Jun 30, 2010

Program helps area residents buy food items at half of the normal price

A relatively new food program for Athens County allows area residents to purchase food products for roughly half of the normal price. The food program is the national Angel Food Ministry program, and it is being run locally by Abundant Life Church of Athens. The program accepts Food Assistance Benefits cards, but there are no income limits.

“It’s a great way for people to stretch their food dollars,” said Bob Gall, minister for Abundant Life Church. Anyone can use the food program, and Gall is hoping that more area residents will take advantage of it. Here is how it works:

Area residents order food boxes once a month on-line or at the church on designated days. The program offers several different types of food boxes at different prices. One popular box, for example, provides $60 worth of food, but it only costs participants $30. Angel Food Ministries, which is based in Georgia, buys the food products in bulk and takes orders from churches all across the country. Because they are purchasing in bulk, they are able to order the food for low prices that are then passed on to the consumers.

Area residents choose the boxes they want to order, and they are able to purchase as many as they like. The food items are distributed once each month at the church, usually on the third Friday of the month. Participants are asked to bring boxes, bags or laundry baskets with them to place their food items in, to make it easier to carry them home. The food items can be sold at low prices because both Angel Food Ministries and the Abundant Life Church are not trying to make a profit, they are just trying to distribute food.

“To me, this is just a no-lose situation,” Gall said. Response to the program has been good so far at the Abundant Life Church, but Gall is hoping that many more people will learn about the program and use it. Abundant Life Church is located at 9365 Hooper Road, which is near U.S. Rt. 50/Ohio Rt. 32. For more information on the program, call the church at 593-7500 or log onto the website, located at http://theabundantlifetoday.org.

Jun 16, 2010

Athens Farmers Market leads the way

The Athens Farmers Market leads all farmers markets in Ohio in the number of customers it serves who are receiving Food Assistance Program benefits. And this summer, the Athens Farmers Market is offering extra incentives to customers who use their Food Assistance benefits to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. Click here to read more about how the Athens Farmers Market has made it easy for area residents to use their Food Assistance benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Jun 14, 2010

Additional comments from the Athens County ABLE program graduation ceremony

The Athens County Adult Basic Literacy and Education (ABLE) program at The Work Station held its annual GED graduation ceremony on Friday, June 4 at Chauncey Elementary School. Several of the graduates talked after the ceremony about how the program has helped them and about what their plans are now.


Michelle Strong, 19, of Nelsonville, was not able to graduate from her high school because of a problem with her credit hours, so she enrolled in the GED program to finish. She earned her GED in 2009, the same year that she would have graduated from high school, and enjoyed working with the teachers and other students in the GED program.

“I thought it was really awesome,” Strong said. She plans to continue her education in college and may study early childhood education.

David Riddle, 21, of Grove City, was just a few credits short of graduating from high school when he dropped out so that he could work and earn money for his family. He and his wife and son moved to southern Ohio for a time, and Riddle tried to get by without going back to school and getting his degree.

“I just lacked the motivation,” he said. Being a father has made him more responsible, and he knew that he needed to go back to school and earn his GED so that he would be able to get better jobs and be better able to support his family. “I think it will open a lot of doors for me,” he said.

Cristy James, 53, of Nelsonville, decided to earn her GED in order to improve her job prospects. She plans to now continue her education at the Tri-County Career Center. James was originally nervous about going back to school, but she knew it was important that she earn her GED.

“It was hard,” she said about first going back. The staff at The Work Station helped her a great deal, and she enjoyed the GED program. “I liked it. It really helped me,” James said.

Shandi Kincaid, 21, of Bainbridge also decided to earn her GED in order to improve her job opportunities.

“I need a better job and no one will hire me without an education,” Kincaid said. She hopes to eventually work in human resources management, and is thankful for all of the assistance she received from the ABLE program.

“It was a really good program,” Kincaid said. “They really helped me a lot.” After the ceremony, the graduates and their family members and friends were treated to dinner and a performance by the Back Porch Swing Band. Also, local musician Bob Montalto played the piano before and during the graduation ceremony.

Click here for more photos from the ceremony

Jun 10, 2010

Athens County graduates honored at ceremony

The Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) GED Graduation Ceremony for Athens County was a relatively small and quiet event, but the June 4 celebration was a monumental occasion that marked a major accomplishment in the lives of the graduates and their families.


Around 70 people earned their GEDs in the Athens County program during the 2009-2010 school year, and 11 of the graduates took part in the commencement ceremony inside the Chauncey Elementary School gymnasium. One of the graduates was Nekisha Singer, who gave one of the two main speeches during the event. Singer, who became emotional several times during her remarks, explained that she dropped out of high school after she became pregnant at the age of 16.
“I knew I had to grow up quickly,” she said. Singer was told several times when she was younger that she had a learning disability, and she explained that school was frustrating for her at times. She decided to go back to school in the last year to earn her GED for her family and for herself.

“To prove to myself that I am no different and that I can do whatever I put my mind to,” Singer said. She thanked ABLE teachers Scott Hatfield and Candy Byron for all of their assistance, and said she hopes they understand how big of an impact they have had on her life. She also thanked her family members and friends for their support.

“Thank you all for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” Singer said. She told the other graduates that they should be proud of their accomplishments and that they should also share their stories of the GED program with other people in the community.

“Inspire them to go back to school and realize their hopes and dreams,” said Singer. She will now continue her education at Columbus State Community College.
“I know that the sky is the limit for me and for all of my fellow graduates,” Singer said.

Graduate Alicia Hale also gave a few remarks, and explained that she decided to go back to school to earn her GED for one main reason.
“I did it for my three little boys,” Hale said. She thanked her family and friends, as well as the staff at The Work Station for their support, and said that she also plans to now go to college.

Jun 9, 2010

Employer Awareness Workshop to be held at The Work Station

All local employers are invited to an Employer Awareness Workshop that will be held at The Work Station on Thursday, June 24 from 1-3 p.m. The workshop will focus on the subject of hiring ex-offenders. Click here to read more about the event.

Jun 3, 2010

Ohio families encouraged to apply for Medicaid

The state of Ohio is encouraging all eligible families to sign up for Medicaid and has made it easier for families to enroll in the health care program more quickly. Click here to read about the changes to the Medicaid program.