Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Angels in Our Midst

Last month, as I watched our local evening news one night, a story came on which peaked my interest. The reporter talked about a church here in Chapel Hill that offers a food program once a month through the Angel Food Ministries, a nation-wide institution. Open to anyone, it's an opportunity to shop for food at a considerable savings. (With Marble Man's grant funding up in the air, I'm doing everything I can to squeeze every dollar 'til it cries.)

Each month, the AFM website publishes a preset "menu" of items available in each style of box. We decided to try the "regular box" and we sent in our money. We traveled to the church on the prescribed day to pick up our order, empty laundry basket in hand. And let me tell you there was a LOT of food that landed in that basket!


When I arrived with my empty basket, I joined the line to sign in. As I waited patiently, a lovely man named Phil walked over to me and declared, "he would keep me company, since I was all alone".

He turned out to be a useful Line Buddy, as the basket got mighty heavy.

His final act of kindness was to carry the basket to the car for me.


The church was filled with volunteers who handed the food out, item by item, as I walked down the line.

At the end of the line, a team of folks emptied the basket out again to check that I'd gotten all that I'd ordered.

It was fast, friendly, and convenient. And the savings were huge. I bought the $30 box. I estimate that if I'd bought the equivalent amount of groceries at the supermarket, I'd have spent about $75.

(Pooch thinking, "mmm, sandwich cookies would hit the spot!")
There were some things in the box I wouldn't have normally bought, like the white shoestring potatoes, and the 80/20% ground beef. But I figure that I'll oven bake the fries, and rinse the beef after sauteing in order to get most of the fat out, and it'll work out OK. And there are LOTS of box plans to choose from! So, next month, I might try the seafood box, which has 2 pounds of shrimp and 2 pounds of whiting for $35. There is also a Senior plan with fully cooked meals - just heat and eat.

According to the initial news story, the church started this program to help out needy families, but with the state of the economy, they opened it up to the community at large. I can tell you I will be participating until they change that rule again. So, why don't you check it out and see if anyone in your area is offering this service?


somepinkflowers said...

how very cool!


reminds me
of my Food Coop days
in college
i learned to eat rutabaga.

{{ did i spell that right? }}

Gabriela said...

Hello Kate,

This is a great program!

~ Gabriela ~

Enzie at World Market Portraits said...

What a wonderful program. I was at a Mexican restaurant last night where they had a recession menu. Every day of the week an item on the menu was being offered for a ridiculous cheap price. My son said, this was cheaper than going to Taco Bell!

I think this gesture not only helps the restaurant owner keep his business going but will also get him a lot of very appreciative clients.

Jewllori by Lori said...

What a neat program, though nothing like that here! How cool though:)

I tagged ya!

lori vliegen said...

i've heard of this program before...it's really fantastic! and what a huge effort made by all of the volunteers, and people like you who are supporting them! plus, it looks like pooch was happy to see what you brought home in that basket! cookies, indeed!! :)

Anonymous said...

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse started many decades ago... right after they opened, the power failed! This was a double'bad crush because they had not included meat in their initial bank loan... But instead of letting all that beef go bad, they cooked it all up & donated it all to the local food coop where they made hungry strangers into customers. People don't forget that, and it sparked their restaurant above many other neighboring chophouses and started a franchise on it's way.

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Wow, what a great concept! I love the photos, such nice, open, kind faces. Your line buddy looks like he could be one of my friend's long-lost brother! ; )

Good luck to Marble Man on his grant application....

rochambeau said...

Hi Kate,
It's wonderful that the church in Chapel Hill doing this. That is love in action!!
Like the photos of your Marble Man and Pooch on your side bar.

Thinking good thoughts for the grant money to come through!!