Local News

Ministry helps cut food costs

Posted January 28, 2009 6:34 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— What if someone told you that every month, they buy fresh groceries at half price? And what if there were no rules to qualify, no applications to fill out and no obligations? You might ask, what's the catch?

Nonetheless, several Triangle churches are indeed offering such a service.

"As soon as I started talking about it, everybody just got so excited and said we have to do this here in Raleigh,” said Holly Baldwin,  director of New Hope Baptist Church Angel Food program.

Angel Food Ministries is a nationwide discount grocery program that began on the back porch of Georgia pastors Joe and Linda Wingo in 1994.

At least seven Triangle churches take part in the program. Saint Andrews United Methodist Church, 1201 Maxwell Drive, in Garner, distributed food last weekend, and New Hope Baptist Church, 4301 Louisburg Road, in Raleigh, started their program in April.

"In our first month, we served 40 plus families and now our last couple of months, we're 300 plus families that we're serving,” Jerry Layton, assistant pastor of New Hope Baptist Church.

You can buy 21 pounds of fresh, name-brand foods for about half the grocery-store price. See what is on the menu for February at Angel Food Ministries

The cost is $30 for the basic 21-pound box that contains $60 worth of groceries. However, there are also some specials available after the purchase of a regular box, such as 1.5 pounds of bacon-wrapped beef patties, 1.5 pounds of rib-eye steaks, 2 pounds of thick-cut pork chops and 1 pound of Italian sausage with mozzarella cheese for $22.

The nonprofit is able to pass on the savings by buying in bulk and having church volunteers do the distributing.

"My husband and I purchase the boxes every month. We're not what I would consider needy, but it's a great opportunity to spend your money wisely,” said Allison King, publicist for the New Hope Baptist Church Angel Food program.

There are no income qualifications, and the program is open to everyone.

There is "no application. You just place your order, and a week later you come back and pick up your food,” Baldwin said.

You can even order online.

With times economic tough, the bargain-grocery program is growing.

"We're trying (to grow larger). We would love that! We don't have to prepare for that, the good Lord will take care of that,” King said.

You do need to pre-order food either online or during specific times at area churches. You can pay with cash, credit or even a food stamp card.