accepts government food stamps. McLain said it also can provide a lot of groceries for people using the Michigan Bridge Card, a cash assistance card available for those who qualify for state help.

“We hear people say, the work is seasonal; my husband lost his job; I’m a single mom. It fits all these criteria,” she said.

The program also helps balance a budget when medical costs take an unexpected chunk out of monthly income.

Participation has increased since McLain took on the job as coordinator two years ago. She says over 100 customers have signed on since May.

The Angel Food Ministry, headquartered in Monroe, Ga., began in 1994 when Rev. Joe Wingo started distributing food from his back porch. He first tried to give the food away, then realized that even those with a great need were too proud to accept a handout. He changed direction and offered the food at a deep discount with the new insight that there is dignity in poverty. The ministry currently reaches roughly 300,000 people in 32 states including Michigan.

“I had heard about the program and looked into it,” McLain said.

The McLains and several other families sampled the food to see what the quality was like and investigated how much work would be involved in getting the church distribution center up and running.

“Around that time, four different people came up to me and mentioned Angel Food. I said ‘OK, I get it.’ I knew God was telling me I was supposed to be the one to get it started at Living Hope.”

It’s estimated that the box can feed a family of four for a week, or a senior citizen for almost a month The menu items vary from month to month, but include fresh or frozen items such as steak, chicken nuggets, frozen vegetables, a dessert, frozen pizza or corn dogs. In addition, boxes of three or four meat specials can be purchased along with a regular order for an extra $18.

“I feel good giving good food at a great price,” McLain said. She takes pleasure in seeing people buying a box of food for themselves as well as a box for others — a care package, she said. Others are saving on food bills and donating their savings to ministries.

Dealing with food logistics was nothing new for McLain. The family has been active members at Living Hope for five years and McLain already was running the church food pantry as well as the adoptive food co-op.

“Many of the families in church have children in foster care. The children are eligible through Child and Family Services for food through a co-op run by the Gleaners, but once a child is adopted, he is disqualified from the program,” she said. “This is difficult because some of the children have medical problems and eating issues.”

As adoptive parents themselves, the McLains recognized the need for the food co-op at the church, which currently serves about 12 families.

For them, the Angel Food Ministry is another option.

“It offers people a way out instead of a hand-out,” she said. “I just love this job. It fits me to a T.”

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007

Angel Food Ministries is helping feed Newton families

Turkey, hamburgers, chicken breasts, corn dogs, rice, onions, potatoes, dessert for just $25 is a bargain few can resist. Add eight 8 oz. rib eye steaks for only $18 and that is enough food for an entire family to eat for weeks. That’s what Angel Food Ministries is all about — offering high quality food for a very low price.

“We knew it would be a great program and people would recognize a good bargain,” said Lisa Skinner who is helping with the nation-wide ministry that is locally based out of the First United Methodist Church.
Skinner said she learned of the program from her friend Lorelea Baker, who also is helping organize the ministry at the church. The women said they felt the timing was perfect for the community, which is facing the shut-down of all Maytag operations in a matter of days.

“We knew that there was a need, especially with Maytag going out and groceries have gotten so expensive,” said Skinner also noting the loss of SHARE, which had offered food at a reduced rate.

Baker said she is excited to be working a program like Angel Food Ministries and offering it to her community.
“I think it is a good thing for our community and I think this community really needs it,” she said. “I know there are a lot of single parents out their having trouble making ends meet.”

Shawna Forst who is helping with the ministry said she was excited about the program because she knew it would have a positive impact on many Newton families including her own.

“I knew my family could benefit from this,” Forst said. “I grew up in Newton so I’m passionate about helping others within my community.”
The church offered its first distribution dated on Oct. 13 and is gearing up for a city-wide distribution date from 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 17. The registration deadline is Nov. 5. People wishing to purchase a box of food for themselves or for someone else can do so by visiting the church at 2110 N. Second Ave. E. from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Sunday and 7 to 7:45 p.m. Wednesday in the church’s dining room or from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday in the church office.

The church accepts personal checks made out to the church, cashier’s checks, money orders or food stamps and there is no limit on how many boxes of food a person can buy. The women also noted their is no financial requirement to be met in order to make a purchase.

“It is just for people in need,” Skinner said. “It’s for anyone who wants high quality food at a bargain.”

Friday, Aug. 31, 2007

Angels help stretch food budgets

Turkey Valley United Methodist Church of Seven Stars is helping people in the community stretch their food dollars.

In April, they became a host site for the Angel Food Ministries Program, a national, nonprofit, nondenominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities in the United States.

“We learned about the program through one of our members who was using the program at Trinity Lutheran Church in McAlisterville,” said Nancy Buonocore, wife of the Rev. Sal Buonocore of Turkey Valley UMC. “She said, why don’t we offer the program here?”

The food consists of high quality fresh and frozen items — meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, desserts. The food is not outdated or damaged and is provided by the same distributors that supply local grocery chains.

People may order food for $25 per unit. A unit, valued at $60, is meant to feed a family of four for about one week and a single adult/senior for about one month. There is no limit on the number of units that can be purchased and the menu in the units changes monthly.

“We have had so many people say how much it has helped them to stretch their food budgets, and it’s all quality food,” said Buonocore.

As an example, the August unit consisted of (4) 8 oz. lean hamburger steaks; (1) 1.5 lb. boneless pork filet; (1) 1.25 lb. turkey pot roast; (1) 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast; (1) 1 lb. fully cooked meatballs; (10) 4 oz. beef and bean burritos; (1) 32 oz. shelf stable milk; (1) 11 oz. breakfast cereal; (1) 6.5 oz. beef stroganoff dinner; (1) 1 lb. pasta; (1) 26 oz. pasta sauce; (1) 1 lb. green beans; (1) 8 oz. pancake mix; (1) 1 lb. rice; (1) 10.5 oz. beef gravy; (1) 2 lb. fresh potatoes; and (1) each dessert item.

In addition to the regular unit, there are three monthly variety meat specials available for about $18 each. The specials can be purchased only if a regular monthly unit is purchased. However, there is no limit on the number of specials that can be ordered with the purchase of a regular unit.

Turkey Valley UMC places orders of from 100 to 200 units per month for people participating in the program.

“This is not a fund-raising program,” said Buonocore. “And while it has helped many senior citizens and low income families, it is meant to help all families.”

There are no applications to be filled out and no qualifications that need to be met. Everyone is included.

To learn more about the program or to download a copy of the brochure, which includes the monthly order form, readers may visit www.turkeyvalleychurch.org and click on Angel Food Ministry. Questions can be e-mailed to newsletter@turkeyvalleychurch.org.

Order forms may be returned by mail, along with a money order or cashier’s check (no personal checks are accepted) by the designated deadline.

Participants also can place orders in person at designated places, dates and times.

Angel Food Ministries, like most other retail grocery stores, also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program.

Readers also may call the church office, 589-3926, for information. Church members volunteer to oversee of the program.

“Our church tries to do programs to help the community,” said Buonocore. “The response has been so positive.”

Participants are asked to bring a large container on pick-up day, which is the last Saturday of the month at the church. “Pick-up takes about five minutes,” said Buonocore.

Angel Food Ministries celebrated its 13th anniversary in February. By the end of 2006, more than 500,000 families were fed in 32 states.

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007

Ministry helps put low-cost food on tables

There is a sign at a church on Concord Road west of Albemarle, “Angel Food Ministry.”

No, they are not selling cake. Nor are they offering manna free to the public.

They aren’t actually “selling” anything. Nor are they giving it away.

What the people at Full Gospel Mission Church are doing is helping people put food on the table by acting as agents between people in the community and a food distribution center.

Those who participate in the ministry “order” a menu of food by phone from a monthly special order sheet. The menu is not the same each month, but those taking part take what is listed. Everybody gets the same foods. Based on the number of orders, representatives of the church go the distribution center, buy the food, come back and sort it on tables in the fellowship hall. The food is picked up by the family that placed the order. The food is at the church on the last Saturday of the month and must be picked up that morning.

People bring boxes, baskets or whatever containers they have, go around the tables and fill the containers with their allotments of food.

They pay $25. They get $75 worth of food.

After purchasing the initial box they can order meat specials. This is a portion of frozen meats, also at a fraction of the cost at the grocery store.

In June the grocery list included a 2-pound Salisbury steak dinner, 2 pounds of St. Louis ribs, 2 pounds of chicken tenders, 18 ounces of manicotti, 2 pounds of breaded frying chicken, 4 ounces of country fried beef steaks, 6.5 ounces of lasagna hamburger dinner, 7.5 ounces of ranch and bacon pasta salad, 16 ounces of dry pinto beans, 16 ounces of sliced frozen carrots, 16 ounces of frozen corn, 24 ounces of steak cut French fries, 8 ounces of corn muffin mix, a pound of white rice, 14 ounces of peanut butter, a 10 ounce package of waffles and one dessert item.

Members of the congregation volunteer their time and the church provides the facilities for the Angel Food Ministry.

There is no profit in the ministry as the money received goes to pay for the food and the expense of going to Monroe to the distribution site. For every 50 boxes that are filled, enough food is left over to fill a 51st box. That box is then given to some family that may not have the funds for a box due to some hardship.

Also, if there is any money left over, it is used to buy food for someone who can’t afford a box.

Anyone wishing to donate $25 for a box of food for a needy family may do so. Simply call or send a check made out to Full Gospel Mission Church and put Angel Food Ministry at the bottom.

The ministry is open to the public. There are no qualifications to meet.

“I talked to Sam Wilson (pastor at Faith Free Will Baptist Church) about it, said Pastor Mitchell Cook, “and he wanted to know who can get in on it. I told him ‘If you’re breathing, you can get in on it.’ People from all walks of life are eligible, the rich, poor, whatever.”

The church bought two new deep freezers and paid for them to store frozen foods. The Huntin’ and Fishin’ Club bought another one.

“We want to be a blessing to our community. When they come they just have to come in. If they can’t come in, we will go to the car and take it to them.

“It is a lot of hard work but rewarding work. We have a lot of senior citizens on fixed incomes and certain obligations they have to meet. If someone orders it and doesn’t show up, we give it to a needy family.

“We are affiliated with Angel Food out of Atlanta They reimburse us $1 for every box and we take that money and buy more boxes of food to give to someone in need. People come from Salisbury, Rockwell, Concord.

“I want to to help people and be a blessing to my community. ”

The contact person is Shirley Smith and the number to call is (704) 985-1116. The average number participating in this program each month is 57. The high one month was 86 orders.

Smith said she likes doing it because she likes helping people. “This is a way to supply a box of food at a low cost.

“It is for everybody, not particularly the poor or those on food stamps. It is for anybody.”

Smith had been at another church where there was such a ministry. When she came to Full Gospel, she wanted to do something to help and talked to Cook. They decided this was a mission they wanted to do. They have been doing it a year now.

“It is an organization to help people and the community,” said Cook. “It’s about being a blessing; it’s about giving back.”

Friday, Jun. 29, 2007

Ministry provides food for the body and soul

Every community wants something to benefit its citizens help them grow. That is just what Angel Food Ministries at First Baptist Church of Trumann is doing.

Angel Food Ministries has existed for about 11 years. The ministry started with a husband and wife team in Good Hope, Ga. The couple just wanted to create a type of supplement grocery program to help families. Since that time, it has become nationwide. Trumann’s First Baptist Church has been doing this program since December of last year.

“The only requirement you must have is that you eat,” said Peggy Rathbun, one of the coordinators of the ministry in Trumann. “You eat, you qualify!”

Rathbun said the program is non-denominational and everyone is welcome to participate. Things such as income and number of children are not considered. Participants are not required to attend a church to join either.

The program is simple. Participants order a box of food for $25. Each box is filled with a variety of foods valued at $50 – $75. All orders are pre-paid.

“You are not locked in,” Rathbun said. “You can come in and order every month or just do it ever so often.”

A sample menu includes one package of chicken nuggets, four eight-ounce hamburger steaks, four six-ounce pork chops, one and half pound of thick bacon, one dozen eggs, two pound bag of frozen French fries, five bagels, two pound bag of onions, four apples, five bananas and one gourmet pie.

In addition to help families save on grocery costs, participants are also able to bless others. For every 50 boxes of food the ministry sells, one box of foods is given away free to someone in need. This is what they call a “Blessing Box.” The volunteers ask different churches to see what families are in need at that time, and the families in need receive a “Blessing Box.”

Because the ministry utilizes volunteers, Trumann First Baptist is always looking for more people to join the 30 volunteers already in place. Volunteers go to Jonesboro pick up food and then help sort it out to the families.

“All volunteers are welcomed,” Rathbun said. “You do not have to be a member of the church or of the Trumann community.”

Since it began, Angel Food Ministries ahs reached over one million families nationwide. Now, it is reaching residents of Trumann and Poinsett County who will benefit from the program in great ways.

“We are just hoping to bless the county and allow them to see God working through us,” said Rathbun.

Thursday, May. 3, 2007

Church host site for food ministry

The First Baptist Church of Okeechobee will be extending their outreach to the community by becoming a host site for Angel Food Ministries.

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization that began in 1994 in Monroe, Ga. At that time, it served 34 families.

Angel Food Ministries is an organization that provides quality groceries that total an average retail value of $50 for only $25.

How does this work?

Angel Food Ministries buys food in bulk, the same as a restaurant or grocery store.

There are no applications or qualifications required to order through Angel Food Ministries.

According to their website, one half million families were fed in December through Angel Food Ministries. By the end of 2006, over 500,000 families were fed in 32 states.

The food is of the same high quality that one would purchase at the regular grocery store. Angel foods are “name-brand” foods that are never second-hand, damaged or out-of-date goods. There are no cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Each month Angel Food sends a menu to host sites. A sample menu typically includes a few different types of meat such as different types of steaks, pork chops, bacon and chicken. The menu also includes vegetables — fresh, canned or frozen — and fresh fruit, such as apples and bananas.

There is also one dessert item with every order.

Also available are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. The specialty items also vary by the monthly menu and could include a grill box with various meats, surf and turf or shrimp and steak, or even a gourmet coffee box.

Specialty boxes are available with the purchase of one regular box. These specialty boxes range in prices from $14-$18.

According to their website, generally one regular box of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week, or a single senior citizen for almost a month.

The program also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

Each month the church will have set order dates where orders will be received before their deadline with Angel Food Ministries. They will then have a distribution day approximately two weeks later on a Saturday morning where individuals will come to pick up their order.

For being a host site, the First Baptist Church of Okeechobee will receive $1 for every order they receive. These funds will go in the benevolent fund for their Mission House where food, clothing, Bibles and other supplies are given to the needy in Okeechobee.

To make this Angel Food Ministries program successful, volunteers are needed. The majority of the volunteers will only be needed one Saturday a month, on distribution day. During the beginning of this program they will also need volunteers to assist with advertising in order to help the most people in the community.

Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007

Angel Food Program to help needy

The cost of living has many feeling that their money isn’t going as far as it used to, but now a new program is here to help.

Hundreds of people lined up outside the Freedom Center in Myrtle Beach Saturday.

The center distributes food one Saturday a month. More than 850 people picked up enough food to fill a medium size box on Saturday.

The menu includes vegetables, breakfast foods, a dessert and 10 pounds of meat.

The “Angel Food Program” is a nation-wide program, organizers say that basic amount food helps feed a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month.

There are no restrictions on who can use the program to put food on the table.

Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2007

Feeding those in need

Ellis County Pathways began taking orders in February for food through Angel Food Ministries, a nonprofit, non-denominational organization providing groceries at a lower rate than average retail value. Angel Food Ministries sells fresh, frozen and canned foods at $25 per unit, which will feed a family of four for a week and a single senior for a month. The average retail value of the unit is between $50 and $75.

“The food is good name brands,” said Marion Reynolds with Ellis County Pathways. “A lot of it is frozen and a lot of it is non-perishable. There have been eggs and bread. There’s a lot of staples and a lot of meats. There’s vegetables, cereal and of course there’s canned fruit. They try to give a lot of variety.”

Angel Food Ministries serves high-quality items one would find at the local grocery stores and does not give second-hand items, damaged or out-of-date goods or day-old bread.

“Anyone is eligible to order food — there is no screening process,” Reynolds said, stressing that people can buy for themselves or for those in need. “Our first month of distribution was in February and we had one person who bought nine boxes, and they were probably going to give them to other people.”

The menu changes monthly and the March menu includes: 25-ounce chicken and stuffing dinner; four 8-ounce hamburger steaks; one 2-pound lasagna dinner; one 5-pound breaded frying chicken; biscuit mix; peas and carrots; turnip greens; pears; peanut better; waffles; green beans; and other items.

The menu also includes three specials available at an additional $18, such as a 4.5-pound stuffed chicken combo box, including three varieties of stuffed chicken. Menus have been distributed to businesses and churches throughout town and the Waxahachie Senior Center.

Food may be ordered between 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 17, by going to the Straight-Way Community Building, 1415 Martin Luther King Blvd. (Business 287), Waxahachie. Payment in the form of cash or money order is accepted and food stamps may be used when accompanied with a Lone Star card and driver license. Distribution will be from 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 31, at the Straight-Way Community Building.

“We’re just trying to get the word out for people who want help with their groceries, ” Reynolds said.
Ellis County Pathways was founded last year as an organization offering various forms of outreach to the needy in the community.

“It was formed last year as a new nonprofit organization. This is just one of the new things we wanted to do — distribute Angel Food Ministries,” Reynolds said. “We’re trying to target those in need. As we build our organization more we want to branch out and help people in need. We want to help people get a step up and to help them get out of any poor situations they may be in or get back on their feet. We intend to expand our mission.”

Thursday, Apr. 5, 2007

Feeding those in need

Ellis County Pathways began taking orders in February for food through Angel Food Ministries, a nonprofit, non-denominational organization providing groceries at a lower rate than average retail value. Angel Food Ministries sells fresh, frozen and canned foods at $25 per unit, which will feed a family of four for a week and a single senior for a month. The average retail value of the unit is between $50 and $75.

“The food is good name brands,” said Marion Reynolds with Ellis County Pathways. “A lot of it is frozen and a lot of it is non-perishable. There have been eggs and bread. There’s a lot of staples and a lot of meats. There’s vegetables, cereal and of course there’s canned fruit. They try to give a lot of variety.”

Angel Food Ministries serves high-quality items one would find at the local grocery stores and does not give second-hand items, damaged or out-of-date goods or day-old bread.

“Anyone is eligible to order food — there is no screening process,” Reynolds said, stressing that people can buy for themselves or for those in need. “Our first month of distribution was in February and we had one person who bought nine boxes, and they were probably going to give them to other people.”

The menu changes monthly and the March menu includes: 25-ounce chicken and stuffing dinner; four 8-ounce hamburger steaks; one 2-pound lasagna dinner; one 5-pound breaded frying chicken; biscuit mix; peas and carrots; turnip greens; pears; peanut better; waffles; green beans; and other items.

The menu also includes three specials available at an additional $18, such as a 4.5-pound stuffed chicken combo box, including three varieties of stuffed chicken. Menus have been distributed to businesses and churches throughout town and the Waxahachie Senior Center.

Food may be ordered between 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 17, by going to the Straight-Way Community Building, 1415 Martin Luther King Blvd. (Business 287), Waxahachie. Payment in the form of cash or money order is accepted and food stamps may be used when accompanied with a Lone Star card and driver license. Distribution will be from 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 31, at the Straight-Way Community Building.

“We’re just trying to get the word out for people who want help with their groceries, ” Reynolds said.
Ellis County Pathways was founded last year as an organization offering various forms of outreach to the needy in the community.

“It was formed last year as a new nonprofit organization. This is just one of the new things we wanted to do — distribute Angel Food Ministries,” Reynolds said. “We’re trying to target those in need. As we build our organization more we want to branch out and help people in need. We want to help people get a step up and to help them get out of any poor situations they may be in or get back on their feet. We intend to expand our mission.”

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007

Angel Food Ministries

A local Claremont church is bringing in food in bulk so families can save some cash. But due to short demand, this cost-saving service might end up in the bag.

The First Presbyterian Church in Claremont serves as a place of worship, and a discount grocery store.

“This is a really good thing. It’s not boring you know and it helps a lot of people,” volunteer Irmgard Madsen.

For the last year and a half, Penny McMartin and her family have been making trips to Iowa to stock up on food for the community. Through the Angel Food Ministries program, anyone who signs up can receive 50 dollars worth of groceries for half the price.

“You get five to six different meat items, fruits, vegetables; all the meat is frozen; all the vegetables are frozen and they get desserts,” explained volunteer, Penny McMartin.

So how do they get it so cheap?

“Angel Foods Ministries in Georgia has a huge Warehouse system where they can by low-cost foods and house it and buy it in large quantities at the same time,” said McMartin.

Because Claremont is the only church in Minnesota that uses the service, the future of the program is uncertain. In April, they will have to start going to Georgia instead of Iowa for the food.

They currently serve about 200 orders a month, but they will need about 2,000 to keep the program alive.

“First time I’ve done it and it looks like that for the price we pay there’s quite a good selection and quantity so I hope it will save me some money,” stated shopper Kim Stanton.

McMartin says more churches need to get involved so that a good thing doesn’t get thrown away.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007

Grocery program provides good food, cheap

Volunteers, lined up assembly-style, sorted through carloads of groceries, packing dozens of stamped cardboard boxes full of an assortment designed to help fill the barest pantry.

When they had finished, more than 50 boxes, or “units,” waited to be scooped up and loaded into cars outside the Oakland Church in Charles Town.

The units of affordable groceries distributed at the church are now offered to area residents and families through a local partnership with the national Angel Food Ministries program, which began in a Georgia town years ago.

Different from other food pantry or donation programs, Angel Food is designed to help a wide variety of people with various levels of income or need.

“The assumption, a lot of the time, with these programs is that you have to qualify,” said Jack Zaleski, co-director of Oakland Church’s Angel Food Program. “Anyone can do this. They can buy as many units as they want.”

Through the program, participants may order groceries by the unit for the fixed cost of $25. The menu dictating the contents of each unit varies from month to month, but always includes both fresh and frozen items of the same quality found at the grocery store. The units have a retail price of approximately $50.

The reduced cost of the food offers program participants a “pretty good deal,” Zaleski said, that is a helping hand — not a hand-out. Everyone qualifies for participation in the grocery program, and the only paperwork is filling out the order form.

After monthly orders are placed for the units, reduced-cost groceries are shipped from Georgia to a distribution point in Frederick, Md., where the church’s volunteers travel to stock up on the items. Once they return to the church, the units are prepared and the orders filled.

On Saturday, the designated pick-up date for February, participants stopped by Oakland Church to receive their units during the specified two-hour window.

“We’ve had a number of folks who couldn’t afford as much food otherwise,” said Pastor Joanne Alexander. “People of all incomes can make use of this.”

With rising housing costs in Jefferson County and surrounding areas, the savings on groceries could help some families keep a little more money in their pocketbooks each month, explained Zaleski, who, along with his wife, Terri, first proposed participating in the program to the church board and pastors.

As word of the still-new program spreads, volunteers hope to target a wide array of potential participants — from families to those on fixed incomes to college students.

For those who may not be able to pay the $25 cost per unit, the church will offer to reduce the cost to $10, Zaleski said. Those with even more significant needs may qualify for free units.

“We encourage our congregation to buy and take the boxes to people they know need them,” Zaleski said — a kind gesture that also allows church members to get to know the names and faces of those in their community.

Donations, or payments of more than the $25 unit cost, are also accepted to subsidize the costs of the program’s free units and transportation costs. For ease of payment, cash, checks and food stamps are accepted through the program. Those ordering online may also use credit or debit cards to pay for their units.

Those who purchase at least one unit may also buy a specialty box of meat, such as steaks, chicken or pork, for an additional $18.

The volunteers of Oakland’s Angel Food Ministry hope to spread the word of their program and increase their volume of orders, in hopes of demonstrating enough need for a delivery truck to bring the groceries directly from Georgia to the church, reducing the program’s overhead cost.

“We encourage the congregation and other folks to become aware of the program,” Zaleski said.

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007

Angel Food Ministries helps area families

Are you looking for ways to stretch your grocery budget without clipping coupons or running around town to compare prices? Consider taking advantage of Angel Food Ministries, a money-saving program that provides a convenient way to manage both your grocery list and your budget.

A nonprofit, nondenominational organization, Angel Food Ministries got its start in 1994 with 34 families in Monroe, Ga. Since then, it has expanded to serve thousands of families across the United States. The Myrtle Beach area program is run out of the Freedom Center, just off S.C. 544 near the Surfside Beach area Wal-Mart.

Angie Ashurst, director of the Freedom Center, said the program aims at filling in the gaps for those people who may bring in too much money to qualify for government assistance but who aren’t making enough to support themselves and their families. “We want to assist those people that are not being served by the community.”

Ashurst said the program is ideal for single parents, the working poor and senior citizens on a fixed income. Although these groups definitely benefit, the program is open to everyone – there are no applications or eligibility requirements.

The Myrtle Beach area food distribution program began in November and has been averaging about 170 families a month. Ashurst said the goal is to build that number up to 300 families each month. Without enough participants, she said, it won’t be cost-effective to keep the program in Horry County.

Ashurst said she’s been trying to spread the word through local media, including spots on local TV and radio public service announcements. Although it has been somewhat of a challenge getting the word out, word of mouth has played a large role in bringing in more participants. Additional obstacles in getting people to take advantage of the program, said Ashurst, are people’s skepticism about charities, the belief that there must be a “catch” and, for some people, pride.

For Candice Cook, a single mother of three kids, ages 13, 8 and 7, the program has been a lifesaver. Cook, who home-schools her children, attends school herself and works temporary jobs, said the program definitely has made her money go further. A Conway resident, she found out about the program through her home-schooling group.

“I use it because it makes sense for the budget,” she said. “It helps things stretch definitely. It’s a good deal.” Cook said the generous portions in each unit have even allowed her to share extra food with others.

The way the program works is simple. Each month, participants have the opportunity to buy a $25 “unit” of groceries on a specified day. Exactly what that basic unit will include varies from month to month, but buyers will know in advance what they are purchasing. The food includes a variety of both frozen and fresh items, and usually has a retail value of about $70. Along with each order comes a publication titled “The Servant,” which includes religious and inspirational messages and the menu for the next month.

There are no restrictions on the number of basic units that can be purchased by an individual or group each month. According to Angel Food Ministries, one unit of food should feed a family of four for one week or a single senior citizen for one month.

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006

Angel Food Ministries celebrates anniversary of program in Mexico

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.”

Friday, Nov. 3, 2006

Doing the work of angels

Every month in the Tri-City area, hundreds of families are benefiting from Angel Food Ministries – a program which is designed to give people a helping hand, not a handout.

Through the efforts of Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Newcastle, and starting next week, Tuttle First Assembly of God, families can purchase a box of high-quality food for a fraction of the cost through the program.

Angel Food got its start in 1994, at Emmanuel Praise Church in Monroe, Ga. Pastors Joe and Linda Wingo started the program by feeding 34 families, handing out the food from their back porch.

Angel Food now has hundreds of locations in more than 30 states, with more than 400,000 boxes being distributed in one month.

Woodland Hills are celebrating their one-year anniversary with Angel Food, led by Kim Martin and Stephanie Phillips, this month. It was in 2005 that Martin, along with her parents, Paul and Mary Williams, and other friends and family, were ordering Angel Food boxes from a church in Oklahoma City.

According to Mary Williams, at one point, they were picking up 17 boxes at once, and seeing other people from the community there as well.

“We just felt like there was a need, so we enquired about starting our own program,” said Williams, who volunteers every month with Woodland Hill’s Angel Food. “We found out that for every 50 that we sell, we get one free that we can give away to a needy family in the community. This is what really peaked our interest. We have a lot of needy families in this area.”

Participants picked up food at Woodland Hills on Saturday, Oct. 21. Ten days later, the cycle begins again.

The Assembly of God church will be holding their very first ordering day on Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will be followed by Thursday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 4 ordering opportunities. Woodland Hills will take orders on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Brandi Hernandez and Kimberley Owen are spearheading the effort at the Assembly of God, and they both said they were planning to copy Woodland Hills’ streamlined program. At the Newcastle church, several volunteers are set up at a long table to take orders, armed with calculators. Angel Food customers come by during the specified times and pay for their orders, which will come in after two weeks. Personal checks are not accepted, but cash and food stamp cards are.

A box full of food costs $25, and add-on specials of items like steak or chicken tenders are also available at a reduced cost. A first-time customer must also put down a $4 deposit for a plastic tub, which the food is delivered in. Customers who have previously ordered Angel Food bring back their plastic tub when they order, waiving the $4 deposit. There is no limit to the boxes of food ordered, and many families order four or more boxes a month.

When a customer pays for their food, they are given a receipt with the pick up date and time. Woodland Hills staggers their pick up times so customers don’t have to face a long wait on pick up day.

Menus are available at the secretary’s office at the Assembly of God. Woodland Hills posts the menu, plus additional information, on their website at www.whbcok.org.

Orders are sent to Angel Food Ministries headquarters in Monroe, Ga., and the food is delivered to the local area on refrigerated trucks. Most months, the truck delivers food directly to Woodland Hills and other area churches pick up their orders there before distribution.

Volunteers at Woodland Hills start unloading the truck around 5:30 a.m. on distribution day. The 50 to 60 volunteers man different stations at the church. Some are runners, delivering receipts to the front desk. Others load food into the plastic tubs. A volunteer might stand for hours, placing a sack of potatoes into each plastic tub scooted along past them. Others load the tubs into the back of pickups or into car trunks. Everyone is an important part of the process.

Most customers have no idea what’s going on inside when they pick up their food. They enter the church parking lot from the south entrance and drive around the church building to the first entrance. There, a volunteer takes their receipt and runs it in the building, where another table of volunteers sit. Each has a list of customer names. Those names are checked off as their receipts are brought in. The customer drives forward to the second entrance, where one or more tubs full of food, plus add-on boxes, are delivered right to their vehicle. In most cases, the customer has no wait and doesn’t even have to get out of their car.

Customers also get a flier with the next month’s menu on it, plus the official Angel Food Ministries magazine, “The Servant.” Woodland Hills also hands out a booklet of menu suggestions and recipes, compiled by the McClain County OSU Extension office. Recipe ideas include Easy Italian Meatballs and Pasta or Tangy Chicken Cordon Bleu. Most items required for the recipe come straight from the Angel Food box.

Volunteers stress that this program is for everyone, not just “needy people.”

“This is not a program for low income families. This is not a program just for people on Social Security,” said Mary Williams. “This is a program for anybody who wants to participate and get really, really good food at a really, really good price, and cut down on the grocery shopping bills. In this day and age, I think everybody needs to save all the money they can.”

At the Assembly of God Church, Brandi Hernandez said that Angel Food was a good way to save money without compromising quality for the family.

“The quality of the food is unbelievable, really,” she said. “If anybody has ever gotten any kind of commodities or food from a food pantry, this is almost uncomparable. It’s such a blessing.”Every month in the Tri-City area, hundreds of families are benefiting from Angel Food Ministries – a program which is designed to give people a helping hand, not a handout.

Through the efforts of Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Newcastle, and starting next week, Tuttle First Assembly of God, families can purchase a box of high-quality food for a fraction of the cost through the program.

Angel Food got its start in 1994, at Emmanuel Praise Church in Monroe, Ga. Pastors Joe and Linda Wingo started the program by feeding 34 families, handing out the food from their back porch.

Angel Food now has hundreds of locations in more than 30 states, with more than 400,000 boxes being distributed in one month.

Woodland Hills are celebrating their one-year anniversary with Angel Food, led by Kim Martin and Stephanie Phillips, this month. It was in 2005 that Martin, along with her parents, Paul and Mary Williams, and other friends and family, were ordering Angel Food boxes from a church in Oklahoma City.

According to Mary Williams, at one point, they were picking up 17 boxes at once, and seeing other people from the community there as well.

“We just felt like there was a need, so we enquired about starting our own program,” said Williams, who volunteers every month with Woodland Hill’s Angel Food. “We found out that for every 50 that we sell, we get one free that we can give away to a needy family in the community. This is what really peaked our interest. We have a lot of needy families in this area.”

Participants picked up food at Woodland Hills on Saturday, Oct. 21. Ten days later, the cycle begins again.

The Assembly of God church will be holding their very first ordering day on Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will be followed by Thursday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 4 ordering opportunities. Woodland Hills will take orders on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Brandi Hernandez and Kimberley Owen are spearheading the effort at the Assembly of God, and they both said they were planning to copy Woodland Hills’ streamlined program. At the Newcastle church, several volunteers are set up at a long table to take orders, armed with calculators. Angel Food customers come by during the specified times and pay for their orders, which will come in after two weeks. Personal checks are not accepted, but cash and food stamp cards are.

A box full of food costs $25, and add-on specials of items like steak or chicken tenders are also available at a reduced cost. A first-time customer must also put down a $4 deposit for a plastic tub, which the food is delivered in. Customers who have previously ordered Angel Food bring back their plastic tub when they order, waiving the $4 deposit. There is no limit to the boxes of food ordered, and many families order four or more boxes a month.

When a customer pays for their food, they are given a receipt with the pick up date and time. Woodland Hills staggers their pick up times so customers don’t have to face a long wait on pick up day.

Menus are available at the secretary’s office at the Assembly of God. Woodland Hills posts the menu, plus additional information, on their website at www.whbcok.org.

Orders are sent to Angel Food Ministries headquarters in Monroe, Ga., and the food is delivered to the local area on refrigerated trucks. Most months, the truck delivers food directly to Woodland Hills and other area churches pick up their orders there before distribution.

Volunteers at Woodland Hills start unloading the truck around 5:30 a.m. on distribution day. The 50 to 60 volunteers man different stations at the church. Some are runners, delivering receipts to the front desk. Others load food into the plastic tubs. A volunteer might stand for hours, placing a sack of potatoes into each plastic tub scooted along past them. Others load the tubs into the back of pickups or into car trunks. Everyone is an important part of the process.

Most customers have no idea what’s going on inside when they pick up their food. They enter the church parking lot from the south entrance and drive around the church building to the first entrance. There, a volunteer takes their receipt and runs it in the building, where another table of volunteers sit. Each has a list of customer names. Those names are checked off as their receipts are brought in. The customer drives forward to the second entrance, where one or more tubs full of food, plus add-on boxes, are delivered right to their vehicle. In most cases, the customer has no wait and doesn’t even have to get out of their car.

Customers also get a flier with the next month’s menu on it, plus the official Angel Food Ministries magazine, “The Servant.” Woodland Hills also hands out a booklet of menu suggestions and recipes, compiled by the McClain County OSU Extension office. Recipe ideas include Easy Italian Meatballs and Pasta or Tangy Chicken Cordon Bleu. Most items required for the recipe come straight from the Angel Food box.

Volunteers stress that this program is for everyone, not just “needy people.”

“This is not a program for low income families. This is not a program just for people on Social Security,” said Mary Williams. “This is a program for anybody who wants to participate and get really, really good food at a really, really good price, and cut down on the grocery shopping bills. In this day and age, I think everybody needs to save all the money they can.”

At the Assembly of God Church, Brandi Hernandez said that Angel Food was a good way to save money without compromising quality for the family.

“The quality of the food is unbelievable, really,” she said. “If anybody has ever gotten any kind of commodities or food from a food pantry, this is almost uncomparable. It’s such a blessing.”

Half-price groceries: $50 of food sold for $25 in Angel Food program

MARION – Shepherd’s Closet, an outreach of the First Apostolic Church, is about to place it’s first order as part of Angel Food Ministries.

“Angel Food Ministries is a nationwide program that provides grocery savings to anyone,” Shepherd’s Closet founder Charles Fox said.

Each month, Angel Food Ministries puts together a $25 food package of high quality, name brand foods that anyone can order. The package, which is typically valued at more than $50, contains fresh meats, fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, as well as staples.

“We (Shepherd’s Closet) will get a percentage of each sale, and that money will help fund our pantry,” Fox said.

The Shepherd’s Closet pantry began as a small mission for Marion’s First Apostolic Church a mere six months ago, but has grown at a rapid pace.

“In October we served 1,497 people,” Fox said. “The Angel Food Ministry is just another way we can help people stretch their grocery dollars. We’ll be using our portion of the proceeds to add more food to our pantry.”

Shepherd’s Closet will be offering the food packages through Angel Food Ministries every month. Although the contents of the food packages will change month to month, the price will stay the same.

“People may wonder why the price is so low,” Fox said. “Well, Angel Food Ministries is the largest buyer of Tyson meat products. They buy more than Wal-Mart does.”

The food packages are available to anyone. There is no application or qualifying process, and no limit on the quantity of packages purchased. All package orders must be prepaid, and Fox said they accept cash, check and even food stamps.

“People need to know that this is not outdated food or damaged goods,” Fox said. “This is all name brand food, trucked here in refrigerated trucks for delivery on the same day.”

This first order, which Fox will place next week, will arrive for pickup on Nov. 18. The cut-off date for the November food package is Nov. 4.

Each month there are additional packages available to anyone who buys the basic $25 package. Anyone who orders the November package may also buy the one of three other November Specials.

For example, November Special 1 is a Steak Combo Box, which includes (4) 8-ounce T-bone steaks and (4) 8-ounce New York Strip steaks for only $18.

MARION – Shepherd’s Closet, an outreach of the First Apostolic Church, is about to place it’s first order as part of Angel Food Ministries.

“Angel Food Ministries is a nationwide program that provides grocery savings to anyone,” Shepherd’s Closet founder Charles Fox said.

Each month, Angel Food Ministries puts together a $25 food package of high quality, name brand foods that anyone can order. The package, which is typically valued at more than $50, contains fresh meats, fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, as well as staples.

“We (Shepherd’s Closet) will get a percentage of each sale, and that money will help fund our pantry,” Fox said.

The Shepherd’s Closet pantry began as a small mission for Marion’s First Apostolic Church a mere six months ago, but has grown at a rapid pace.

“In October we served 1,497 people,” Fox said. “The Angel Food Ministry is just another way we can help people stretch their grocery dollars. We’ll be using our portion of the proceeds to add more food to our pantry.”

Shepherd’s Closet will be offering the food packages through Angel Food Ministries every month. Although the contents of the food packages will change month to month, the price will stay the same.

“People may wonder why the price is so low,” Fox said. “Well, Angel Food Ministries is the largest buyer of Tyson meat products. They buy more than Wal-Mart does.”

The food packages are available to anyone. There is no application or qualifying process, and no limit on the quantity of packages purchased. All package orders must be prepaid, and Fox said they accept cash, check and even food stamps.

“People need to know that this is not outdated food or damaged goods,” Fox said. “This is all name brand food, trucked here in refrigerated trucks for delivery on the same day.”

This first order, which Fox will place next week, will arrive for pickup on Nov. 18. The cut-off date for the November food package is Nov. 4.

Each month there are additional packages available to anyone who buys the basic $25 package. Anyone who orders the November package may also buy the one of three other November Specials.

For example, November Special 1 is a Steak Combo Box, which includes (4) 8-ounce T-bone steaks and (4) 8-ounce New York Strip steaks for only $18.

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006

Food bank angel volunteer of year

In the last 10 months the Mukilteo Food Bank has served 4,625 people in the Mukilteo School District. But that number is a mere fraction of the families fed in the 25-plus years that Mary Lou Robertson has volunteered with the food bank.

And now she has been honored by the food bank’s directors as Volunteer Of The Year.

Mary Lou Robertson began visiting Mukilteo in 1943, when her parents purchased land and built a cabin here.

“I was a teenager then – we came out every weekend,” she says. “And I thought it was the most terrible place in the world.”

But years later, in 1961, Mary Lou had a change of heart – and circumstances. And Mukilteo has been her home ever since.

After her husband Ted was deployed with the Navy, Mary Lou and her young son Jimmie “moved to be closer to my parents,” she says. (Mary Lou also has a daughter, Mary Kay Bouck, who lives in Utah; her son Jimmie presently lives in Bellingham.)

When Mary Lou got involved with the Mukilteo Presbyterian Church, she began her volunteer work with the food bank as a volunteer at the front desk. As a result she got to know everyone who walked in.

Today she is secretary of the board, and works on Tuesdays. However, the food bank is open from 4 to 5 p.m. the Monday before the second Tuesday of the month, as well as from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, she says.

The time Mary Lou spends at the food bank helps her realize a basic truth: “We do have a lot of people around here with nothing in their cupboards.”

Today, she says, the food bank is in dire need of supplies – “I’ve never seen the shelves as empty as they are now.”

Things in short supply include canned fruit and meat, juices, boxed dinners, peanut butter and jam, instant potatoes, pudding and Jell-O® mixes, Top Ramon®, soups and chili.

“Cake and frosting mixes are not a necessity, obviously, but they are nice to have,” she says. Other useful products are personal items like soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“Really and truly, my hope is that one day the food bank won’t be necessary,” says Mary Lou Robertson. But that day is not today.

“The food bank is a necessity,” she says. “I wish it were open longer hours and more often during the week.”

Before that can happen, she adds, more volunteers are needed.

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006

Angel Food Ministries; Feeding families in need

Many people in Southeastern Iowa , like the rest of the country, have a hard time supplying the basic necessities for their family. These people are not necessarily unemployed, but just the victims of being left somewhere in the middle. They make too much money to qualify for public assistance, but make too little to pay all of their bills and put nutritional meals on the table. Fortunately, there is help available.

Founded in 1994, Angel Food Ministries started out by helping to feed thirty-four families in Monroe, Georgia. Today the ministry serves thousands of families throughout seventeen states, including Iowa . Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.

Angel Food’s groceries are sold in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $25 per unit, and each month’s menu is different than the previous month, consisting of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $50.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one would purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can purchase, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries, like most all other retail grocery stores, also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

Food sales and distribution are handled by local church host sites, which are manned by volunteers. Angel Food Ministries supplies the groceries to the host churches at prices much lower than grocery stores due to minimal operating costs by using volunteers. Orders and payments are collected by the host sites during the first part of each month. These orders are then turned in to the Angel Food main office in Monroe, Georgia, on a predetermined date.

Later that month the food is delivered to the host site through various means throughout the country in preparation of the delivery date.

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