ATLANTA -- Angel Food Ministries is going out of business after 17 years of providing discounted groceries to needy families across the country, including in the Tri-Cities, citing the economic downtown affecting many customers.
The multi-million dollar food nonprofit said it will cease operations immediately, according to a statement provided to The Associated Press.
Angel Food started in the Tri-Cities in November 2008, and had sites at the Pasco Church of the Nazarene and Kennewick Church of the Nazarene.
The churches found out Wednesday that the program had officially closed its doors, said Jairo Maldonado, worship arts pastor at the Kennewick church.
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The church never received a menu for September, so no orders were taken from customers, he said. It is trying to find another similar program to continue the service, but nothing has been set up yet.
Maldonado said his church does have a pantry box ministry that can provide cereal and nonperishable food to community members in need. He said people would just need to contact the church for help.
Angel Food was started in 1994 by pastors Joe and Linda Wingo with 34 families in Monroe, Ga. At its height, the organization grew through a network of churches to feed more than 500,000 families a month in 45 states.
The organization ran into trouble in 2009 when the FBI searched its offices. The Wingos and one of their sons were on staff.
Joe Wingo's reported salary in 2009 was more than $694,000.