Have you ever found yourself staring at an email from Meal Train or Sign-up Genius? Or an old fashioned clip board passed around in your Sunday School class? You know, Somebody Jones is sick or Somebody Smith just had a baby. Or maybe your class has a new adoptive or foster family. You ask yourself, “Should I sign up?” The answer is “Yes!” Always (within reason), “Yes!”
I seem to be surrounded by both fragile and fruitful people, so I have a bit of practice delivering meals. A new mom suggested last week that I write a blog post about my process. Maybe these thoughts can make it easier for you to say “Yes!” next time.
1. Recognize that delivering meals is rarely convenient. However, Galatians 5:13 reminds us, “through love, serve one another.” Delivering food can be one of the most practical ways to engage people and meet specific needs. Helping in this way extends love and demonstrates to a watching world how family cares for each other. In short, delivering meals is a form of hospitality.
2. Plan ahead. When you cook a meal for yourself, double it, and freeze some of it so that you are ready to go next time the opportunity comes up. Keep extra meat and veggies in the freezer so that you can cook quickly for someone in a pinch.
3. How many? As you plan your food, make sure you know how many are in the house. Relatives sneak in, sometimes, and you want to make sure that you cover everyone.
4. Special dietary needs? For example, chocolate chip cookies are my love language, but they have to be gluten- and white rice-free. Its not so hard to find appropriate recipes that work for people, but it makes a world of difference to pay attention to these needs.
5. Go easy on the carbs. It’s simple for a family to get a pizza delivered, but not so easy to cook a balanced meal. Include salad, veggies, and fruit, prepared and ready to go. I like to include a hearty lettuce salad, but put each topping in a separate baggie so that the family can top the salad as they desire.
6. Consider soup. I keep jars of broth and beans (frozen 3/4’s full and initially on an angle) in my freezer along with chopped veggies, rotisserie chicken, and cooked ground beef. Throw them together in creative fashion, and Bob’s your uncle!
7. Costco (Sam’s Club, SPAR, Carrefour, Woolies, etc) is your friend. Don’t be afraid to bring a balanced Kirkland meal to someone, just make sure it is all ready to go. Clean, chop, cook in your kitchen so it is ready to go in theirs.
8. Make it all disposable. As much as you possibly can, deliver the meal in disposable containers. Half Roaster pans are amazing! Zip lock baggies. Old pickle jars. You get the idea. Don’t make the family wash dishes or store your favorite Tupperware. Include disposable plates, napkins, cups, silverware, too. They will thank you.
9. Are there (other) kids around? Maybe the sick person has children, or there are big siblings to the new baby. Is there something you can include that would help occupy and distract the kids a little? New book? Coloring pages or a simple craft? Tuck a note in to include the kids–they are adjusting, too.
10. Figure out the best way to be present. Sometimes people need company with the meal, and with their invitation, I’ll pack enough for me to join them. Sometimes you don’t need to even go in the house. I love new babies, but first-time parents are scrambling enough to figure out how to take care of this creature without worrying about your germs and bacteria and corona virus.
11. Include additional food if possible. Maybe include a breakfast that can be heated up–quiche or breakfast burritos that freeze well. Also, consider including fixings for school or work lunches for the next day.
It takes time, but what a joy it is to care for people so practically. Next time, say “Yes!” You’ll figure it out and be a blessing!
Anything else you would add?