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Serving up savings

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Angel Food Ministries give 'blessings by the box'

By Geoff Hamill

The economy in our country has seen better days. Prices of almost everything are on the rise, and one of the items affected most is the food we eat.

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That’s where Angel Food Ministries comes in.

A program that started nearly 15 years ago in Monroe, Ga., to help 34 families in that area has now grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families in 35 states, including Kentucky.

Angel Food Ministries, a non-profit, non-denominational organization, is dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities across the country. The program crosses denominational lines and has spread the good news of the gospel of Christ through salvation tracts that are placed in each food order.

Each month, boxes typically feature foods such as choice cut beef roast, chicken breast, pork chops, hot dogs, green beans, carrots, rice, and much more. Orders are accepted through churches designated as host sites, and those who buy the food receive a box each month for $30 that contains an average value of $60 worth of food. Generally, one box of food will feed a family of four for about one week, or a single person for almost a month. The program is open to anyone, and no income requirements apply, although food stamps are accepted as payment for orders.

Locally, Temple Baptist and New Beginnings Community churches serve as host sites for Angel Food Ministries, and each of them can be contacted to place an order. Both also serve as pick-up sites when orders are delivered. Temple Baptist first brought the program to Washington County after some members there decided it was a need for the community. Ruth Smith, a member of Temple Baptist, said she, along with other members, were able to bring Angel Food Ministries to Springfield in August after their experiences with the program through a neighboring church in Harrodsburg. Members of Temple Baptist began by placing orders and traveling to Immanuel Baptist Church in Harrodsburg to pick up the food, bring it back to Washington County, then distribute it locally. Following that positive experience, the church applied to become a host site, and now serves nearly four times as many families as it did just a few months ago.

“Before we started as a host church in August, we had maybe 30 some boxes of food each month,” Smith said. “Now we’re upwards of 119 boxes each month, and it’s gradually growing.”

George Hourigan, pastor of New Beginnings Community Church, said his church started its affiliation with Angel Food Ministries by picking up food at a Lebanon church, but now has been a host for about three months.

“This really helps people, and it’s one of the best things I’ve seen for a working person. Everybody’s trying to find a way to cut back, and this is really good food,” Hourigan said. “The food’s all good. We’ve never had any complaints, and it’s probably a 50 to 60 percent savings. It’s a good way to save some money and get some good food.”

Smith said the food included in the boxes is top quality, although it doesn’t come with fancy labels or packaging. Angel Foods Ministries’ Web site assures customers there are no out-dated products, damaged cans, or day-old breads, and says the food is the same high quality merchandise that can be purchased in any grocery store.

“It’s name brand foods, but they package it in a way that it doesn’t cost as much,” Smith added.

New Beginnings delivers Angel Food boxes on the third Saturday of each month, and orders are due by the second Saturday of each month.

In addition to Angel Food Ministries, New Beginnings offers a program called Second Harvest. Hourigan said unlike Angel Food Ministries, Second Harvest is based on the need of a family, and must be applied for along with proof of income.

“As a host church with Angel Food Ministries, we get a percentage back, and we use all of that to provide food for our Second Harvest families,” Hourigan said. He added that approximately 50 families were fed in November as a part of the Second Harvest program, as well as free Thanksgiving dinners being provided to the needy. He said the church hopes to be able to provide free Christmas dinners for needy families, as well.

Orders at Temple Baptist are normally delivered on the last Saturday of each month, but they can be placed any time until the month’s deadline. Order forms with the current month’s menu can be picked up at either of the local host churches, and the menu is also available at www.angelfoodministries.com on the Internet. Menus and order forms are also available to be picked up at The Springfield Sun office at 108 Progress Ave.

Checks are accepted for orders, as well as food stamps. For complete details, contact Ruth Smith at (859) 583-5696, Diane McDaniel at (859) 481-2111, or Harold or Barbara Best at (859) 336-9856.