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Angel Food Ministries offers bargain prices

Kirsten Carlson

Lines are a little longer these days at discount grocers and crowds a little thinner at restaurants.

Everyone is looking for opportunities to save; yet surprisingly few are aware of one of the simplest ways to substantially cut their food budget.

Angel Food Ministries began fifteen years ago in Georgia and now has two host sites in the Boston area, providing boxes of high quality food for significantly less than grocery stores – at least in comparison to their price shopping.

Several different boxes are available each month and are designed to assist a family of four for about one week or an individual for nearly a month.

Each month, the menu consists of a “Signature Box” for $30, which includes meats, produce, milk and other products; two different steak boxes; a poultry box; a box designed for seniors or people who need convenience foods; an allergen free box, as well as other offerings.

Mary Ciannavei, a teacher at St. Patrick’s School in Roxbury, began running the program out of the school early this year.

She heard about it from a friend and thought it would be great for Boston communities.

Ciannavei said that realistically, the “Signature Box” is plenty of food to provide seven solid dinners for a family of four. There are no criteria or qualifications to be eligible to purchase the food, and it can be paid for with food stamps.

“It’s really just to help people,”

Ciannavei said.

St. Patrick’s School partners with St. John’s Church in Jamaica Plain to bring the food to their customers. Volunteers from each location pick up the food from a distribution center in Hudson, usually on the last Saturday of the month, and then pass it out that same day at their respective sites.

 Customers typically have until mid-month to order. The January deadline is Saturday, Jan. 23. Payment must be done upon ordering, and can be completed online with a debit or credit card, or in person at the school with cash, money order, food stamps and debit or credit.

Ciannavei said she has had a hard time getting the word out about Angel Food Ministries. She would like to see more people taking advantage of what the program has to offer, as well as see more local host sites spring up.

For more information about Angel Food Ministries, including menu selections or how to become a host site, visit www.angelfoodministries.com.