Two area churches are excited about sharing their newest outreach to the community as host sites for Angel Food Ministries.
Once a month, a refrigerated truck drops off meat, fruits, vegetables and food staples to New Life Fellowship Church in Moline. Volunteers divide the food for distribution there and at Broadway Presbyterian Church in Rock Island. The food is available for purchase by anyone at $25 for the basic unit.
“We’re pretty excited about the program. It’s neat to be pioneering this in the Quad-Cities,” said the Rev. David Thompson, associate pastor at New Life.
He learned about the ministry while visiting a tiny church in Texas. That church of 25 people helps 100 people in their community, he said.
The New Life congregation warmly endorsed the idea. The outreach complements a vision set by the Rev. Rick McGough, senior pastor, to reach and build people, Thompson said.
He attended a training session in March and learned how to get volunteers organized for a smooth-flowing operation. The church handed out 111 units of food during their first distribution in April and 300 in May, he said. They hope to see those numbers rise and help more people in the community.
Angel Food Ministries is based in Monroe, Ga., where the founders helped 34 families in February 1994. It is a nonprofit, non-denominational organization that works with producers and vendors, such as Tyson Foods, to procure restaurant-grade meats and mostly name-brand products. These are distributed through host churches and community organizations in 32 states.
The food units vary from month to month, Thompson said. The June menu features chicken, pork spare ribs, chicken pot pie, soup, corn, pasta, eggs, pancake mix and more items for $25. People also can purchase a grill box with chicken breasts, sirloin strip steaks and hamburger for an additional $18 or a pizza box for $10.
Broadway hosted its first Angel Food handout in May. The fresh food is a nice addition to what a family or person might receive from a food pantry, said Deb McMaster, a part-time secretary at Broadway.
“We are new kids on the block and are very impressed with the program. It’s a way of helping people extend their food budget. Sometimes even middle class or people with upper incomes have a crisis and this is a way to help them,” she said.
The meats are individually wrapped, and that makes it easier for people who live by themselves, she said. She said one woman is using the food to help feed neighborhood children who like hanging out at her house.
“We’ve had retirees come in and say, ‘Well, I’m single and my buddy is single so we’ll split a box,’ ” McMaster said.
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People on both sides of the Mississippi River are eligible, and they can pay for their food with cash, money orders or Link Illinois food stamps. Both churches are looking into the possibility of being able to accept Iowa food stamps in the future.
“I feel very positive about being able to provide food to people for an affordable price regardless of their income level,” says Dave Swartout, a New Life church member. “So many middle-class families are struggling.”
To sign up, call Broadway Presbyterian, 710 23rd St., Rock Island at (309) 786-2631 or New Life, 2345 19th St, Moline, at (309) 762-7314. Orders will be accepted until noon June 12. People must pay for their orders when signing up. The distribution date is June 24, and people need to bring a large box with them to pick up the food.
For more information about Angel Food, go to: http://www.angelfoodministries.com">www.angelfoodministries.com.
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