Nonprofit Food Program Shuts Its Doors

By: Melaina Gasbarrino

With the recent rise in food costs Angel Food Ministries, a popular discount food program is closing its doors. Pastors Joe, Linda Wingo, and 34 families created Angel Food 17 years ago in Monroe, Georgia and are heartbroken that the non-profit company has to close its doors. Angel Food Ministries was dedicated to distributing food at a discount to families in 45 states around America. The non-profit company was able to use the network of volunteers and churches to successfully create a $1 donation back to churches for every food box sold. Families were able to purchase a box of food for $30 or $40 per week, in hopes it would last them until the following week. Now all this 'pay it forward attitude' has come to a close as Angel Food Ministries has closed its doors.

The company had a decline in sales. As noted in "Angel Food Ministries shuts down" the decline was due to the increased price of "fuel and food, along with a growing number of customers unable to pay." The cost of ensuring food was placed on peoples tables at night outweighed the economic suffering our nation is facing. Lori Schultheis, the host site director at Second Congregational Church in Marietta, Georgia, had an inkling the company would be closing soon because of the substantial drop in numbers over the last 6 months. At the start, Second Congregational distributed Angel Food orders to over 400 customers in one month, which recently dwindled down to around 65 orders. Economic times are tough, and we only hope that non-profits can muster up the funds to continue on as food prices increase.

There was cause for concern back in 2009 when the FBI raised questions about Angel Food's finances and the pay rates of the family owned non-profit. The non-profit was accused of "using the nonprofit as a moneymaking venture," which through the eyes of many was seen as absurd. Having settled the lawsuit, the company ran into financially tough times, having to lay off the 90 employees and place the company headquarters up for sale. This all, of course, led to the closing of Angel Food Ministries. Now the multiple churches and county's that participated in the Angel Food Program are hoping a new non-profit will start up once again.

With the closing of Angel Food Ministries we can only hope that other non-profits will step up to the plate.

Here are some revelations that there is still hope for helping the hungry; Share Our Strength, No Kid Hungry Campaign focuses on combating childhood hunger throughout America and Slow Food USA believes in cultivating a world of good and healthy food benefiting communities at large.

Could you live off of $30 per week for food?

Photo: ccstbp