Park Hill still an 'angel' despite Missouri's recent winter storm

By Jennifer Harris, Word&Way News Writer

Park Hill Baptist Church didn’t let snow and ice stop them from distributing food to nearly 300 participants in their Angel Food Ministry. Volunteers were at the Kansas City church before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13 to unload the truck and prepare for the 9 a.m. crowd.

Angel Food is a non-profit, non-denominational organization that provides grocery relief to communities through the United States. Food sales and distribution are managed by host churches, such as Park Hill.

The monthly program allows participants to purchase one “unit” of food for $25, about half of the estimated retail value. According to Angel Food, the unit assists in feeding a family of four for about a week, or a single person for almost a month. “The food is all the same high quality one would purchase at a grocery store,” the Angel Food Web site says. “There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.”

Park Hill has participated in the program for over three years. Mike Palis, the associate pastor for worship and youth, informed the church’s Leadership Team about the program. “We had been looking for a ministry that would have wide community appeal and benefits,” pastor David Overman said.

After contacting other churches participating in the program, prayer and discussion, the church decided to launch their own Angel Food Ministry.

According to Overman, 200–300 families participate in the church’s Angel Food ministry. The church also serves as a pick-up site for 3–5 other local churches.

“We have not had any direct growth as a result of the Angel Food ministry, but that was not the primary reason for our launching it,” Overman said. “We believed it was a ‘God thing.’ It provides a positive impact in our community. People come to the church for distribution and our folks interact with them – we are blessed as well as hopefully blessing others.”

Overman added that the church often receives phone calls from people who have heard about the program through others. People are curious how the program works and wonder about “the catch.” Since Angel Food purchases foods in bulk, they are able to keep costs down for the consumer.

Overman said the winter weather last weekend had no effect on the distribution. “We have had some distribution days when temperatures – at both extremes – made it uncomfortable to unload the truck,” he said. “Last weekend we had no more than the usual ‘no shows’ because of the weather, so we were fortunate in that regard.” (1-25-07)