New program helps county families stretch their food dollar regardless of need

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As costs continue to rise, many families find it more and more difficult to make ends meet with bills and still put nutritious food on the table.

From senior citizens on fixed incomes to young couples and new families – a new program being started here in Switzerland County underwrites the cost of food so that anyone can benefit from the program.

No income or age guidelines.

No restrictions.

Everyone can participate.

The program, known as “Angel Food Ministries”, started in 1994 in Georgia and now operates in 32 states. The program’s goal was to help everyone with the cost of feeding themselves and their family, and the program was used by more than four million families last year.

It is being administered locally by Vevay Assembly Church in Vevay.

Here’s how the program works:

Anyone can contact the program and order a “unit” of food for $25. This “unit” of food contains enough food to feed one person for a month – or a family of four for a week. Menus change each month, and their is no minimum – people may order monthly, or not order for some time and then reorder when they would like to.

People may also use the program as a way of helping others.

Program coordinator Reita Thomasson said that the program has become so successful because it is flexible.

“There’s no application, everyone is eligible,” Reita Thomasson said. “There are no restrictions, anybody who wants to do it can do it. You can buy it and use it, or you can buy it and give it away. It’s a way to help people stretch their food dollar.”

Reita Thomasson said that children can participate as a way of helping out an elderly parent or relative. Parents may participate as a way of helping newlyweds get on their feet. People can buy them and give them away themselves, or the program will donate the food to someone if that is preferred.

Or you can use it yourself.

Anyone wanting to participate in the program can order a “unit” of food today (Thursday) at Vevay Assembly Church on East Main Street from 4-6 p.m.; or tomorrow (Friday) at the church from 5-7 p.m.; or they can call Reita Thomasson at 427-9882.

The program accepts cash, checks, and money orders; and once the initial “unit” is purchased, people may purchase other packages, also at greatly reduced prices.

Once the order is placed, the “units” will be available to be picked up at the church on Saturday, April 14th, from noon until 1:30 p.m.

There’s just one stipulation:

“If you do not pick up your order on that day by 1:30 p.m., then your food will be given to a needy family or to a local food pantry,” Reita Thomasson said. “It will be considered a donation, and there are no refunds.”

Again, Reita Thomasson stresses that everyone is eligible to take advantage of this program, and anyone can use it as much or as little as they would like.

“For some elderly people, getting all of this food once a month may be too much,” Reita Thomasson said. “Maybe they want to participate every other month. They can do that.”

The program is a great way to provide food for college students who are living in apartments; or for anyone who is looking for a way to make their food dollar go further.

A “unit” of food for April includes:

Six hamburger steaks with bacon; four pork chops; two pounds of fish filets; one pound of ground beef; 16-ounces of meatballs; two pounds of chicken tenders; a 12-inch supreme pizza; 16-ounces of corn dogs; 20-ounces of French fries; 16-ounces of corn; 15-ounces of pork and beans; 16-ounces of pinto beans; 10-ounces gravy; 16-ounces of rice; six-ounces of pancake mix; a 30-ounce pie; and 16-ounces of green beans.

Anyone having any questions about how the program works is encouraged to call Reita Thomasson at 427-9882. Again, there are no restrictions to this program – anyone or any family can participate, regardless of income.

“We’re just helping people get more for their money,” Reita Thomasson said.