Article In Columbus Messenger

Nationwide food program helps everyone

(by Kim Lunsford, Staff Writer – February 03, 2011)

Local churches are offering a program for residents who are struggling to make ends meet or looking for ways to cut their budgets.

Angel Food Ministries, a non-profit, non-denominational organization, is working with central Ohio churches to provide food relief and financial support by offering boxes of food at a discounted rate.

“Everybody is having difficulty making ends meet,” said Pastor Kenneth Keene of Trinity Assembly of God in Southwest Columbus. “We wanted to do something positive for the Southwest side here.”

The Angel Food Ministries program began in 1994 when Pastors Joe and Linda Wingo wanted to help local families in their town of Monroe, Ga., that were affected by plant closings. It has now grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 45 states.

There are no eligibility requirements to use the program. With no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions or applications, participants are able to purchase approximately $60 worth of quality groceries for $30. Each month’s menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items.

One unit of food generally 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 quality that can be purchased at a grocery store. The food must be paid for prior to its delivery, and those with debit cards can order via the website at http://www.angelfoodministries.com.

Trinity is one of many churches in the Central Ohio area that host the program in the area.

“It’s a blessing for us and an opportunity for our folks in the church to give back,” Keene said. “This is not a hand out. It’s a help up.”

Aaron Williams, a Grove City resident, says the process is convenient for anyone to use.

“It’s pretty easy,” he said. “It fills our food needs for the entire month and we can do it all online.”

While some low-income families use the program, many participants are middle class families that are taking advantage of the program to get a better grasp on their grocery budgets.

Host site director Scott Hartman of Faith United Methodist Church in Canal Winchester said as a new ministry, this is an opportunity for members of the church to get actively involved and committed.

“What a wonderful thing this opportunity is to actually help other people,” he said. “With food bills going up right now, this is an awesome thing to help people cut down their food bill.”

Dick Horn, host site director for Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church, said the food is of good quality.

“This is reasonable, good quality food provided to anyone who wants it,” he said. “We are helping people with a real need.”

Freedom Washington of Reynoldsburg uses the program regularly.

“It is really truly a good program,” Washington said. “As a single mom with two kids who was on welfare for awhile, I wanted to take care of myself. This is something that helps me do that. It builds a healthier sense of self-esteem knowing God will provide and everything will be alright.”

Grove City Church of the Nazarene assists others in the community who need the food delivered to them at times.

“The program benefits not only those having a hard time making ends meet, but also those who cannot get out,” host site director Kevin Griffin said. “We try to help those who are unable to get to the distribution pick up, and when we find that we have extra units, we pay it forward and ask God’s blessing on someone else by providing for other families in need within the community.”

Orders and distribution are handled by church host sites. During the first part of the month, host sites collect orders that are turned into the office on a predetermined date.
Several days later, in the same month, the food is delivered to a host site by a pre-arranged delivery mode. Distribution of the food is quick and easy, as most items are preboxed.

For more information on food that is available, go to angelfoodministries.com.

Some local sites offering the Angel Food Ministries program:
• Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church, 1636 Graham Road, Reynoldsburg. host site director Dick Horn, (614) 866-5864.
• Grove City Church of the Nazarene, 4770 Hoover Road, Grove City, host site director Kevin Griffin, (614) 875-2551 Ext. 294.
• Trinity Assembly of God Church, 1112 Demorest Road, Columbus, host site director Pastor Kenneth Keene, (614) 276-5090.
• Living Hope Free Methodist Church, 4142 Westerville Road, Columbus, host site director Pam Mesaros, (614) 471-7139.
• Faith United Methodist Church, 15 W. Columbus St., Canal Winchester, host site director Scott Hartman, (614) 837-2343.
• Harvest Christian Community Church, 5780 Reynoldsburg-Baltimore Road, Pickerington, host site director Lynnette Hines, (740) 862-4932.

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