2010-02-11 / Local & State

Boxes Filled With “Bargains And Blessings’’

Local churches taking strides to improve Angel Food Ministries program
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Nearly two years ago, members of the Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church teamed up with the nonprofit organization Angel Food Ministries to help provide not only food relief but in turn financial savings to local residents.

At the time, the Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church was aided by congregation members from the Buck Valley Christian and Hancock United Methodist churches in their mission to jointly distribute the boxes of “bargains and blessings” from the church’s Faith Center. Numerous changes have since been implemented at the local level as well as with program policy, according to Presbyterian Church program top officials Sonny Weicht and Christine Carnahan, thereby enabling the program to grow and become more efficient.

Carnahan stated an estimated 200 families were serviced locally through Angel Food Ministries and the Faith Center when the nondenominational program first reached Fulton County. Those numbers have decreased slightly over the last two years, but Carnahan remains upbeat that participation figures will once again be on the rise.

“I think with the changes happening with Angel Food such as making it more convenient for families and letting the community know we are still here to serve and help them in any way, we will see our numbers increase,” said Carnahan.

Among the notable changes mentioned by Carnahan is the establishment of an official “drop site” at the Faith Center. The new designation allows food to be directly transported to the Faith Center via tractor trailer on a monthly basis in comparison to church members travelling to Frederick, Md., with a pickup truck and trailer. In addition, three additional churches in the area currently utilize the Faith Center every month to pick up their food before taking their orders to their own facility to distribute.

“The efficiency of our ministry has greatly improved due to these changes especially with Warfordsburg becoming a drop site. The truck is normally here for us to sort by 4 a.m. on distribution morning and therefore there is no wait like there was when we originally began,” Carnahan added.

Angel Food’s policies have also undergone a slight change in that initially participants were required to purchase a box of food for $30 (retail value $60) before being able to capitalize on specials ranging from steak, chicken and pork selections. The quality of food, the Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church officials stated, has also improved “dramatically.”

A sample menu or bargain box of food could include 4- pound IQF leg quarters, 4- ounce beef back ribs, 1-pound 80/20 lean ground beef, 2- pound breaded chicken tenders, 1.5-pound bone-in pork chops, 1-pound ground turkey, 18-ounce stuffed cheese manicotti, 12-ounce smoked sausage, Betty Crocker seasoned potatoes, 7-ounce cheeseburger dinner, 16-ounce green beans, 16-ounce baby carrots, 2-pound onions, 1- pound pinto beans, 1-pound rice, 7-ounce blueberry muffin mix, 10-count homestyle waffles and a dessert item.

Furthermore, possibly the most significant change is the addition of an online ordering system, limiting travel for participants to food pickup. Credit cards and food stamps are accepted, and gift cards can also be purchased online.

“The biggest benefit is that you are getting quality food for a low price as well as the convenience of being able to do your order online without even leaving your house,” Carnahan related. Residents interested in ordering online can go to www.angel-foodministries.com. There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions or applications.

Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church will be taking orders on Saturday, February 13, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Faith Center, while the Buck Valley Christian Church is scheduled to take orders on Sunday, February 14, between 11:45 a.m. and noon at the church. The Fulton County Catholic Mission also takes orders on a monthly basis. Only cash, money or food stamps are accepted on site.

Carnahan concluded, “If you eat, you qualify! Anyone can purchase either for themselves or for someone they know who is struggling and just needs some extra help.”

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