What is a meal ministry? It is the act of serving others through the provision of a meal (or several meals).
Who can have a meal ministry? The list is endless. It can be done through a church, a Bible study group, a women’s ministry, a homeschool group, a small group of friends, as a family, or individually.
Who should the recipients be? Anyone you want to bless and let know you are thinking of them; but, especially remember those who are sick, injured, undergoing cancer treatments, or dealing with a drastic life change (a funeral, a new addition to the family, etc.)
What do you provide? Its hard to remember everything that was brought over to me and my family, and I regret not writing it all down and not taking any pictures, but I will try to recall what I can:
- Stuffed Shells
- Baked Ham
- Pork Roast
- Pulled Pork BBQ
- Sausage and potato casserole
- Frozen Pizza and Delivered Pizza
- Chicken casseroles and Baked Chicken Dishes
- Chipped beef gravy with toast
- Chili, Chicken and Noodles, Beef Stew
- Roast beef with potatoes and carrots
- Three friends even got together and had a "freezer meal party" where they made us 10 ziplock bags of meals that go from the freezer to the crockpot. These have been great for those nights when I just don’t feel energetic enough to make supper.
Is there anything specific that should or shouldn’t be done with a meal ministry? A great site to go to for ideas is TAKE THEM A MEAL BLOG. It is full of great advice on what to do for a meal ministry. Some things this website includes are a free meal scheduler, a list of RECIPES to choose from, 7 STEPS TO TAKING A MEAL, and HOW TO BLESS THEM BEST.
On another note, several thoughtful folks chose not to prepare an evening meal for us, but decided to bless us with a sweet treat or something for breakfast instead - things like cinnamon rolls, banana bread, a coffee cake, or baggies with frozen smoothie ingredients in them. These were very helpful in getting me to eat something for breakfast or snacks when I just didn’t feel like preparing something myself. So, if you don’t feel comfortable preparing a complete meal for someone, think about blessing them with a quick bread or some muffins. These can be placed in the freezer and easily pulled out when needed.
There are others who may not live nearby, but still want to help a family out in some way. Gift cards to local restaurants, or even the local grocery story deli, are big helps in this case. I am so thankful for the gift cards we received to places like Subway and Casey’s Pizza.
No matter what you decide to give, when food is involved, I suggest the following, based on our own recent experiences:
- Ask if there are any food allergies or intolerances. We have definite peanut/nut allergies in our family, as well as a few intolerances that can’t be overlooked. For example, my husband will not touch a tuna casserole! LOL.
- Disposable containers are great. If that is not an option, do not refrain from giving a meal; but if you are able to use them, please do.
- A dessert is not necessary with every meal. There were times we received several desserts in one week, and there was no way our family of 4 could have eaten them all. In those cases, we ended up blessing another family with a dessert, which is fine; but, in cases where meals are brought over several days in a row, ask the family first if they would like a dessert. Or, a better option would be to bring over a fruit salad, or some fresh fruit that can be used either for dessert or for a healthy snack.
- Most of all, HAVE FUN blessing others with a meal! It is something that is truly appreciated more than words can say.