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Saving Money on Food w/ Angel Food Ministries

August 23rd, 2008 at 07:46 pm

I don't know if you've heard of Angel Food Ministries before, but basically it's a nationwide co-op that orders a set menu once a month (the menu varies each month though). The order retails for an average of $65, but you get it for $30. There are no qualifications or applications, anyone can order. You can order as much as or as little as you want each month or even every few months, there isn't any commitment or membership to join. It was actually started as a way to help people get a "hand up" during financially stressful times, but anyone can use it and according to the article below, even doctors and lawyers are.

I tried it for the first time in June and figured that whatever I don't use right away will just go into my food storage and so it will help that slowly build too. Anyway, I won't go into it all since all the info is on their website (www.angelfoodministries.com), but I thought others might be interested since we all seem to like finding good deals.

Here's the link to the article: http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2008/052008/05312008/3837...

Oh, in my food storage research I also came upon this site that actually will give you menus with recipes based on the Angel Food Network's food distribution for the month(http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/angelfood/).

Here's a review that I sent to some friends after my first month:

Going in and paying for the food was easy, just take a money order or cash. I got a receipt and took that with me when I picked it up a few weeks later. I had about an hour window in which to pick it up and went with a friend who had also ordered for the first time. Everything was already organized into orders and all the frozen/refrigerated items were put together in a trash bag. We got our orders loaded in our car in a matter of about 5 minutes of arriving, all we had to do was give them our receipt.

All of us have been pleased with the food we got. My son, husband and I ate the pizza that same day and hamburger patties that night. We liked everything. We had run out of milk so I used the shelf stable milk that came with the order (it's not powdered milk as I'd guess, but fresh liquid milk in a carton and it didn't expire until March 2009 - yeah for food storage!). I have mixed it with reconsituted powdered milk and put it in the frig. No one had noticed a difference yet and I think it's tasted fine on cereal, etc. We are making two of the steaks tonight and they look good.



All the meat, except for the chicken tenders and chicken legs/thighs, were vaccum packed. The dessert item was a 4 pack of Boston Cream Pudding. I am attaching a photo of everything we got, except the pizza and milk (already used) and the pudding and eggs (I forgot to take them out of the frig).

In a nutshell, I'm happy and so were my two friends. We are ordering again this month. I plan to order for the next two months at least and stockpile a little before the baby comes. If we don't use all the meat each month, I may go to every other month, but three months in a row should give me a good feel as to what we're using. The menu is supposed to feed a family of four for a week.

UPDATE: I have now ordered three months in a row and have only gotten one or two things I didn't really care for or felt like I just couldn't use. Overall, I think it's a great deal and plan on continuing to buy from them.

Have any others used them and if so, what did you think of the food?

10 Responses to “Saving Money on Food w/ Angel Food Ministries”

  1. Terry Says:

    I read about this recently and went to their website. Apparently there is a different "menu" every month and as one living and eating on a shoestring, their food appears to be vastly better than what I am used to, and astonishingly affordable.

    My only disappointment is that they are not yet operating in my state, so I can't try their food yet.

    For those readers living in states where it is available - most states, esp in the South and East - I highly recommend trying them.

  2. Nika Says:

    I am a little confused - isn't this a charity?
    If so, isn't it intended so that people who can't afford to buy food get proper nutrition and do not go hungry? I am not sure about using charitable organizations as a money-saving tool.

  3. fern Says:

    On their FAQ page, it says that anyone is eligible to particpate.

    I wish they had a vegetarian menu.

  4. Personal Finance Student Says:

    Nika - It was started as a way to help those who may find themselves struggling financially, but as fern said, anyone can participate. I had the same concern myself at first, until I did more research. I feel fine using it now because my order does not prevent someone else from ordering, so my order does not take the place of someone else's who may be in great need of help. If you talk to any of the host sites, they encourage people to order. Have you read the article I posted the link to? One of the hosts says, "It absolutely is for everybody.."

    I just found another article on Angel Food Ministries that explains how the other side (the host site side) works, which is intereting and you may enjoy reading as well. Turns out my order actually helps those in need! Here's the link to the new article: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/religion/5960393.ht...
    "These days, with gas prices and food prices the way they are, this program is a real ministry," she says. Sarten says Angel Food donates $1 per unit to the host churches. That money helps reimburse their expenses — basically, the rented truck that hauls the food — with the rest going into a fund that helps feed the needy. She says many people will call and order a box of food with instructions to donate it to someone who is hungry. Angel Food is a nonprofit, and any extra money earned goes back into the program.

    "We not looking to make money," spokeswoman Susan Neuhalfen says. "We're just looking to break even."

  5. Mrs. H Says:

    We have used Angel Food Ministries the last two months and I will not be using it again. I found the quality of the food to be rather poor. Some things were name brand, most were not. I'm definitely not opposed to using off brands, if the quality is good (like Great Value or Sam's Choice). Many of the items we got (popcorn chicken for one) didn't have cooking instructions, so we ate it wondering if we were about to get sick. I feel like I could get just as much food for less money using local stores. And have higher quality...So, for my family, AFM was a big disappointment.

  6. Personal Finance Student Says:

    Mrs. H - I didn't do Angel Food Ministries this month, but I do feel like it's a pretty good deal overall. I think part of that is because I know I wouldn't buy nearly as much meat if I didn't go this route. I agree about the popcorn chicken though, we didn't care for it either. I actually told them I didn't want it when I got my September order. I do wonder what that did to my savings since it was several pounds of popcorn chicken. That was one reason I didn't order this month, I am not sure what I'll do about ordering again. Maybe I'll challenge myself and take AFM's menu and see how well I can match it in our local stores to see if I can get a better price...hmmm...I like that idea. Thanks for giving your review!

  7. Martha Says:

    THanKS for putting up a picture of what you got even if it was minus a few items. I tried AFM a year ago when it was still $25 and I was greatly disappointed in what I received. I only filled one lone paper grocery sack. Why they wanted me to bring a big box I'll never know. Perhaps they're told to request that so it seems like you will get more? I think looking at a list is confusing also. I forget that, for example, 16 oz of anything is only equal to one can of vegetables. They should just put a photo up so you will know exactly what you are getting.I got 4 of the 6oz club steaks that were the most awful I've ever had. I'm fortunate to have many options as far as grocery stores so I'm happy to know I'm not missing a thing by not ordering the AF. Good luck to those who try it!

  8. money-svr Says:

    my church used to distribute angel food but we dont any longer. the menues never changed,we had recieved food late, we were often not given all of the food we ordered for our community,(I don't mean there were substitutions, i mean we were shorted boxes of food regularly) and once recieved pork loins at our church and every one was THAWED!!!(yuck). that is a health code violation if i ever saw one. so we switched to another food program called "Great food for all." it is the same price but the food is better and we get more variety of food like fish. their specials are better too with a breakfast box that had sausage patties, hash brown patties, bacon and gourmet coffees. and a kids box for lunches, i also like the "cheesecake factory" cheesecakes we get in the dessert boxes. plus our church gets twice the bennevelance that angel food gave us. check it out man. greatfoodforall.com.

  9. Crystal Says:

    We just picked up our first AFM order this past weekend. So far, so good.

    We ordered a Signature Box ($30), a 7 lb Premium Meat Grilling Box ($23), and the Produce Box ($22). I priced out the boxes at my local Kroger’s (Houston, TX) and found out that the Signature Box is by far the best deal - saved us about $12 over Kroger’s when compared to comparable off-brand items. Everything came as described and the produce was fresh and unbruised. We haven’t had any of the meat yet, but the fruit has been yummy (apples and oranges). The potatoes and carrots tasted great in a stew I made yesterday. The bread is really good too.

    I didn’t like the sweet tomato sauce in the Hamburger Helper-like dinner but it was fine after I added some Basil and Oregano. We are trying the hamburger patties tonight and the Rib-Eye steaks this week too. I will be sure to post again if they are not up to snuff…they looked well-sealed and were very frozen.

    BUT, my husband and I ate out at resturants and fast food joints 3-5 nights a week before trying out AFM, so we may have different standards than you - we weren’t expecting uber-healthy gourmet, just better than what we were eating anyway. We are happy so far and will have cut our food budget to about $350 this month instead of our normal $600. My husband and I were trying to find something to motivate us to cook at home more often and the grab-bag mentality of AFM works for me.

    February 2010’s AFM Signature Box looks even better than January’s - saving us about $15 over Kroger’s. We will probably be ordering a couple of those this time around if the meat we try this week is good and will be ignoring the other types of boxes since I can get almost the same prices on produce locally.

    Oh, and if you are worried about preparing some of the items with no cooking instructions, I found directions on the AFM website for our pie. You can also simply Google for cooking instructions for whatever item in question.

    Hope this helps!

  10. Personal Finance Student Says:

    Thought I should give an update on this. I haven't ordered again since Oct. '08 since I started couponing in Jan. '09 and get far and away more food for the money, but that's only because I'm willing to put in the time and effort to coupon. Also, we have gone to a stricter diet to deal with my husband's IBS, so I wouldn't be using as much of what's provided either. I still think that it can be beneficial to people in various situations, just not me anymore. It was stepping stone for me in learning about ways to save money on my food. Anyway...that's my update.

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