If you eat, you are eligible.
That’s the policy of Angel Food Ministries, which opened up a drop site Saturday at Victory Christian Church on Transit Road.
Paula and Charles Dahlke of Appleton are the site directors and they are reaching into Lockport to offer the services. The former drop site was at Community Fellowship Church at Johnson Creek.
Food for the December distribution was unloaded Saturday morning at Victory Christian Church. There are 14 membership churches and some food was delivered to senior housing apartments in Niagara Falls.
According to the Georgia-based non-profit ministry, the packaged food is restaurant grade. Meats, frozen vegetables, fruits and dairy products are available in a variety of packages ranging from $16 to $41.
For children, there is an After School Box ($24) and a Just 4 me Fruit & Veggie option ($16).
The menu changes each month. Food is acquired through involvement with high-quality producers. Name brand foods are included and “seconds” or day-old products are not.
Paula, a Newfane native, is a home and kitchen designer. Charles, a Buffalo native, is a registered architect. They live on Gow Road and are partners in Life by Design of Appleton.
The questions were answered by both Paula and Charles Dahlke.
QUESTION: What are you at Victory Christian Church?
ANSWER: We are site directors for Angel Food Ministries.
Q: What do you do?
A: We coordinate with the home office of Angel Food, which is out of Atlanta. We take orders from within the community and we have partner sites in Niagara Falls and other areas. We get orders from those people and send them to our home office in Georgia and we take care of distributing the food once a month when it comes in.
Q: How do people order the food?
A: People come in and order the food. It’s just an order form. There are no requirements as far as being eligible. If you eat, you qualify.
Q: Do you have to be needy or destitute?
A: It doesn’t matter. You qualify. You can get it every month.
This is Angel Food’s thinking. No. 1, they’re not going to keep track. If someone gets it and they can afford otherwise, it’s fine. It’s quality food. They know if they put qualifiers on it, people who really need it aren’t going to get it because so many times you have to jump through so many hoops.
If the other people get it, it’s OK because the volume increases and Angel Food has more buying power and can get good food at cheaper prices. We have more (food) volume now than Super Walmart
Q: Is it a hand out?
A: The founders didn’t want it to be welfare. They didn’t want it to be a soup kitchen kind of thing. They knew people didn’t want a handout. They wanted a hand up.
Q: How do you order food?
A: People can go online and order. They can go in the church and order. They can mail in an order, or stop in Sunday morning when we’re having church. That’s why we have partner churches who take orders.
Q: Where does the food come from?
A: All over the country. Angel Food coordinates with normal food distributors. Some of the brand names you find in your supermarket, you’ll find in an Angel Food box. They also work with companies who supply restaurants.
Q: What kind of food can you order?
A: The menu changes every month. It consists of fresh and frozen items. There are special boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork.
There’s 10 meals in a box and it’s made by same company that makes the Nutri-System food. It was designed for seniors, but it’s really become a good product for someone who is single at home who just wants to throw something in the microwave.
Q: Is it a religious program?
A: It was started in 1994 by Pastor Joe and Linda Wingo in Georgia. They saw a need in community. The focus is to get good food into people’s hands at an affordable price and to give a message of hope as Jesus Christ as their savior.
Q: Is it open to the general public?
A: Sure, absolutely, that’s what it’s for.
Q: How much do customers save?
A: About 40 percent. We don’t set the prices, Angel Food sets them. They have people that all they do is negotiate purchase of food.
Q: Who volunteers?
A: This is totally volunteer and this is why food can get to the people so inexpensively. With the exemption of a handful of people who operate the offices at Angel Food, this whole distribution network, which is across 44 states throughout the country, is all operated through volunteer work.
Q: How many churches are represented locally?
A: There are 14 churches. It goes beyond Victory Christian. It’s an outreach in to the community.
Q: What’s next?
A: Our goal for 2011 is to reach into the community of Lockport. As a host site we can start communicating with other churches in the area that have their own spear of influence. The whole thing about Angel Food is that it brings different people from different denominations together for a common cause, a common goal.
Contact reporter Bill Wolcott at 439-9222, ext. 6246.
Ordering Angel Food
• WEBSITE: Angelfoodministries.com
• PHONE: Victory Christian 625-9300
• MAIL: Victory Christian Church; Attn: Angel Food; 6886 S. Transit Road, Lockport, NY 14094.
• IN PERSON: Offices open 9 a.m. to noon.
• PAYMENT: With order, in advance.
• FOOD STAMPS: Make an appointment.