‘Angel Food Ministries’
Encouraging Self-sufficient Neighbors

by Robyn Hatch

The Morris family from Derry

In times of economic trouble, it is heartwarming to discover avenues that really care, and Grace Assembly of God is one of those.  Located in a pretty little church on 199 Zion Hill Road, this church teaches the “word of God.”  With an assembly of people, Grace Assembly has been busy developing its ‘Angel Food Ministries’ to anyone in New England.  People are now able to come and pick up boxes of food, monthly, at a discounted affordable price.  They believe the food is better appreciated if the recipients pay a small amount, then they give more value to the food and do not feel they are being given handouts.  Certainly, if needed, food stamps are accepted.  People – some who have come many times before and some who are new to this process – all wait in the lobby with their boxes and bags for the food.  This also appears to be a social event where everyone laughs and talks about daily events and struggles, from children to senior citizens.  This event helps to give the recipients value and joy to their lives.

Packages are developed as “regular boxes,” “senior convenience,” and “allergen-free,” from a balanced nutrition and variety box with enough food to feed a family of four for a week, to ten perfectly seasoned, heat and serve nutritionally-balanced, fully-cooked meals, to food processed to eliminate the eight top serious allergens (peanuts, soybeans, milk, eggs, fish, crustacea, tree nuts, and gluten).

The ‘Angel Food Ministries’ program began in 1994 with 34 families and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 35 states.  Here in Salem, the program began in September 2008.

This ministry came about because of a strong need to help folks.  After a $6.97 million loan by the USDA as part of the president’s faith-based initiative (the largest such loan ever awarded), this ministry has doubled the distribution in over three years.  Angel is reaching and growing beyond anything that could have been imagined and has made connections all over the country.  Churches, volunteers, and families throughout the nation are helping.  This Angel-Food program allows people to gain a sense of self-sufficiency by purchasing affordable food, while strengthening the community as neighbors get to know one another during distribution.

For more information, please call Grace Assembly of God at 898-1650 or visit graceag@metro2000.net.

Glen Theodore, church member, checking the egg boxes for pickup

Paul Druary leads the prayer

Aaron Torres and Priscilla Lantiqua (brother and sister), ready to help

Arianna’s Bunny Drive

submitted by Arianna Centazzo

Arianna Centazzo

In November of 2004 I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Permanent Junctional Reciprocating Tachycardia, which is a rare form of Supraventricular Tachycardia.  This condition would cause my heart to beat over 300 beats per minute.  I was on medication three times a day for a few years and wore heart monitors frequently.

Two years ago I underwent heart surgery to repair my heart so that I could live a normal life.  The surgery was considered a success.  I have been seeing my cardiologist for regular follow-ups, and I was recently released from his care.  I am now considered fully recovered.

Besides being extremely grateful for the care we received at the Children’s Hospital, what I remember the most from my hospital stays is the children.

I would like to show my appreciation to the hospital by giving to the children who are patients.  I will be having an Easter Bunny Stuffed Animal Drive.  I will deliver the bunnies to the hospital, to he handed out to all of the children who are in the hospital on Easter Sunday.

I would be extremely grateful to you if you could donate to this worthy cause.  We are looking for “new” Easter bunny stuffed animals.  They can be sent to me at 208 Lancaster Farm Road, Salem, or dropped off at either Salem Haven or Saint Matthews Church.  All bunnies should be received by April 1, 2009.  Our goal is 420 bunnies.  This would ensure that every child in the hospital would receive one.

My sincere appreciation, and God bless you for your help.

Local Candidates Express Education Views

by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz

NH Connections and the Woodbury School PTSA sponsored a forum last week for all candidates seeking election to the Board of Selectmen, Municipal Budget Committee, and Salem School Board.  The focus of the forum was education.  Each candidate was allotted a five-minute time spot to respond to three questions; what the most important issue facing the school district is, how to provide enhanced education without a tax increase, and whether or not special education students currently sent out of district should be receiving education in Salem.


Selectman Arthur Barnes is seeking another term to the Board of Selectmen.  He feels the most important issue facing Salem schools is the integration of kindergarten into the current curriculum.  Barnes said he feels it could be a challenge to the school district.  Immediately after implementing kindergarten, the school district will need to move forward with permanent housing for the additional students.  In regards to working to enhance education without a tax increase, Barnes said if re-elected he would see that the Board of Selectmen work with the school board and budget committee on major capital expenses, rather than competing for the same pool of funding (the tax payers).  Barnes’ response to keeping certain special education students in district or sending out of district, feels it makes sense to continue to send these students out of district.  He says he would look into the situation and see if it is feasible to bring them back, but the necessary services, staffing and classrooms would need to be available for them.

Selectman Elizabeth Roth is currently Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.  She too is seeking another term to the board.  Roth also feels that kindergarten is a major issue the school district is currently faced with.  Roth advocated for kindergarten citing that children who do not attend kindergarten are not on the same wavelength as their peers once in first grade.  Roth also agreed with Arthur Barnes that the Board of Selectmen should really try working with the school board and budget committee especially when huge capital items are brought before the voters.  Roth also agreed with Barnes in regards to the issue of out of district special education students.  Roth feels that if the school district considers bringing some of the students back work may need to be done.  “First we need to look at what is best for the students, and if the school district can accommodate their needs,” Roth said.

Roland Theberge is seeking a seat with the Board of Selectmen.  He too feels the kindergarten issue is very important.  Theberge says he knows the Town and school district both have many needs.  He cited the needs for major repairs or renovations at both Salem High School and Woodbury Middle School.  “We also need to worry about additions to the elementary schools for kindergarten.  We have to plan.  How are we going to handle in an efficient manner?  That is what leadership is all about.  I believe I am ready and can do the job,” Theberge said.  His response to the issue of bringing out of district special education students back was first learning the cost.  “What are the needs they have?  Do we have the room?  How much staff will need to be fired?  Is it economic for them to continue using the facilities they are at or should we work with another town?”  Theberge said.

Paul Welch is a first time runner for office.  He feels the biggest issue all around is tax increases.  Welch said, “I’m a big supporter of education but there will be budget cuts coming.  The way the economy is, budget cuts are going to be drastic.  The revenue we knew before won’t be there.”  He said as Selectman he would see that the board helps decide what budget cuts are made, he also said there will be no department in town that does not see cuts within their budgets.  In regards to the special education issue Welch feels that these students should be kept inside the Salem School District, and not sent out of district.

(Selectmen candidate Ronald Belanger was not present)

School Board

Pamela Berry is current chairman of the Salem School Board.  She is seeking another term to the school board.  She feels there are several issues of importance that the school district is facing: integration of kindergarten, addressing the conditions of the districts facilities, and the need for improvement to the district’s math and literacy curriculums.  She also feels the school board needs to look into ways to earn revenue.  “We just don’t have the ability to obtain revenue like the Town does,” Berry said.  More revenue to the school district would make it easier to have less of a tax impact.  The issue of sending special education students out of district is important to her as well.  She says she is working to help keep some of these students here, but some of the students have certain needs that require them to receive their education at another facility.

Bob Bryant is also seeking re-election to the school board.  He feels the concerns facing the school district are kindergarten, since the town has discussed it for 20 years and also seeking to improve education.  “We are always seeking to improve the way we deliver education.  It’s nice to have a ‘No Child Left Behind’ mandate, but it would have been nice if the government sent along $100,000 with that mandate,” Bryant said.  He also said the issue of out of district special education students is being looked into.  He said currently the district is sorting through the needs of individual children to see if they can come back, but warns that with this comes the hiring of additional staff, nurses, psychotherapists, etc.  All have a cost attached.  He also said the current special education classes being held in former storage closets and other similar space available is unacceptable.

(Candidates Dane Hoover and Janet Bruce were not present)

Municipal Budget Committee

William Carter is seeking a spot with the Budget Committee.  He feels the need to reconstruct the school district infrastructure is very important.  “We need 10-15 years to do this.  We need to put a plan together and fix the pieces that need to be put together.  We need to work through these tough financial times.  Keep current residents working.  Hire local contractors to do the work and put our schools in order.  This needs to be a team effort – not just one board but all the boards working together.  Taking a community approach,” said Carter.  He also feels that a comprehensive plan should be put together and that Salem should work with the surrounding school districts in regards to special education students being sent out of district, but the cost must be looked at and it will need to have a positive outcome for the children.

Ann Marie David is seeking another term with the Budget Committee.  She feels that today’s curriculum needs improvement, citing that students in Asian countries treat education as a job not a privilege, hence performing better in school.  She feels if students wore uniforms and showed the respect that Asian students do, improvement in education would not increase taxes.  She also feels that the special education issue would need to have the finances worked out, yet would have to meet the requirements set by federal law.  She feels more information on this topic is needed.

Ron Giordano is seeking a seat with the Budget Committee.  He feels the maintenance of school facilities and the educational system in general is the best way to get more for less.  He says he would work alongside with the Board of Selectmen and School Board to see what can be done that will benefit everyone and keep taxes low.  He also suggested working with surrounding school districts when purchasing supplies to see if a better price is obtained by purchasing in bulk.  Giordano also says the special education students sent out of district can be brought back, citing a similar problem Lawrence, MA schools faced until they developed their own program especially for special education students that were sent out of district.

Jim Ribaudo is also seeking a seat with the Budget Committee.  He thinks that all the boards need to work together towards positive results.  He also cites that Salem has a very favorable tax rate compared to those towns around Salem.  He also said that many people do not realize that all large portion of the school district’s budget is already for special education, and providing special education to students who need it is required by law.  “A lot of work needs to be done in Salem.  People need to be aware and pay attention to what is going on in town so they can make informed decisions,” Ribaudo said.

(Candidate Russell Frydryck was not present)

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