Angel Food Ministries expands in Demopolis

Published 7:46 pm Friday, June 5, 2009

For four years, New Life Church on Sam Street in Demopolis has been a site for people to take advantage of a reduced-cost food service organization called Angel Food Ministries.

Starting this month, Church Aflame is joining New Life as a center to take food orders and distribute food provided by the non-profit organization.

Angel Food Ministries is a non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief to communities throughout the United States. The program began in Monroe, Ga., in 1994 and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families in 35 states.

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“It’s a food cooperative, would be the best way to describe it,” said New Life coordinator Carol Branch. “It pools its resources and buys in bulk and we get a better price, and we distribute that price.

“What made me start looking for something like this in the first place was what I call ‘C-class people’ like me. I made too much money to be on some kind of government assistance program, but I didn’t make enough money to buy the kind of food I wanted to feed my family. So, I started looking for something that could help us. I found it, and it’s for anybody. It takes food stamps, and anybody is qualified, whether you have no money or you make a million dollars a minute. The more we have, the better price we get.”

Angel Food provides food packages at varying costs. Patrons must purchase at least one package from one of the four signature menus before purchasing other items, but all food packages cost less than retail value. Packages that cost $30 from Angel Food can cost from $42 to $78 off the shelf. Food packages are designed to provide balanced nutrition and to feed a family of four for a week.

The main signature box for the month of June — which costs $30 — consists of four 6-ounce ribeye steaks, a 2-pound lasagna entrée, eight 4-ounce beef and bean burritos, two pounds of boneless chicken breast chunks, a 28-ounce jumbo beef patty entrée with gravy, one pound of lean ground beef, one pound of all-meat hot dog, 16 slices of individually-wrapped cheese, 20 ounces of shoestring French fries, one pound of broccoli cuts, 12 ounces of peanut butter, one pound of rice, 1 pound of pinto beans, a 1-pound margarine, 32 ounces of 2-percent stable milk, a dozen eggs and a dessert. Other packages are also available, including a seafood box, a senior meal package and an allergen-free food box.

Each month, orders are collected by distribution sites by a certain date and turned in to the Angel Food office in Georgia. Several days later, within the same month, the food is delivered to the host site and distributed to the patrons who participated. The process is month-to-month, with a wide variety of different menus each month.

“I have personally purchased four of these before I went into it,” said Church Aflame pastor Mickey Green. “The stable milk is a sealed container of milk that doesn’t even need to be refrigerated, and it’ll keep for a year — and it’s delicious.”

“It’s USDA-inspected food,” Branch said. “It’s the best quality you can get anywhere around here.”

“Say there is a divorced mom, and she’s got so much, and now, even tighter,” Green said. “She can come in here and spend $50 and be in good shape for two or three weeks, which will give her a little breathing space.”

Branch said there was a mill in Linden who would buy food for some of its employees’ families.

“The church gets a dollar stipend for every person who takes part in the program, for the purpose of putting back into the program” she said. “Other people donate money to the program, too. We put that benevolence program back into the food program to help feed others.

“Focus on the Family calls us, the Department for Human Resources calls us as a back up. People who are going to be on food stamps and they know it’s going to be two weeks before they get them, we bring them two weeks’ worth of food.”

The churches take orders on a monthly basis. The deadline to order for this month is Monday, June 15. The food pickup day this month is on Saturday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more information about Angel Food Ministries, contact Carol Branch at New Life Church at 289-4774 or Mickey Green at Church Aflame at 289-5809.