I’ve got a real treat for my readers today. Mandi from Doodles’ Place mentioned to me recently that she was picking up her first order from Angel Food Ministries, so I jumped on the opportunity and convinced to write a review on the service.
Be sure to check out all the cute and fun things she does with her three girls to “make the most of every moment” on her blog, and if you like what you see, subscribe to her RSS feed!
Ever since I first heard about Angel Food Ministries several years ago, I’ve been periodically checking their website for a local pick-up location so that I could participate.
This month, I finally had the opportunity to do just that thanks to a woman in our church who is organizing a local branch by driving to the closest one (which has been too far for me to make work) and then bringing all of the boxes back to a local pick-up point. Tara asked me if I’d be willing to write a review of the program to share with her readers here at Deal Seeking Mom, and of course I said yes!
First, if you’ve never heard of Angel Food Ministries, it’s a ministry that was founded to provide grocery assistance to families across the United States.
From their website:
Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month’s menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.
One very important aspect of this program is that, unlike other ministries, participating does not mean that you are taking away money or food from someone else whose need may be greater. Rather, by participating, you actually enable them to purchase food at better prices, which benefits everyone.
This month, I decided to purchase the main unit as well as one of each of the additional boxes offered – a grill box, a stuffed chicken box, and a steak and meat combo, as well as a fresh produce box. My total was $106, and for that price I received everything in the attached PDF document.
Here are the pros and cons of this program, from my point of view.
- It includes a lot of prepackaged, prepared foods. If you’re more of a cook-from-scratch kind of family, this ministry is probably not for you.
- As I was pulling things out of the main box, it definitely exceeded my expectations as far as quantity and quality. I was very happy with that box and kept thinking, “Oh, I didn’t realize that’s what that meant.”
- I was really worried about whether the food would survive the transport from the original pickup location to the place where I picked it up and then 40 minutes back to my house. But the meat is frozen and packed tightly in boxes, and it was still frozen solid. And even the frozen products in the main box made it. That was a huge relief to me when I started unpacking the boxes!
- While we do eat a lot of chicken, we don’t eat red meat that often, so I’m expecting that the meat will last us at least three months.
- Because you cannot control the variety (other than to choose to purchase it or not!), you must be willing to try new things to get the full value of the program. I actually consider this a benefit, as it is forcing us to try new things.
- I’m admittedly very picky about produce. We eat a LOT of produce here (it’s probably one of the biggest components of my grocery budget, but I don’t do well with icky produce). I actually went to the grocery store on my way to pick up the boxes to get some peaches, bananas, grapes and blueberries because those are pretty much staples in our house right now. That said, the produce box was not up to my standards, and I don’t think I’ll be purchasing that box again in the future. There was nothing wrong with it, per se, but I prefer to pick out my own and probably would not have purchased a lot of what was in there if given the choice. Live and learn. (To be fair, though, the cantaloupe and honeydew was some of the best I’ve ever had!)
If you are currently on a very tight grocery budget, cook everything from scratch, combine coupons and store deals and shop multiple stores to get the very best deal, you probably won’t find these prices to be better than what you currently do. However, if – like me – you simply aren’t able to do those things (we live out in the boonies, and right now, our time is more important than getting the best deal), you may want to give it a try.
You can see September’s menu here, including their new “senior” box, which includes 10 pre-made single-serve meals. My husband is looking forward to these as lunches on the days he’s home and I’m working.
It sounds like a winner to me! My husband is bad about not packing his lunches some days (I know I should pack for him, but hey, he’s picky!) and ends up eating out, so I think the senior box would be great to have on hand.
Has anyone else tried Angel Food Ministries, and if so, what did you think?