Meals From the Heart
A number of months ago, we initiated a new ministry here at St. John’s – a “meal ministry” to assist those who could use a little TLC. Couples who experience the birth of a baby, those getting home from a hospital stay, or who are in a chronic care situation will welcome the offer of a home cooked meal. And it is a good way to offer support and caring from the St. John’s family.
The information below is from an informal gathering where questions and concerns were raised. We have a process in place for contacting those in need and also contacting people to fulfill that need.
Our congregation covers a large part of the city; when we ask for meal assistance (which we do via email), we include the address and usually someone living or working in the vicinity has responded.
We avoid anything with nuts involved because of allergies.
In our initial contact with the family, we ask about all allergies; the last thing we want to do is make anyone ill. We ask who all will be present; e.g., in case of a death extended family may still be in town. We ask ages of children to adjust menus accordingly. We also arrange a convenient time for the meal to be delivered.
Keep the meal simple: casserole or main dish of some sort, salad or vegetable, bread or rolls and maybe a dessert.
Regarding cost: some people want to donate the food as well as their time. That is extremely generous. But not all people can do that and you don’t have to. It is very much appreciated that you are donating your time and effort. For reimbursement, please keep all your receipts; our financial office cannot reimburse without one. Please turn receipts in within 30 days.
We are planning to have on hand disposable containers to transport the food. We are investigating a couple options for bulk purchase to keep the cost down. Until they are available, simply purchase disposable containers and turn in the receipts.
We also plan on having the “big brown bags” with handles to carry the items to the home. We want to have St. John’s logo printed on the bags, and this will be any easy way to transport.
Everyone is willing to share recipes; email is great for that.
And, we need people to deliver the meals, as well as prepare them. If you’re a cook, that’s great! If you’d rather deliver, that’s wonderful as well. Some people prefer to cook in the evening, but aren’t available during the day for deliveries. There are different opportunities to help.
We hope that when needs arise we will have a few days to provide the meal. In the event of something urgent, however, it is good to have items prepared ahead of time. We have freezer space available for storage. So, if you double a recipe sometime or bake an extra batch of whatever, we can store it here at church. Just be sure that everything is labeled clearly and dated. Be sure to include any preparation instructions as well.
If you are interested in assisting in this ministry please contact me via phone (515-243-7691 ext. 115) or email Katie Tippins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you know someone who would benefit from Meals from the Heart, please let me know that as well.
Bless you all for volunteering in this important endeavor.