Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Meals on Wheels

I'm in charge of our chapel's "Meals on Wheels" program. 
Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt
Whenever someone is sick, has surgery, has a baby, has somone in the family hospitalized, or has a death in the family, we want to show our love in the practical way of supplying some meals. My team of meal providers are great at saying "yes" when I call and ask if they can provide a meal. 

Recently, we've helped a family whose dad has/had leukemia and a stem cell transplant. That required some creative ideas, I'll mention in another post. When radiation treatments for for breast cancer wore a mother out, we were there. And even more fun, we get to be among the first visitors to many new babies!

This is actually my granddaughter

I like this ministry because it not only shows love to the person who is sick or suffering, but to their extended families, neighbors and others! One woman (before my watch on this ministry) was dealing with a severe flare up of fibromyalgia received meals for weeks. She said her neighbors started talking and asking, “Who are all these people bringing you meals?” When I had surgery and was told I was not to even cook for the first week I was home, the nurse was amazed when I told her that the women at my church would be providing meals.

Of course, I like this ministry because it’s right up my alley—meals! If you want to use meals as ministry, but hospitality is just too scary (and it's really not!) try getting involved in something like this. In our circle we've each only needed to provide two or three meals a year usually, and you don't have to be part of an organized team to call up a friend and ask, "Would it help if I brought you dinner one night this week?"

Along the way, I’ve learned some tricks:

1. Always ask if there are any foods any one can’t eat. (One man told me he couldn’t have lobster or filet mignon. I told him not to worry!)

2. Find out how many are eating. Sometimes a family has an extra person helping out, or teenagers who won’t be home for the meal. Never assume; you might end up creating more work by some people needing to cook anyway.

3. Ask how they want the meal—ready to eat, ready to heat, ready to thaw and heat, are some options. Don’t expect them to do various steps, processes, or serving tricks. Keep it simple.

4. Send the food in disposable dishes. That way they don’t have to worry about getting it back to you, an extra chore in a life that is either full of doctors appointments, or pain or weariness. And you don’t have to worry that your casserole dish will find a new home. (An exception might be if you want an excuse to visit again and you’ll pick it up.)

5. Make time to stay a minute and visit, if the patient is up to a visit, or to wash a few dishes and straighten up the kitchen.

Peanut Butter cookies on a pretty paper plate

From time to time, I’d like to suggest a recipe that will work well for delivering to someone else, or for your own dinner table. Here’s one idea for a meal that I made recently:

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Carrot salad (my favorite salad, served very often)
Garlic Bread
Peanut Butter cookies

Chicken and Rice Casserole in disposable pan

Carrot salad with pineapple and apple and dried cranberries.

Garlic bread--I sprayed the bread with cooking spray
and sprinkled it with garlic salt before toasting and slicing it.


  1. I don't know if you've ever used this site: but it is an awesome tool to coordinate meals and help for people who need it. When we were in Seminary we would always use it to help couples with newborns. It made it easy for people to sign up, check out what others were taking, and have as many helpers as possible!
    Plus the family would always know if someone was signed up to help them, and what the menu was!!

  2. Pili, thanks for this suggestion. I'd never known about this site. It would be especially great for people who have long term illnesses. I'll be looking into it!



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