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— With $30, anyone can purchase enough food to feed a family of four for a week. There's no qualifications, no restrictions, no taxes, no minimums and no application.

Angel Food Ministries, founded in 1994, in Monroe, Ga., is a foodassistance program that locally operates at First Baptist Church in Pea Ridge.

The program that began with 34 families in Georgia has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 35 states, according to the Web site

Here's how it works: Take a look at a menu that changes month to month, available online or at the church office. The menu lists what will be available in that month's "Signature Box."

This box contains items such as rib-eye steaks, chicken breasts, frozen vegetables, orange juice concentrate and milk. Other choices on the menu include a senior box - fully cooked complete meals, such as beef stew with carrots and potatoes, that need only reheating, allergen-free choices, special holiday boxes - a sevenpound turkey, sweet potatoes,corn bread, pie and more for Thanksgiving - and specials such as the assorted meat grill box or fresh fruit and veggie box.

"There's breakfast items too, just like you buy at the store," said Sherrie Ragland, Angel Food volunteer.

To place an order, go to or call the church during office hours or from 10 a.m. to noon the Saturday before delivery. Orders can be paid in cash, check or food stamps, and no tax is charged.

Delivery is typically the third Saturday of every month. The church vans leave First Baptist at 6 a.m. to pick up the food at New Life Christian Center in Centerton, the local distribution center for the program. To be a distribution center, the church must receive 150 orders per month.

Volunteers bring the boxes back to Pea Ridge for the 9 a.m.

distribution at the church to awaiting community members who have brought a box, basket, bag or ice chest.

And that's it.

According to the Web site, the $30 box has an average retail value of $60. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using awide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.

This program has been offered in Pea Ridge for about three years, Ragland said. When the Church of Today moved to Rogers, First Baptist took over. It started with at least 100 orders per month, but now is down to only about 30.

"The church doesn'tmake any money, and there is no commitment to order again," Ragland said.

The program is staffed by volunteers including Pam Marlow, Larry Marlow, Shawn Haile, Jackie Haile, Shirley Ragland, James Ragland, David Ragland, Sherrie Ragland, Wade Woodward, Dennis Payne, Goldie London, Valerie Cook, Phyllis Scoville, Dan Scoville, Beverly Morrison, Jerry Morrison,Amy McInturff, Charlie Brewer, Ranee Nunley, Cody Haile, Gina Ragland, Audrey Greenwell, Marcie Cothran and Mamie Tadlock.

The next delivery date is Oct. 17, making Oct. 10 the last day to order. Thanksgiving holiday boxes are available to pre-order until Oct. 28. For more information, contact First Baptist Church of Pea Ridge at 451-8192.

News, Pages 1, 9 on 09/23/2009

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