Shame on You Angel Food Ministries

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What a sad story  to emerge from what, up to now, had appeared to be a successful and well-run Christian food aid program. 

Georgia-based Angel Food Ministries, founded more than 10 years ago by the Rev. Joseph Wingo and his wife, may have fallen to the same temptation that has crept up on so many other well-meaning  organizations and their founders.    It stands to reason that if Mr. Do Good works hard all day, well, he ought to be able to relax in a big house and buy his wife some nice jewelry and give his kids and relatives entitlement jobs as well.   And then when the law steps in, you end up with three possible explanations for what went wrong: 

1)  It’s a conspiracy.  Doubtful since I’ve always maintained the average organization or government for that matter, is just not smart enough or organized enough to pull it off.  

(2) These people are dumb as proverbial stumps who can’t  learn from the downfall of the last public figure who felt donors wouldn’t mind funding their chamapagne and caviar lifestyle; or

(3) The perpetrators simply think they’re too smart to get caught.  The Jim Bakers and the Benny Hinns all thought they could pull it off too.  Yes, even the leaders of the Orthodox Church in America managed to hide their mismanagement pretty well.  But time, office gossip and the moral conscience of a few good people always win in the end.

For years Angel Food Ministries’ reputation seemed impeccable, and the results of the ministry were to be seen in the thousands of people across the South and Southwest who managed to stretch their monthly meals with the quality foods  distributed by hundreds of associated churches.   My own parish believed in the Angel Food Ministry and we tried very hard last year to become a distributor, but were not accepted due to the close proximity of other church partners.  There’d be a lot of panic right now if we had hungry people at the door and not a lot of answers for them.

Now it would seem that the sins of  greed and inhumanity that placed so many people in the food lines to begin with are about to cut off this badly-needed source of aid.  It’s unconscionable that a Christian minister’s sins hurt so many people who are hurting already.  Spokemen for the ministry say the investigation will not stop food distribution but I just don’t see how they can make that claim.   What wholesaler will sell to them now?  How are the bills getting paid?  And as the economy collapses, who is going to step up to feed all these people?  This is a bad time for dishonesty and fraud, but bad times can bring out both the best and the worst in people.   Shame on you Rev. Wingo and God bless those who keep fighting for the hungry in America.

I believe the vision of Angel Food Ministries is godly but the  organization is going to have to face the music, and God willing it will come through better for it in the end.  In all fairness though, please visit their website and make up your own mind. 

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4 Responses to “Shame on You Angel Food Ministries”

  1. Good Angels Says:

    Angel Food is not a charitable organization, but a food coop. It takes no donations or tithes and generates its own capital. They do great work, and provide a needed service. Hoe can anyone fault a CEO for getting paid to do what millions before them cannot figure out; how to feed the hungry.

    Shame on anyone beating on Angel Food Ministries.

  2. tinag46 Says:

    Sorry for the confusion – everyone please disregard my incorrect information. This is not a post about charitable fraud it’s apparently about fair salaries in an era of corporate financial mismanagement. So, Rev. Wingo is more like a bank CEO, Bank of America for example, or maybe one of those investment guys at Merrill Lynch?

    It’s because Angel Food Ministries has done such wonderful work and helped so many people that these allegations are so troubling. I want this organization to survive. However, in the current economic situation and with public sentiment running so high, its CEO isn’t helping things by mixing its corporate culture with Christian charity, big salaries and nepotism.

  3. Limbo Says:

    Good Angel,
    Angel Food is a non-profit, not just a food co-op. However, the founders are profiting mightily. They do take donations. There is a space on my order form that I fill out each month asking if I would like to donate ( I am a host site director). I never donate because I am using all the money to buy food! Which is what I wish they would do more of.

    I don’t begrudge them their big salaries if they weren’t made off the backs of my volunteers! If they want to be a “for- profit”, so be it. But they must stop their shady financial practices and re organize the company. I pray it continues, it is helping a lot of folks in my community. But I am watching closely and praying.

  4. Juda Engelmayer Says:

    As a non profit organization, it has to be set up to take donations. It does not solicit any, and last year, for its over budget of $140 Million, it received just $52,000 in actual donations. Those funds were added to other funds provided by the ministry and used for disaster relief efforts. Angel Food, in addition to providing low-cost, quality food to people around the country, buys, ships and donates free food to people effected by natural disasters, like floods, ice storms, hurricanes.

    Just this month, 10/09, Angel Food sent 40,000 lbs of food to Atlanta area flood victims, provided 15,000 meals for people effected by a food pantry fire in Florida and send another 14,000 meals to Jackson, MI, to relieve a growing need for food in that region. That is how it uses the “donated” money, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars of the capital it generates on the food boxes it sells.

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