10 Thoughtful Meal Ministry Ideas

10 Thoughtful Meal Ministry Ideas 

 

There’s no doubt that meal ministry is a blessing.

I’ve seen the look of gratitude from the eyes of many new moms, those who are mourning, those who are healing…and those who Just. Need. A. Break.

Making someone a meal is faith in action, it’s loving, it’s helpful, and it’s healing. My heart’s deepest desire-and I know yours is as well,  is to find ways to serve these special individuals in the best way possible…so that the blessing of a meal is truly a blessing. Let me explain…

Here are 10 Thoughtful Meal Ministry Ideas… to bless them best

1. Ask Questions! If you are heading up a “Take Them a Meal” schedule, be very specific in your instructions at the top of the invite. Make sure to ask the family if they have allergies, are on a certain diet, their likes, and dislikes. You certainly don’t want to make a peanut butter pie for a family with a child who has a peanut allergy. Now, this would be with very good intentions, but in the end not the blessing you wanted them to have.

2. Schedule Meals Every Other Day -After years of planning meals, I’ve noticed a common thread…”Janelle, I appreciate these meals so much, but can you change delivery to every other day instead of every day? My refrigerator is overflowing with leftovers that we have not had enough time to eat”. When our family experienced a death, my friend Katina set up a Take them a Meal asking me what dates we would be home and how many meals we needed during that time. It was so helpful and appreciated. 

3. Use Throw-Away Containers: Your recipient will be so relieved he/she doesn’t have to clean-up and find you later to return your dish {I recommend Chinet Bakeware!}. Not long ago one of my friends mentioned she had a huge “lost and found”pile of dishes. She was going through way too much in life to remember who they belonged to and felt bad she couldn’t return them. If you do, by chance, have to make and take in a dish you need back, put your name on it and let your recipient know he/she can leave it on his/her porch the next day and you will pick it up.  

4. Offer Your Recipient “Cooler Service”: Families in mourning might prefer to set a cooler outside their front door for meals to be placed in rather than to answer the door.  There are times in our lives when we are struggling so badly, we have no conversation to offer…or when we just don’t have the energy to clean our home and opening it up to a stranger {or even someone we know} is embarrassing.

5. Ask Your Recipient If They Would Rather Have “Take-Out”: Some people are stand- offish about eating food made by someone they don’t know. That’s okay! I would much rather know that so I can bless them in a way they want to be blessed! It’s not about me! Gift cards are also very much appreciated.

This option is great for long-distance meal ministries as well. I will never forget dear Adina from TTAM sending me a meal even though she lives miles away. Find out where your recipient lives and google delivery services around them. Or, you can use services such as A Bowl of Good

6. Ask Your Recipient If They Would Prefer Freezer Meals: Good stress is still stress…when a new mom is nursing and the door bell is ringing, it can be pretty stressful! Delivering a freezer meal ahead of time {a week before the due date} gives a new mom comfort in knowing a meal is available, but she doesn’t have to open her home to guests if she’s trying to get acclimated with her baby’s routine. 

7. Order a Pizza on a Friday Night! Friday nights are our family’s fun nights! I remember coming home with our 3rd baby and a sweet neighbor ordered us a pizza and made us dessert. When my dear mother-in-law passed away this year, Courtney  was so thoughtful to send our family a gift card for pizza. Again, it was such a blessing for me not to have to cook and it was a fun Friday night meal. (BTW, pizza is my favorite meal-it honestly is.) 

8. Add a Tidbit Tray For the Week:  When you deliver a meal, add cut up fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses in a separate container. This will be a convenient treat for the family to snack on throughout the week {Thanks to my friend Melissa for this tip}.


{Tip: Send along a “Tidbit Tray” for a week of healthy snacks!}

9. Add a Breakfast Casserole: This Fall, when my husband had surgery, a dear friend of mine Jennifer, brought me delicious soup for dinner and made me a breakfast casserole to have the next morning. That meant 2 meals were covered for my family! Wohoo! Such a great idea.

10. Make a “Grown-Up Meal and a Kid’s Meal“: It happens in a lot of families…the kids don’t have the same taste buds as the adults do. I do this especially when a child is the focus of the meal ministry…what child doesn’t smile when he sees dirt pudding?

Thank you to all of you who pour your hearts, time and energy into making meals for those who need them. When I wrote this post I kept thinking of the familiar quote “Good, Better, Best..never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best”. All meal ministries are  a “good thing”, but being sensitive to our recipients needs will take our ministry from better to best.

Thanks again and keep serving, my Friends!
Love to you, Janelle

P.S. What are some helpful ideas that you have to share? I would love to hear them.

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Comments

  1. Love all of these ideas, Janelle! One of our neighbors lost her husband several years ago and is still struggling~no children, no other family… nothing. Except us! We’ve “adopted” her into our brood and send meals regularly. Last weekI sent down a simple spaghetti dinner… she called to say thank you and shared that she had only eaten M&M’s and a few crackers that day.
    During these hot summer months, I also like to send fruit bowls along with a meal. Just cut up watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, etc. Blessings to you and yours, Marla

  2. Angela Teal says:

    This is the post I have been waiting for! I have been so inspired for your blog so the other night I decided to take dinner to my mom for starters. I ended up making the most simple meal ever. It seems like such an easy task but it’s not when you are not “comfy in the kitchen”. I didn’t even think about just offering the take out or pizza, and the breakfast casserole is such a great idea! Extremely helpful post Janelle. Thank you!

    • Angela, you just blessed me so much. I pray, pray, pray for readers to become the hands and feet of Jesus- You answered my prayer! Much love to you, Janelle

      • I love hearing that I am answer to prayer!
        Really though, your blog is wonderful and your love for Jesus is so evident and lovely. Such z comfort to read your posts. ❤️

  3. Angela Teal says:

    I meant inspired BY your blog 🙂

  4. Thank you for posting this! Especially thank you for your tip regarding delivering freezer meals to nursing moms before they have their baby!! My sweet son turned 7 weeks old yesterday. Those first 2 weeks were the hardest of my life. I was learning to nurse, recovering from birth, running on NO sleep, and had hormones doing all the changing they do after baby is born. As a first time mama all I wanted was to take care of baby and rest. Several people offered to bring meals but I politely declined because the idea of having someone come in that soon after baby and plop down on my couch to hold my son while I was in the state I was in made me want to sob.

  5. These are great tips! I am not quite comfy in the kitchen but these are all great ideas that would work for many situations and people of all abilities. I brought a friend peanut butter & jelly (I asked what I could bring her) when she was recovering from a serious illness. That was a blessing to her and so simple for me.

    I will keep my eyes open for other opportunities to bless others with a meal. It can be so helpful. Thanks for this amazing ministry and helpful tips.

    • Rachel, as you know- even something simple can minister to someone in such a big way! Thank you for sharing that. Too often we can feel as though we need to go above what we are able and it hinders us from doing what we are called. Love to you, Janelle

  6. I love these ideas. All so smart. Whenever I make a meal to a mom who just had a baby, I always liked to include some sort of breakfast muffin that can double as a snack. If the mom is nursing, chances are she’ll be pretty hungry. But I love the veggie platter idea. Genius.

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