Monday, September 28, 2009
Angel Food Ministries’ Expands Grocery Relief Services Washington Residents to Benefit from Angel Food’s Family Assistance Program
Washington Residents to Benefit from Angel Food’s Family Assistance Program
Sumner, Washington (October 24th, 2009) – Angel Food Ministries (www.angelfoodministries.com), an organization dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality food to those in need, is proud to announce the expansion of services to the Sumner, Washington region.
In response to current economic conditions, the demand for Angel Food’s services nationwide has increased significantly and expansion of services to the people of Washington is one example of the amplified need for quality, affordable food, which is the core of Angel Food’s mission. Angel Food provides individuals and families with fresh, brand name food for a fraction of the retail price. By purchasing food in bulk, directly from some of the top suppliers in the country, food is discounted by up to 50 percent of retail. A standard medium-sized box of food may be purchased for $30, and contains top quality food staples from every food group, including chicken or beef, milk, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Each of the regular boxes of food feeds a family of four for about one week or a single individual for almost a month. The menu selections vary each month, and consist of both fresh and frozen items, saving Americans money with no sacrifice to quality. There is even a box geared towards the nutritional needs of senior citizens.
“Angel Food is going to be a big blessing to me. I am a senior, living on social security, and I am disabled. I don’t have much money and it is difficult for me to get to the grocery store,” said Cora Johnson, a Washington native. “With Angel Food I will be able to get pre-packaged meals so all I have to do is heat them up, and the price is amazing!”
The first distribution in Sumner, Washington will take place on October 24th, 2009 at Calvary Community Church, 15116 Gary Street, Sumner, WA 98390. Food distribution will take place between 9:00am – 12:00pm.
Cavalry Community Church welcomes more than 1800 families through their doors every Sunday. “We feel humbled and blessed to be the first Angel Food host site for the State of Washington. What an amazing opportunity in this economy to be able to help people with their food budgets by offering Angel Food right here in our region”, said Kathy Saunders, Director of Benevolence: Calvary Community Church. Angel Food Ministries’ services are for everyone, regardless of economic circumstances. There are no limits to the quantity of boxes per individual, nor are there any applications or qualifications for eligibility.
Anyone who wishes to make use of Angel Food’s services can call 1-888-819-3745 or visit www.angelfoodministries.com to find the nearest host site.
About Angel Food Ministries
Angel Food Ministries (www.angelfoodministries.com) is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing financial support in the form of food relief to communities throughout the United States. Established in 1994 to provide relief for struggling families in the Monroe, GA area, Angel Food Ministries today serves hundreds of thousands of families across 44 states, recently welcoming Alaska to the roster where Angel Food’s benefits can be realized. Since inception, Angel Food Ministries has fed more than 22 million Americans. In 2008, AFM provided $120 million in direct food assistance to American families.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
By Chyna Broadnax | Statesville R&L
Published: August 24, 2009
In today’s economy, consumers are looking for deals in order to save every penny.
Monthly grocery bills can be costly, but some local churches are easing the financial pain for some families.
For $30 a month, Angel Food Ministries can provide a family of four with a week’s worth of groceries or a single person a month of food, according to Barbara Bunton, pastor of True Vine Tabernacle, the first local church to offer Angel Food Ministries program.
“It’s for anybody, no matter what their financial situation may be,” she said.
Angel Food Ministries offers a box of food at a discount price with each month’s menu varying.
A unit of food consists of fresh vegetables, desserts and meats. It is valued at $65.
“It’s name-brand, first-quality food,” Bunton said.
Orders are taken the first two weeks of the month and the food boxes can be picked up by customers at their desired location on a designated date.
Convenience meals are also available for seniors and frozen and dry-mix allergen food boxes are another option for customers.
The program, which began 15 years ago in Georgia, started in Iredell County seven years ago at True Vine Tabernacle in Statesville, according to Bunton.
The church serves as the distribution point, where participating churches pick up the food to be handed out at their respective locations.
The program has gained popularity among other churches and organizations.
Angel Food Ministries has spread to six other locations in Iredell County, including Front Street Baptist Church, Presbyterian Church of the Springs, YMCA of Iredell County, Faith Baptist Church, Bethel UMC, and Monticello UMC.
Pam Hellman, the host site manager for the YMCA of Iredell County’s Angel Food distribution program, said she has seen a steady stream of people since starting the program at the site nearly two years ago.
She said purchasing the boxes “really stretches” your budget.
“It frees up money for them to use for other things,” she said.
Bunton said she would like to see more people using Angel Food Ministries.
“Times are so rough and don’t seem to be getting any better,” she said. “It’s a good financial move for people.
By KYLE MARTIN
Published: August 19, 2009
BROOKSVILLE – When Angel Food Ministries premiered in Brooksville last July, the organization provided about 660 people with food.
Word spread quickly.
By the next month, the semi-trailer truck hauling the August shipment was filled to capacity with 1,400 units.
Angel Food Ministries is a nonprofit national organization that provides top-shelf food at bargain prices. A chapter was opened locally at Christ Lutheran Church on North Avenue by the Rev. Paul Meseke and his wife, Linda.
The couple used the program at their last ministry in Pennsylvania and wanted to repeat the benefits locally.
“We always want to help,” Linda Meseke said Wednesday.
Misinformation, however, is overshadowing the program, so the couple contacted Hernando Today to set the record straight on a few issues.
At the top of the list: There are no income restrictions to purchase the food. The church accepts food stamps, but also debit and credit cards, along with cash. Old, young, rich and poor alike are invited to take advantage of Angel Food Ministries.
The program works like this. Customers can order either at the church or online at angelfoodministries.com. One unit of food costs $30 and is generally enough to last a family of four for a week or a senior citizen for a month. It’s the equivalent of about $70 to $80 worth of food at a grocery retailer.
Items, both fresh and frozen, are grocery-store quality; customers will not find day-old bread or mysterious dented cans without labels.
The church does not make a profit. They receive $1 for every unit sold, which they return to their church’s benevolent fund or to local nonprofits, such as Jericho Road Ministries, the Dawn Center or the Helping Hands Food Pantry.
On pick-up day, generally the fourth Saturday of the month, the doors open at 9 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church. The First Lutheran Church in Ridge Manor is a satellite operation and members pick up orders for a similar distribution process.
If a customer doesn’t arrive to pick up their order, it’s donated to a local food bank.
The discounted food has been a blessing in this economy and several families have mentioned they couldn’t make it to the end of the month without the help, Linda Meseke said.
Meseke isn’t sure why more people don’t take advantage of the program, but believes misinformation and a “too good to be true” mentality might play role.
“We know it’s a benefit to the community,” she said.
For more information, visit clcfla.org or call Christ Lutheran Church at 799-3452. To view the menu for August, go to http://clcfla.org/Angel%20Food/Aug09%20Menu.pdf.
Reporter Kyle Martin can be reached at 352-544-5271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: August 25, 2009
Prices for beef, milk, eggs and some other grocery items have been dropping for several months, providing relief for consumers who suffered through the steep increases of a year ago. But prices are likely to start edging upward again as the economy recovers, according to a new federal report and economic analysts.
“The impact from lower energy prices on grocery store prices has largely been played out, and so we’re now looking at grocery store prices to rise modestly through the end of the year,” said Mark Vitner, a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo.
The government report, by the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture, said that grocery prices decreased 0.5 percent in July, compared with June. Compared with July 2008, when overall food costs were surging, grocery prices in July were down 0.9 percent.
In several food categories, prices dropped sharply. Beef fell 2.3 percent in July, compared with June, the eighth decrease in the last nine months, according to the report. Egg prices were down 2.7 percent from June to July and were 21.3 percent below their level in July a year ago. Milk prices declined 0.4 percent in the month, the 10th decline in the last 11 months, and were 18.4 percent below July 2008.
The national average price for a gallon of fresh whole milk in July was $2.99, compared with $3.96 in the same month a year earlier, a 25 percent drop, according to federal data.
Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables were also down markedly compared with their levels a year ago.
In contrast, some food prices rose compared with last year, including breakfast cereals, sugar and carbonated drinks.
Over all, the Agriculture Department forecast that prices for what it calls “food at home,” a category that includes purchases at grocery stores, convenience stores and farmers’ markets, will rise 2 to 3 percent this year. Last year, the department said, prices for food at home rose 6.4 percent, the highest jump in nearly two decades.
“We do expect some price increases with the recovering economy,” said Ephraim Leibtag, a senior economist at the Agriculture Department. “Our numbers here imply there has to be some additional inflation in the next six months to get out of the negatives we’re in right now.”
Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a consulting firm that specializes in analysis of food commodity costs, said that even with only a modest gain this year, food inflation was expected to outpace the overall rise in the Consumer Price Index, which he said could be close to zero for the year.
Mr. Lapp said that one reason food prices would continue to rise was that commodities like corn continued to trade above historical averages, even though they had come down from the unusually high levels they reached last year.
And some of the food categories that have recorded price declines, like beef, pork, poultry and dairy products, will begin to go back up as farmers cull herds and flocks, causing supplies of those products to decline.
“I think that the food inflation wake-up call won’t begin, in large measure, until late this year and in 2010,” Mr. Lapp said. He said, however, that there were already signs of rising prices for chicken and milk.
Faith Weiner, senior director of public affairs for Stop & Shop, the supermarket chain, said that shoppers had been snapping up large packages of meat or poultry when they were on sale.
“We think folks are stocking up,” Ms. Weiner said. “You might have a special on chicken breasts, a Big Buy packet at a reduced price. People are buying more than they normally would and freezing them because it’s a good value.”
The newspaper headlines send shivers down the backs of everyday Americans hoping for a break from this wicked economy. Not bad enough that unemployment is still high, that home prices are rising, and that good people still cannot break out of their slumps and meet the challenges for themselves and their families living basic lives. The New York Times ran an article last week by William Neuman, “Food Prices Likely to Start Ticking Up“, where economists and United States Department of Agriculture statisticians in unison claim that inflation and conditions will certainly drive food back up again, that ranchers, having culled their herds to meet the previously declining demand will now raise fees to accommodate the need, and that groceries will now trend back upward with prices.
This comes without any real headway in the homes and wallets of Middle Americans, who had been plagued with job loss, unmanageable debt and even the loss of homes. The same day the paper ran the article on food, it ran another one on the Obama Administration’s dire recognition – or admission – that the national deficit will in-fact, be $2 trillion more than they were presuming while politicking, “Estimate for 10-Year Deficit Raised to $9 Trillion.” Whether one voted for Obama or McCain matters less right now than the sheer fact that Americans are facing more difficult times to come. At the heart of the woes will be food and need; when people are hungry, it is hard to concentrate on everything else. Faith, family and sometimes ethics can be cast aside by otherwise enlightened masses foraging for morsels to feed their children and themselves. When it comes down to it, one can only wonder where the help lies and what can be done.
In a perfect world, easy answers would come in the form of collective will, building toward a solution. Instead, food companies, grocery stores and distributors seem more interested in relying on basic human need to push the margins of their ledger books. It is not inherently bad, as the economy moves when money is spent, manufacturing is brisk and people are at work. Yet, it is easier to acquiesce to the trends when it is an automobile or an iPod that is being built; Items that fill a void or want, not a necessity of need. Food ought to be treated different than that, at least basic sustenance. In the book of the 8th-century BC Judean prophet Isaiah we are told that if we offer ourselves on “behalf of the hungry and answer the needs of the oppressed, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will become bright as day.” Is there no more noble calling then making certain those who need food are fed, and in doing so, playing a role in repairing the world?
The solution is clear and very real, as we have people and organizations committed to doing just that; feeding those searching for the hand up. On the porch steps of a simple house in Monroe, Georgia some 15 years ago, a simple pastor presumed large, and believed that if people in his small mill town where opportunity was scarce and hope was in even shorter supply, were fed, they could rise above the economic and social adversities and rebuild faithfully and proud. Pastor Joseph Wingo fed 34 families by buying food in bulk, coupon shopping and seeking the close-out deals, and tried to give it away; yet, he was bewildered when no one came that first day. He talks of pride by saying that there is good pride and bad, the good being the reason we shower and groom ourselves, and the bad being too proud to take a hand up when offered.
Wingo tallied up his cost on the food and placed a nominal charge on the packages he assembled to make it affordable. He sold the 34 boxes and the people returned for more. The coop that now operates in 44 states and in over 5000 communities, Angel Food Ministries, was born. Wingo even had money left over to donate back to the churches that helped bring people to his porch. Offering proteins and nutrition for a price people could afford and returning what has amounted to $25 million over 15 years so far, has proven to be the system that works in any economy, and one that is needed in a fragile economy.
This coop concept takes nothing from anyone, offers a useful benefit and returns benevolence into thousands of communities, and it generates income enough to employ about 300 people. It would seem that there is a partial solution for people to manage through these times. Food prices do not need to rise, nor does the rising deficit mean that people cannot access the basics. When we read the news tomorrow, maybe a model as this one could lead the headlines.