TO GET HELP
One Harvest orders can be made online at oneharvest.com
They may also be dropped off at the Carpenter's Cowboy Church on 3616 Rossville Blvd. Church hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for Thursdays when the church closes at 2 p.m.
For more information call Kathy Barnett at 402-7261.
About six months after Angel Food Ministries—once the nation's largest nonprofit food ministry—closed, a local church is trying to fill families' food needs.
"You cannot believe the need," said Kathy Barnett, administrative assistant at Carpenter's Cowboy Church, which was part of the Angel Food Ministry's food service program.
Several people who came to Carpenter's to get their monthly box of groceries from Angel Food were "devastated" when it shut down, said Barnett, so Carpenter's Cowboy is participating in another food ministry called One Harvest.
Angel Food Ministries, which ran from 1994 until September 2011, operated in 45 states and served more than 500,000 families in the United States, according to news reports. It closed under an FBI investigation when its founders, Linda and Joe Wingo, were accused of defrauding the nonprofit and using money to buy houses, jewelry, cars and even a jet. The couple and other employees were indicted for 49 counts of fraud and accused of stealing nearly $1.5 million in December 2011, according to news reports.
Carpenter's Cowboy Church, located on Rossville Boulevard, began participating in One Harvest earlier this month, Barnett said. Even though the church hardly advertised the new program, about 35 people signed up for the first grocery shipment, distributed Feb. 25.
One Harvest, a Loganville, Georgia-based food ministry, was established by some people who formerly worked for Angel Food, she said. Carpenter's Cowboy Church is the only church so far in Chattanooga that is distributing food through the program.
One Harvest is not the same as Angel Food Ministry, said Doug Metcalfe, vice president of sales and marketing for One Harvest. The company's CEO, David "Tony" Prather and president Jacob Prather are taking no salary for their work, said Metcalfe.
"Our team is focused on integrity," he said.
David Prather, a former director with Angel Food, sued the Wingo family in March 2009 for allegedly misappropriating funds, according to news reports.
The prices and products are similar to Angel Food Ministries, Barnett said. For $35, a box of groceries feeds a family of four for a week, Barnett said. A family box includes meats, vegetables, soups and a dessert, but boxes also can be set up to include meats only or vegetables only.
Barnett, who drives to Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church in Chickamauga, Ga., to get the food, wants to work with other local churches to increase orders in the Chattanooga area. If at least 200 people place orders, a One Harvest truck will deliver here, she said.
Elizabeth Lee United Methodist is among more than 60 churches in Georgia who distribute One Harvest boxes. Chatsworth Church of God in Chatsworth and St. James African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Rome are also distribution sites.
Several local churches that once used the Angel Food Ministries have become more cautious before getting involved again.
Renaissance Presbyterian Church Minister Leroy Griffith said his church was the only Presbyterian church in the city participating in Angel Food. The church served about 20 people. He said Renaissance officials will do further research into One Harvest before getting involved again.
Carrie Sandidge, assistant director of ministries at Christ United Methodist Church, said her church served nearly 100 people before Angel Food Ministries ended. She said she wants to do more investigation before getting involved with One Harvest.
"We want to make sure that it's a solid program before we dive in," Sandidge said. "We had a lot of low-income families, or families just trying to be good stewards of their money, who were depending on that."
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...