I’ve been meaning to write this one since last weekend (and BBB has been nagging me to do so). With his food related post today, it seemed like a good time for this.
Since I work from home, I’m almost always on the internet during the day and part of that time (breaks) I’m often networking with others who do similar work. Besides work topics, we often talk about things like how to save money, stuff about our families, etc. Over a year ago, in a post on some forum board, there was a discussion about ways to save money. Someone said that they saved a ton in groceries by purchasing food through something called Angel Food Ministries.
It’s a nonprofit organization that buys food in bulk and provides it at a very affordable cost to families – ANY family regardless of income. I had checked in to it and at the time, there were no sites available in Minnesota. The way it works is that a church or other nonprofit site has to take ownership of coordinating the entire process and it’s a pretty big undertaking. They do get $1 for each box sold donated back to their site. Last year there were a lot of sites in the south and west US, but nothing around us.
The topic of saving money again came up last month on a forum post, particularly with the state of the economy and people’s jobs. Again, someone mentioned Angel Food, so I decided to check it out and see if anything had changed. This time there was a site around us. It was about 20 miles away, but within reasonable distance if it was something we wanted to do.
I explored the process a bit further and found out that each month they offer a regular box for $30. This box is intended to feed a family of 4 for one week. They also offer a senior box of 10 frozen dinners that are nutritionally designed to be low-fat, reasonable calories and contain a protein, and 2 fruits or vegetables per meal. Sounded like something for my mom. Then they also offer 4 or 5 special boxes that you can purchase if you buy either the regular or senior box. There were grill boxes, assorted meat ones, and a fruit/veggie box ($19). There are no limits to the amount of boxes you can buy (at least that I’ve seen). The menu for the regular box and fruit/veggie box sounded great for the price. So my mom and I decided to give it a try and BBB agreed he’d go with to pick stuff up.
The church coordinating that site required you to order by the middle of the September and you could do it online and pay by credit card or in person at the church. Then the food comes in the last Saturday of the month and must be picked up between 10am-noon. BBB and I ordered one regular box and one fruit/veggie box.
Last Saturday was the time to pick it up and there are no words to describe the incredible organization of our particular site, especially after we found out this was the first month they had offered the program. We arrived at our appointed time in the morning (set by alphabetical range of last names). They had volunteers directing people in the parking lot, people directing inside the doors, a check-in area, and then a long line where you went along tables set up and volunteers put the items for the regular box into the cardboard boxes we had brought. We were literally in and out in about 15 minutes and it was unbelievable how many people had come to pickup food.
The quality of the food so far has been very good. It’s mostly brands that we haven’t heard of (somewhat like shopping at an Aldi store), but for the $30 box we got 4 steaks, 4 chicken breasts, 1 pound of ground turkey, 4 cheese-filled brats, a 2 pound pork loin roast, a 3 pound bag of unbreaded chicken nugget pieces (dark meat), a bag of french fries, a bag of frozen green beans, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, a bag of pinto beans, bag of black beans, package of chicken rice (like Rice a Roni), box of macaroni and cheese, a dozen eggs, a box of chocolate chip cookies, and probably a couple of other things I’m forgetting. But basically a WHOLE lot of food for $30.
Then came the fruit and veggie box (which again was $19) – we got a 3 pound bag of apples, 3 pound bag of oranges, 4 pound bag of potatoes, 2 pound bag of yellow onions, 4 pears, 4 tomatoes, stalk of celery, 1 pound bag of carrots, head of cabbage, and I think one or two other things that I can’t remember now either. Again, lot of food for way under grocery store prices (at least the stores around us).
The October menu looks even more tasty and wonderful. We’re definitely in for another try.
We’d definitely encourage anyone (single or a family) to check it out. Here’s the main website – Angel Food Ministries From there you can search for a local site, review the October menu, and find out more about this incredible organization that will be helping us to definitely save money on groceries in the coming months.