Church helps local families stretch their food dollarsLiving Waters Church in Alexandria is doing its part to help families in need by cutting down on their food expenses.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Living Waters Church in Alexandria is doing its part to help families in need by cutting down on their food expenses.
Back in October of 2009, the church became a host site for Angel Food Ministries, a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief to communities throughout the United States.
The program was established in 1994 by Pastor Joe Wingo and his wife, Linda. They began Angel Food Ministries to help local families in their town of Monroe, Georgia, who had been affected by the closing of industrial plants in the area.
Today, the ministry helps more than 500,000 families with their food dollars each month across 35 states, including Minnesota.
Living Waters Church is excited to bring the program to Alexandria.
After a presentation to the Living Waters congregation by Richard Stierlen, associate pastor, and host site director for Angel Food Ministries, about 25 to 30 people signed up as volunteers to help with the program.
Stierlen explained that each month, orders are placed to Angel Food Ministries for food orders. A menu detailing the choices of food boxes available for each month is distributed and can also be found on the Angel Food Ministries website, www.angelfoodministries.com.
The food comes in boxes, such as the “signature box,” “after school box,” “allergen-free food box,” and others.
The standard or “signature box” contains approximately 16 individual items, including beef, pork, chicken, frozen vegetables, pasta, rice, milk, eggs and dessert.
There are also specials each month.
The specialty boxes for April, for example, include a convenience meal box, which is great for senior citizens and diabetics; a five-pound allergen-free box; after school boxes; meat boxes; family meal kit boxes; a premium seafood box; and a premium fresh fruit and vegetable box.
An average box of food weighs around 21 pounds, although the weight varies. The average retail value of an Angel Food box is between $60 and $65.
There is a cost to purchase a box of food, which varies anywhere from $16 to $35 – nearly half of the retail value.
The food is shipped by semi truck to First Lutheran Church in Brainerd on each month’s distribution day. Volunteers from Living Waters travel to Brainerd to pick up the food and bring it back to Alexandria, according to Stierlen. This is usually the last Saturday of each month.
Because of Angel Foods involvement with only the producers and vendors, the products are high-quality, name-brand foods – never “seconds” or “day-old” type products. Boxes can contain both fresh and frozen items.
Anyone is eligible to purchase the food, according to Stierlen. There are no income guidelines and people may purchase as many boxes as they would like.
The deadline to order food boxes for the month of April is 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14. The distribution day is Saturday, April 24.
People who have ordered food for the month of April can pick up their orders at Living Waters Church on April 24 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Orders can be placed online at www.angelfoodministries.com or at www.mylivingwaters.org.
People can also place their orders at Living Waters Church, 1310 North Nokomis in Alexandria during the following times:
•From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 8, 9, 12 and 13.
•From 5 to 6 p.m. on April 7 and 14.
For more information about Angel Food Ministries, visit the organization’s website at www.angelfoodministries.com or call Pastor Stierlen at (320) 760-8635. Calls can also be directed to Colleen Wilts, who serves as the assistant director of the program at Living Waters. She can be reached at (320) 759-2010.
THE SIGNATURE BOX
Balanced nutrition and variety with enough food to assist in feeding a family of four for a week with Angel Food Ministries signature box (available for $30), which includes the following items:
•1.5 lbs. New York
•1.5 lbs. pork chops
•28-oz. Salisbury steak and gravy dinner entrée.
•1 lb. lean ground beef
•1.5 lbs. cooked breaded chicken breast chunks
•1 lb. smoked turkey and pork sausage
•1 lb. frozen carrots
•1 lb. corn
•1 lb. green beans
•1 lb. rice
•1 lb. pasta
•25 oz. pasta sauce
•3 lbs. potatoes
•32 oz. 2% milk
•1 dozen eggs
HISTORY OF ANGEL FOOD
In 1994, Pastors Joe and Linda Wingo found their hearts going out to many of the families living in Monroe, Georgia, who were affected by the industrial plant closings.
On their back porch, the first Angel Food distribution fed 34 families.
Over the next few years, other churches wanted to become involved, and Angel Food began feeding hundreds of families across the Southeast.
Now, Angel Food feeds more than 500,000 families a month in 35 states, including Minnesota. More than 200 employees and 45,000 volunteers help make this monthly food outreach possible.
Living Waters Church in Alexandria became a host for Angel Food Ministries in October of 2009.