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A church lunch costing only $3.50? Hot dog!

Lately, everyone is experiencing “pain at the pump,” the grocery store, the mall, the airport, the movies.…

We constantly hunt for ways to make our dollars go further. In Derita, a large group of folks is dedicated to that very thing.

Thursday is hot dog day at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, 6440 Old Statesville Road. Members serve hot dogs with all the fixings: homemade slaw and chili, onions, relish, even jalepeños.

You can also get a bowl of pinto beans or vegetable soup with cornbread. Choose from iced tea, coffee or soda. Homemade desserts such as banana pudding, fudge brownies and chocolate cake fill a table.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Thursday. (FYI: Most Thursdays, the desserts run out early.)

On a recent Thursday I had a great hot dog, soup and cornbread, tea and banana pudding; it ran me about $3.50. Now that's a sweet deal!

But Pastor Bob Szymanski and his congregation don't stop there. Once a month, the church distributes Angel Food Boxes.

Angel Food Ministries, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization, provides food relief and other benevolent outreaches nationwide. As a host site, Oak Grove church distributes 25 to 30 boxes of food each month.

Each box costs $30, which is far less than you'd pay at any grocery store for all the food it contains. You don't have to meet any income requirements to purchase an Angel Box. Just call Frances Hudson at 704-599-1872 for details.

The food comes in once a month on a truck. Volunteers unload the cases and parcel out the food to the individual boxes. The whole process takes about two hours.

For information about Angel Food Ministries, as well as monthly menus, check the Web site at If you can't go on-line, just call Frances. She's always happy to speak with folks, and she can give you all the information. If you don't need this food, you might consider purchasing a box to be distributed free to a needy family.

Again, Frances will be delighted to help you.