I know of many families who have relied on Angel Food Ministries to put food on the table over the past few years. Although the Great Recession is technically over, the slow economic recovery is still wreaking havoc on family finances. Organizations like Angel Food Ministries have given these families the comfort of knowing that everyone will be fed so that they can focus on other issues, including finding a job and securing housing. Unfortunately, the organization abruptly closed its doors yesterday, leaving families across the nation scrambling to put food on the table.
The following is an excerpt of a notice posted on the Angel Food Ministries website:
“Unfortunately many if not all other food ministries have gone out of business in recent years. Angel Food has not been immune from the same economic and market conditions that led to the loss of other food ministries. It’s important to note that in the past we never relied on donations; less than 1% of annual revenues have come from donations. We are grateful that we have been able to help tens of millions of customers save hundreds of millions of dollars in food costs. We also are grateful to have been able to return about $24 million to our church host sites and other partner organizations.”
However, there may be more to this story than meets the eye. Angel Food Ministries isn't just another nonprofit organization to face closure due to the nation’s financial woes. According to an article on the First Coast News website, there is controversy brewing.
“There are now reports of an investigation by the FBI into Angel Food and legal trouble for founders Joe and Linda Wingo. First Coast News looked up the pair's tax records, and learned Joe Wingo was paid more than $700,000 for his role as executive director in 2009. His son made more than $200,000.”
In time we’ll know whether or not there were shenanigans happening with the administration of Angel Food Ministries, but in the interim, many families are now facing yet another problem: how they can afford to put food on the table.