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Ministry provides help in tough times

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Putting food on the table is one thing no family should have to worry about, even in the most difficult times.

That’s one reason Angel Food Ministries has been popular for many families in Brunswick County since the Brunswick Baptist Association signed on as a host site for the nonprofit agency two years ago.

According to BBA missions director Jeff Gibby, the association’s relationship with Angel Food started after he read an advertisement for the Georgia-based nonprofit and heard about the program from local church members who had participated in the ministry in other areas.

Two years later, 12 Baptist churches have signed on to participate, with volunteers taking orders, picking up food and distributing it to church and community members who sign up for monthly menus.

Each month, Angel Food sends out a menu of that month’s food, which assists with feeding a family of four for about a week or a senior citizen for about a month. Each box weighs about 21 pounds and has fresh and frozen items.

According to information from the Angel Food headquarters, the food items are of high quality—not “seconds” or “day-old” type products.

The week after orders are placed, Angel Food Ministries representatives load the trucks, which are scheduled to arrive at the host sites on “distribution Saturday.”

In Brunswick County, the truck arrives at Faith Baptist Church in Bolivia, where volunteers from participating churches pick up food and take it to the churches for pickup the next day.

“We have seen people on the margins talk about how they’re now able to make it,” Gibby said.

Local church member Diane Hewett reported several positive comments from program participants, including one from a young single mother of two who says she’s now able to afford other things her children need.

An adult couple told Hewett that, by purchasing Angel Food, they can now afford to buy all the medicine they need.

Gibby says Angel Food is a way to provide for people trying to make ends meet and an opportunity for churches to get involved in mission work here at home. He said between 50 and 75 people volunteer every month to unload the truck, and more participate in distributions at their individual churches.

The Rev. Joseph and Linda Wingo started Angel Food Ministries at Emmanuel Praise Church, a nondenominational church in Monroe, Ga.

According to the Angel Food Web site, in 1994 the Wingos came in contact with many Monroe families who were affected by recent industrial plant closings, and their hearts went out to them.

On their back porch, the first Angel Food distribution fed 34 families. Over the next years, other churches wanted to get involved, and Angel Food began feeding hundreds of families across the Southeast. Now, the ministry provides food for more than 500,000 families a month in 35 states.

Gibby said the ministry is a natural fit for BBA.

“Our churches need to be supportive of food banks,” he said. “We want to be open to working with more of the community organizations. I encourage our churches to be involved in those things in the community that help others.”

Gibby said any church, regardless of denomination, is welcome to participate in the local Angel Food effort, and individual volunteers are also invited.

To participate or for more information, call Gibby at 754-7979.