JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It's called Angel Food Ministries and it may be one of the best kept secrets around both economically and spiritually.
Once a month at several different Region 8 churches, Angel Food Ministries delivers food to purchasers who desire or need to save money on their food bills.
The Georgia-based organization began in 1994 to help unwed mothers and others who had lost their jobs to an unraveling steel industry survive. It now serves Thousands across the country.
The program will be starting it's 6th year in Jonesboro in December. It began with 50 boxes a month and is now up to over a thousand in Region 8.
Those who volunteer say they feel what they get is more than just a great deal on groceries.
The Reverend Deborah Nissen from Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Jonesboro told me.
" For all of those you hear in the background putting things together, assembling it. It is definitely a ministry for us, a chance to share the love of Christ."
Our Saviour and First Presbyterian are the core churches in the local distribution area. Volunteers take the bulk delivery and break it down into smaller boxes.
Initially it's a way to save on groceries, a box of fresh and frozen foods, enough to feed a family of 4 for a week can cost as little as 30 dollars.
Patty Minga who has volunteered since the Jonesboro area kicked in said this is not discounted or old or stale food.
"It's brand name, it's good stuff, it's not seconds or anything. It helps them buy food at a discounted price."
Judy Gambrell has been buying food through the Ministry for about 3 years now. She told me it saves a great deal on grocery costs.
"I would save 20 - 30 dollars a month on food."
The way it works is that you can go online or to one of the host sites at a specific time and order your food. They have a variety of options for you and they do take food stamps. The basic food boxes start at 21 dollars and go as high as 41 plus sales tax. They also have specials and fresh fruits and vegetable packs available.
Normally on the third Saturday of the month the food will be delivered to the distribution site at the Presbyterian Church in Jonesboro.
The first thing they do when the truck arrives is break down the food outside so that other churches like Lake City and Cornerstone Methodist and other churches in the area can take their loads back to be distributed to their communities.
If enough boxes are sold then additional boxes called blessing boxes are provided to be distributed to the community. Also if people do not come in to claim their purchases and make no arrangements for pick up, those boxes and anything else left over is distributed to the community. Nothing is sent back to the warehouse.
Minga, "We get names from the community of people that needs food and we give them a box of food."
The more people that buy, the more blessings boxes for the community. And it's those blessings that drive the volunteers.
Nissen, "It is definitely a ministry for us. It's a chance to share the love of Christ. Just reaching out and helping them feed the community. "
The next delivery date will be on September 18. For more information or to place an order online you can click with the link on this story.