We have had a lot of people in our community suffering from surgeries, illnesses and injuries lately. I have had a lot of invites for Meal Train! I know that I used to need tips for taking meals to families in need and wanted to share what I have learned over the years!
I was raised in an active and caring church and I grew up watching my mother and my grammy take meals to people after surgeries, babies, deaths, etc. I have been the blessed recipient of meals after each of my children were born via c-section!
Taking meals to those that are struggling through a difficult time is an easy way to be the hands and feet of Jesus! The blessing that meal gives to the family in need is unmeasured! The stress that is lifted off of someone's shoulders is immense! The good news is that you will receive a blessing in doing good!
I think a lot of people are a little intimidated when they are asked or invited to take a meal to someone else. There are those yucky…guilt-ridden…comparison…thoughts that run through our minds so easily. I am not a very good cook….what if they don't like what I make….I am too busy….blah, blah, blah!
I have been guilty of some of those same thoughts! If I allow my mind to run I will stress myself out to the point of not signing up to help. CRAZY….TOTALLY CRAZY!
I don't think the family you are helping is going to be rating your meal….they won't be telling all of their friends what a horrible cook you are, etc. They will be SO grateful…that is it…they will appreciate the time and effort you put in to serve them.
Here are some Tips for Taking Meals to Families in Need
1. Stick to Simple
When you are making a meal for another family it is best to stick to simple dinners that most people like. I try to make things that reheat well because they may have a lot of leftovers. I like to make dinners that I have made before and are no-fail! 🙂 Let's face it…nothing worse then making a meal…it not turning out…now you have 10 minutes to figure out what you are going to drop off! 😡
2. Ask Questions
It is perfectly okay to ask the receiving family or the meal organizer a few questions. Typically the person organizing the meals will let you know about any food allergies and some basic preferences. If you don't have this information…just ask! The family will appreciate the fact that you want to make them something they will actually enjoy and eat! There are so many food allergies these days that this is an important question to ask also! In the past when friends have brought meals for my family…I am never shy to mention that I hate onions, lol! Guess what…no one has ever brought me liver and onions! 🙂
3. Make it EASY
Please, please, please try and make this meal as easy on the receiving family as you can. If at ALL possible, use disposable pans and containers! The family receiving the meal is already going through something….even if it is just the birth of a new baby…they are under stress! They don't have the energy to wash pans and try to get them back to a bunch of people!
4. Be Sweet
I always like to take some kind of dessert. I realize that in my day-to-day life we don't eat dessert every night after dinner (cough, cough…do snack size candy bars count as dessert? I hope not, lol)! BUT….during hard times…sweets help…am I right or am I right? The dessert doesn't have to be fancy and honestly…it doesn't have to be homemade! I have never been offended when someone brought us a meal and it included a box of cookies from the bakery at our local store! If you have time to make some muffins, banana bread, cookies or even a cake from a box…it will be appreciated!
5. Follow Through
I almost didn't add this one…but I am trying to keep it real. I have organized meals for other families and I have received meals…..it seems like every time I have done either of these activities…someone doesn't follow through. I am BUSY….we are all BUSY….but if you sign up to take a meal….then take the meal! Look at your calendar before you sign up and pick a day that will work good for you. If something happens and you are sick or have a sick child and just can't do it….then call the family or the coordinator and offer to order pizza or something like that!
6. Give Yourself Grace
Lastly….a lot of people want to help, but we don't even cook dinner for our own families half the time due to time constraints and schedules. There may not be any way that a mom who works outside the home to get home and get a meal prepared. You can still help!! You could order food from a local restaurant….order pizza….get a 6 foot sub sandwich….buy a bucket of chicken from KFC….. Guess what…you won't be judged! (and if you are…well…I won't say what I think should happen to the judger) When my kids were born we always had church family that would order pizzas for us instead of making a meal….I LOVED IT and so did my kids! We love pizza! I understood that the other families were busy too! Just ask what restaurants the family likes, etc. and you will be fine and still be able to be a blessing to them!
If you haven't heard of Meal Train you should check it out! It is such an easy tool to help you organize meals for another family. It is a great way to be really organized about helping others!
If you need some ideas for easy meals to make for others here are a few that I have used with success in the past! What are your favorite tips for taking meals to families in need?