OCEAN PINES – Although Angel Food Ministries has been round for more than 15 years, the reduced-price food program made its way into the Community Church at Ocean Pines almost by accident a little more than two years ago. Since then it has grown to become a significant force against food hardship in the area.
Louise and Phil Lassiter discovered the program when they were vacationing in Cumberland and decided to visit the small church across the street from their hotel before heading home.
Inside they found volunteers helping people place their Angel Food orders and became intrigued about the program. Their fellow congregants bought into it wholeheartedly upon hearing how it worked and, although it took a little while to organize, have supported it ever since.
Angel Food Ministries is a program through which participants can order pre-packaged meals, or sets of pre-packaged meals as vastly reduced prices. Choosing from a menu provided monthly, people place their orders either on-line or in person and pick it up at the Community Church of Ocean Pines on a pre-arranged date.
For their part, the more than 40 volunteers arrange to meet the food truck at a central location in Fruitland where they help to unload the semi and to divvy up the orders between the various participating church groups on the Lower Eastern Shore.
One of the most popular boxes, their “Bread of Life” Signature Box includes enough food to feed a family of four nutritiously for about a week. It has four different meat selections plus plenty of frozen vegetables, starchy sides, eggs and milk. It’s one of the least expensive, smallest boxes but others, such as the $28 Fast and Flavorful Cuisine box are popular because rather than food that requires preparation, it includes 10 pre-packaged dinners.
Louise said many of these boxes are popular with seniors as well, since they are able to stretch the food out over the course of several weeks or prepare them without much effort. Since they also accept food stamps, Angel Food Ministries is often able to help people on tight budgets make their food dollars count all the more.
Valerie Taylor, of Berlin, takes advantage of both the price and the connivance buying boxes bi-monthly for her elderly mother, Ruth Thompson, and bringing them to her in Chestertown. Taylor said it’s a way to make sure her mother is getting quality food.
Making purchases for others is actually a pretty common occurrence at the Community Church of Ocean Pines’ Angel Food Ministries Program. Louise said many of the congregants, and even a number of non-congregants place orders to be donated to the church’s food bank, Sarah’s Pantry, or to members of the community they feel they’d like to donate to.
In the cases of specific donations, Louise said they’ll call the person who’s received the donation and tell them to come pick up their box.
As times get harder, Louise said she expects more people to begin to take advantage of the program and stressed that participating is more an indication of frugality as anything else.
As Christmas approaches Angel Food Ministries has begun taking orders for their special Christmas Box. The $36 package includes a roasting hen, a ham, corn, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, green beans, gravy, rolls and dessert.
For more information about Angel Food Ministries or to sign up call 410-430-0284 or visit www.angelfoodministries.com.