For the last 14 months, the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church has provided discounted groceries to needy families as a local outlet for Angel Food Ministries.

For the last 14 months, the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church has provided discounted groceries to needy families as a local outlet for Angel Food Ministries.

That all ceased at the beginning of September when the national Angel Food ministry announced it could no longer provide its services to its many sites across the country.

According to the Angel Food website, the economy and market conditions forced the ministry to shut down operations.

That leaves RUMC members searching for ways to accommodate the local Angel Food clientele and reinvent the way the church serves those in need.

“Angel Food was a national ministry with some 5,000 locations,” said Brenda Hauser, communication production manager for the church. “They bought food in bulk and got great prices and did all the shipping.

“We partnered with them over the past 14 months and it was quality food at a really good price. It was for people who maybe didn’t want to go to a food pantry, or too proud or still had jobs, but could pay for it,” Hauser said.

She said shipments from Angel Food came once a month and included an assortment of food, including meats, frozen vegetables, pastas and rice.

Hauser said since RUMC began its affiliation with Angel Food, the local ministry grew to serve between 50 and 60 Reynoldsburg families who would order some 80 to 90 boxes of food per month.

The Angel Food boxes cost about $35 each. For every box sold, $1 would be given to the church. Hauser said that money was used to buy more boxes and then give them away free to those in need.

“At the beginning of September, they (Angel Food) were no longer distributing food. They couldn’t afford it any more because of transportations costs and everything. It was just too much for them,” Hauser said.

In order to accommodate local residents who have depended on Angel Food assistance, RUMC member and volunteer Dick Horn said a temporary deal was struck with the Reynoldsburg area Chipotle Mexican Grill and Longhorn Steakhouse located off state Route 256.

“We’re using that food we get from them to help out some of the people we were helping out through Angel Food,” Horn said.

He said as food becomes available from Chipotle and Longhorn, it is boxed and given to the church’s clientele for free.

This set up is a temporary “stopgap measure,” Horn said. It is not covering all the Angel Food clients.

“It doesn’t cover everybody, probably the ones that are most in need for now,” he said. “In October, we’ll be talking about forming some kind of food operation. We don’t know what it will look like, but it will target those people who are in need.

“There’s a lot of people out there that are in need of help, and some of them have something called pride, and sometimes you find out who those people are and sometimes you don’t,” he said.

Horn said right now, those in need of food can call (614) 866-5864 or visit Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church at 1636 Graham Road.

“Just walk in and ask the church. They’ll determine the need and the appropriateness of that need and it will get passed on to me, or they might have some bags of food available they can hand to that person,” Horn said.

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