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People are in need all around us. Moms with new babies, friends with health issues, families facing all kinds of challenges and struggles. Sometimes it’s something big, like a cancer diagnosis. Other times it may simply be that you notice that your friend has been overwhelmed lately.
Do you ever feel at a loss for how to help. Enter: Food. I am my mother’s daughter, and I show love through food. And clearly I’m not the only one, as I found lots of resources online giving tips and suggestions for meal ministry.
I’d like to share some of the best ones with you today.
Tips When You Want to Take a Meal
Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals … at Simple Bites Here you’ll find practical advice for making and delivering meals. From communicating, meal ideas, packaging, and other ways to show care.
Mommy Meals: Bringing Food to Friends in Need … at Peanut Blossom. If you’re organizing a group to bring meals to someone, this site has lots of suggestions. She shares scheduling sites, a long list of meal ideas, and other tips. One of the best tips was to decide as a group what meals should include, so the family knows what to expect. For example: Main dish, side dish, and dessert.
DIY Stress-Free ‘Take Them a Meal.’ … at Living Porpoisefully. This is a sample meal with some great ideas. One thing I loved was that she added some items for the family for breakfast the next morning. How thoughtful!
Beyond the Casserole: How to Take a Meal to Your Sick Friend like a Rockstar … at NWA Motherlode. This post offers several suggestions that I didn’t see anywhere else. One being…include paper plates so they don’t have to do dishes. Check it out for other tips to be the greatest blessing you can be.
Taking Meals to Grieving and Celebrating Families … at Unique Gifter. My favorite thing here is that she includes a list of other ways to bless families, things like mowing the lawn or cleaning around the house. After we had our second son, a friend hired cleaners to come and it was a huge blessing.
Tips for Taking Meals to Families in Need … at Life is Sweeter by Design. Along with lots of other tips, she reminds us that even if you’re not much of a cook (or just don’t have the time) you can still be a blessing. Either picking up takeout for the family, or giving a gift card is much appreciated.
Be a Blessing
One tip that showed up on just about all of the sites was to bring your meal in disposable containers. When in crisis, it is an added stress to have to remember to clean and return someone else’s dishes. Depending on the meal you’ve brought, this will also allow them the freedom to stick it in the freezer for another night if they want. A freezer meal to pop in the crock pot on a crazy day can be a real God-send.
Make sure, too, that the meal doesn’t require much effort on their part. If they need groceries, that’s a different thing all together, but just bringing a bag of ingredients doesn’t really help them out. Think: Heat and serve.
A few recipes I’ve taken to friends have been:
- Creamy chicken and rice soup
- Other soups
- Lasagna (or veggie lasagna)
- Chicken pot pie
- Pulled pork
- Meatball subs– meatballs in marinara with buns and cheese (Costco has the best meatballs!)
- And any variety of casserole.
The last piece of advice I would offer is this: If a friend in crisis asks for help, drop everything and do it. A friend of mine who lost her husband, and was left with three children under the age of 5 opened my eyes to this years ago. She said that at the funeral, so many people said ‘If you need anything, let me know.’ But when she asked for help (humbled to do so, of course) and time and again they were too busy…she gave up asking. Having been on the receiving end of having to ask for help…I get that! I’m sure you do too, but we still forget sometimes.
So let’s all be conscious, let’s be gracious, let’s be our Lord’s hands and feet.
What are your favorite meals to take to a friend in need?