Ministry provides low-cost, high-quality groceries to all

By KYLE MARTIN

Hernando Today

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 kmartin@hernandotoday.com.

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