Do y’all remember the picture of our refrigerator that I shared back at the beginning of the Happy Baby’s life?
It was AMAZING.
Thanks to our church and TakeThemAMeal.com, I literally didn’t make a meal for our family for like 2 and a half months straight.
And we are still occasionally getting meals!
Like this past Sunday a precious friend felt the Lord lay it on her heart to bring us lunch. I cannot even tell you what a blessing that was as the Happy Baby had been reeeeaaalllllly sick all weekend long with a cold/cough that made him throw up everything he ate (as if we needed any more issues with food!). He’s lost a ton of weight and I’ve been a wreck trying to keep putting him in the basket. Needless to say, we hadn’t been sleeping much and food had slipped off the priority list.
We certainly continue to be sanctified over here. 🙂
Bringing meals to someone who is hurting is a profound ministry.
I have put together a list of a few things that I learned from all the wonderful people who served us during the Happy Baby’s hospital stay.
This list of ideas features the fun details that you might want to add to make the meal experience extra special for the person in need.
If you are looking for a list of practical meal-taking tips (like what to bring and how to deliver the meal), then you MUST check out this super-thorough post over at Simple Bites.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Food is food. If someone wants to drop a simple rotisserie chicken on our doorstep, we’d be absolutely thrilled. Or even a gift card to a restaurant or grocery store is a huge blessing. Someone even had pizza delivered to our house from Domino’s a few times!
Like I said, any food is good food.
But if you happen to have a few extra minutes, these simple ideas might make all the difference in brightening the recipient’s day.
1. Scripture Verses – I had NEVER thought to do this before until several of our friends did it for us! You see the pan above? Do you love how she scribbled an encouraging word from the Bible on the lid?
Such an easy thing to do!
Pick out a verse and add it to your pans with a marker before bringing the meal to the person in need.
Find several great comforting Scripture suggestions HERE. Or a simple Luke 1:53, “He has filled the hungry with good things…” would be good!
2. Remember the Kids – One thing that made our trial easier to handle was that when friends brought us food, they not only brought the food, but brought the Happy Buddy a little treat as well.
Do you see the bin above filled with toys?
The Happy Buddy received so many fun little trinkets during the first 3 months of the Happy Baby’s life that I had to start storing the excess in this bin where we would go and pick something out on an exceptionally difficult or rainy day.
All this thoughtfulness made the Happy Buddy ECSTATIC for visitors on meal drop-off days.
Every day he would ask me, “Who’s coming to visit us today, Mommy?” and it filled his little heart with such hope for something good – which did my heart some good during a season where I found it incredibly difficult to muster the energy to be creative with him.
So if the person facing a crisis has children, remembering them is an awesome blessing.
3. Include the Recipe – Oh man. This one is KEY!
We ate so many delicious meals.
Poppyseed Chicken, Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, Shrimp Linguine, Slow Cooked BBQ Pork, this FABULOUSNESS, and someone even made us a Pork Tenderloin!
So many delicious meals that the Happy Hubby was often like, “Wife, this was awesome. We must eat this again. Can you get the recipe?”
It made it really helpful when I could flash the included recipe card at him and say, “Consider it done, my love!”
4. Tupperware Is Your Friend – Seriously. When a person is going through a crisis, the LAST thing they need to think about is returning pans and dishes to the right people.
So bring all the food in tupperware or aluminum pans and then just kiss ’em goodbye because do you see that photo above?
With the Happy Baby in the hospital, my brain felt like scrambled eggs most days, so I appreciated not having to worry about dissecting that pile to each piece’s original owner.
*Note – If you brought us a meal and you see your tupperware here, let me know if you want it back.* 🙂
5. Paper City – Having to do dishes is the pits anyway, but having to do them when you are going through something difficult is even more of a challenge.
It was an extra special blessing when people would throw some paper plates and paper napkins in with the meal.
White paper plates and napkins will do the trick, but fun ones are even better. 🙂
6. Bring What They Love – Some of my favorite meals that people brought were the ones where they asked the Happy Hubby and me what we were really craving.
Some people facing a crisis might lose their appetites and not ever feel like picking up a fork.
The Happy Hubby and I ate our way to comfort for the first 3 months of the Happy Baby’s life.
In fact, the Happy Hubby commented last night that he recently noted that the short walk to the mailbox now makes him get sweat stains – a direct result of the billion pans of brownies (his fave sweet) that people brought to us.
Me? I am obsessed with fruit, salads, and snack mixes. It was pure bliss to receive a giant I-don’t-have-to-return-it-tupperware filled with fruit or a salad piled with a bunch of veggies that I didn’t have to chop.
The image above is of one of my favorite indulgences that a sweet friend delivered – People Chow. Something about eating that stuff helped life feel a little bit better – even if just for the
hour 10 minutes of crunching.
Decide to make the person in crisis’ food dreams come true. Ask them what they would love to eat and then make it happen.
Asking is also good so that you know if they have been enjoying 500 pans of lasagna in a row and need a bit of change.
*And here are a few bonus resources for you…*
Embellish offers FREE Printable Compassionate Dinner Note Cards for you to slap on the dish you are toting.
Did you know that there is a website called Spoonful of Comfort that allows you to send a giant jar of Chicken Noodle Soup to someone in need?
This is especially helpful if the person you want to comfort lives far away.
The soup is amazing and the packaging is adorable – check it out.
And, finally, have you ever wondered how to effectively pack everything you want to deliver to the person in need?
The Busy Budgeting Mama brilliantly suggests using the humble diaper box (as well as several other cute ideas, printables, and recipes for bringing meals to new mommies. Be sure to check it out!).
I sure hope this was helpful!
One last thing… If you are reading this and you are one of the many precious people who brought us a meal while the Happy Baby was in the hospital, I cannot thank you enough. Your kindness and attention to detail and generosity absolutely blew us away. The nourishment you provided satisfied us way beyond our physical needs. God bless you, sweet friends!!
I can’t wait to return the favor one day – with Disney-themed napkins, of course.
Happy Bring a Meal-ing! 🙂
Thanks for sharing this! I’m always intimidated about making meals for a family I don’t know well, but am actually looking forward to the next opportunity! Blessings for you and yours …
Great tips Julie! It’s amazing how easy it is to “be the hands and feet” of Christ to someone, by simply bringing them a meal. So glad you guys were blessed by so many people! I wish I could have brought you one! Also, how fun to see my Grandma’s recipe in your picture! I miss that sweet lady! Love you!!!
Take Them A Meal
Julie, so glad that the site could be a resource for your community in blessing and providing for your family. Thanks for sharing your story and these other great resources!
Our daughter had an 11 wk NICU stay when she was born 12 weeks premature. She is now a happy and healthy 19 month old. All these things I am reading remind me of what wonderful things our family and friends did for us during that time. Women at our church brought us food for 3 months! It was amazing. We wouldn’t of gotten through it without any of them. I think it is great you are encouraging people to do the same for others. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks!