Taking a Meal to a Family in Need is Easy

Taking a meal to another family is easier than we think. Even for working women, it’s easy to help another family out when there is a death, crisis, new baby, or surgery – or whatever the need may be.

If you have the mindset of cooking double, your family’s evening meal can be made at the same time!

But when you are in a hurry, there are quick and healthy options at the grocery store. This past week when my friend had surgery, Costco saved me! My favorite is to take ingredients to make a big chicken salad, along with bread to bake in the oven.

Always leave a note with instructions, in case the kids or whoever is helping with meals in the home:

1. How to bake the bread (temp and time)

2. How to make the salad

3. How to cook the corn

4. And then how to ENJOY the brownies :)

When’s the last time you took a meal to a family in need, and what did you take?

48 comments on “Taking a Meal to a Family in Need is Easy”

  1. Pingback: Bush's Chicken and Beans Nacho Casserole | reluctantentertainer.com Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. Pingback: Reluctant Entertainer 2011 Round-Up - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  3. This is great! While trying to organize our church’s “take a meal” program I realize many people wish to help but many do not cook or lack the time. They as well as those they serve will be blessed by your encouragement. Thank you all for your tips – this is the first I’ve heard about the CareCalendar and Take Them A Meal sites.

  4. Sandy, Please keep posting the meals you gift to others, they truly inspire me and are some of my favourite posts!
    Just off the top of my head, I tend to share breakfast:
    Baskets of homemade muffins [so easy to make a variety and lots of them once you have all of the baking ingredients out] with Fruit salad with the best fruit I can find [I didn’t have the energy to chop anything when my baby was born, and I craved healthy food! – there were only so many bananas one girl can eat]
    Other food that has been well recieved:
    Soups
    A plate of cookies or squares – Hello Dolly squares are very easy. I think it’s important to keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to be a full dinner that you gift [although this was your question to all of us].
    Also, we have a place that sells terrific frozen gourmet filled pastas [tortellini, ravioli, manicotti etc.] with fresh pasta sauces – easy for recepiants to throw in the freezer in case they don’t need it right away.

  5. I am at that age and stage where lots of my friends are having babies (me too!) I love to take an ice-cream container filled with snacks- roasted nuts, a mix of home-made biscuits, dried fruit. I also like to take a simple meal like soup and scones- I make big batches of soup and scones at a time and freeze them, then just pull out some of each when I hear of a friend in need. Another favourite meal to make is a roast. If you make LOTS of roast potatoes (which, done well, are the best bit of the meal if you ask me!) and other veg, it doesn’t need to cost alot or even take that much prep time or active work, just lots of baking time, which is fine with me, a stay at home Mum. It’s also a big treat for the family receiving it and seems special.
    I also like to take a packet of popcorn and/or jelly, as they’re both fun snacks that are really simple for anyone to help the kids in the family make and favourites for kids to eat :)

  6. Love the post!
    My meal to take to families has long been a frozen party size lasagna (the 8×10 size), a bag of salad mix complete with croutons and dressing, 1-2 loaves of frozen garlic/cheese bread, and pudding cups. No, none of it is homemade, but no one has ever turned it away. I have even had people ask me for my lasagna recipe! :)
    The lasagna can be delivered frozen or already heated, depending on the desire of the recipient or the scheduled delivery time. The salad comes with everything they need, so its okay if they don’t have dressing in the fridge. It is best to bring the bread frozen, takes 5-8 minutes to reheat and is much better fresh and crispy than lukewarm and soggy. The pudding cups…well, they were my kids’ favorite store bought treat, and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love them. They are also easy, pre-portioned, and make us all feel like kids. I also bring paper plates, plasticware, and paper napkins, so there are no dishes to wash and nothing to return.
    The simplicity of this plan makes it possible for me to be able to say “yes!” cheerfully and easily. I buy the lasganas and frozen bread at a Costco/Sams and keep them in the freezer so I’m ready to help. Just pick-up the salad and pudding on the way to their home….
    Tonia
    PS: If your plan makes you a stress case and a grump to your own family, then you need a new plan! That was the genesis of this plan for me, I can do it, its good, and I can be a blessing both to others AND my own family.

  7. Love that you deliver it in a basket. Last meal, I prepared was for a woman in my study who gave birth. I made quiche and added a bag salad. This is my signature meal to prepare and give. But now I must include brownies!!!

  8. As the head of our church’s Helping Hands Ministry, I found and love TakeThemAMeal.com for scheduling. We are currently taking meals to a family who is ministering to a dying mother. That site gives great tips & hints as well as recipe ideas. I took chicken & rice, green beans, cheese biscuits & a watermelon.

  9. Last meal I took was to a family who just had a baby and the gal who sit it up was using Take Them A Meal and it was so nice to see what others were taking so they didn’t receive the same things. I have a simple chicken casserole that is quick and easy to make and it freezes well so you can do it ahead if you want too, a complete bagged salad kit, some nice french bread and a frozen salad with bananas, pineapple, and cranberry sauce in it..nice and refreshing and you can freeze it for months ahead. I love simple but I also like good taste.

  10. Last meal that I shared was actually two. I took a homemade chicken pot pie to a family who was at hospice with their loved one. I also took along store bought cinnamon rolls, juice and fruit for the next morning. This weekend I am going to visit a family with a newborn, and think that a big salad will be the best bet for this time of year….maybe the goodies from some of the roasted strawberry bruschetta…

  11. Before you bring a homecooked meal to someone’s house, please ask if there is anyone in the family with food allergies, and, if so, how to make accommodations. Approximately 1 in 12 children have food allergies, and there are millions of us adults with food allergies too.

    Sandy, if you would ever like a guest blogger to write a full post on entertaining with food allergic guests, just let me know! ;)

  12. A couple of weeks ago our neighbors feeling very overwhelmed and stressed welcomed into their homes their 3rd and 4th grandchild, to be raised by them instead of their daughter who finds herself overtaken with drugs. They now are raising their 10 year old grandson, 3 year old granddaughter and now twin 8 month old granddaughter and grandson. Overwhelmed and struggling with many other issues I told them that dinner would be delivered to them that evening, to not worry about that need. So I prepared what has become my signature (and oh so easy) crockpot BBQ pork sandwiches, Claussins pickles, a salad, and desert. A quick text came back that evening with a thank you so much for the delicious dinner. This meal has now become her quick and easy go-to meal.
    Then this past Sunday I brought dinner to our friends and their family who were spending their days in Hospice as they said goodbye to their 51 year young, father, husband, brother. Again, I filled my crockpot full of BBQ pork, filled the basket with the buns, chips, pickles, fresh veggies and dip and desert. The room full of family and other Hospice resident family members sat and filled their body and soul with a warm meal while they quietly chatted and shared. The next morning they quietly said goodbye to their amazing husband, father, brother. After the family members go back to their lives and the visits and calls become fewer, again I will fill my crockpot and basket and deliver another meal to fill their bodies and make a visit to fill their soul a bit.

  13. Hi Sandy! Came back to this post to see the meal ideas that ladies shared. Must job some of these down for future reference.

  14. I agree, families are grateful, they are so blessed to be thought of this way. You mentioned organizing meals for a large church, a ministry I have served in started using Care Calendar http://www.carecalendar.org/ to organize meals after we nearly wore out our meals coordinator–she loves her job now! It made a huge difference in making it easier for more people to get involved in providing a meal. Hope this resource helps. (BTW-Chicken Pot Pie is another comfort food so many love and appreciate, especially homemade :)

    Love your heart for reaching out to people and serving.

  15. I love your ‘easy’ method of sharing and uplifting a family!! Never have I thought that it would be okay to not bring everything table ready. This is sooo helpful when I’m too busy but believe I really should bless someone. My wheels are spinning with possibilities now.
    Sandy…you’re the best!!

  16. I always take pulled pork (homemade), buns, chips, and slaw. I throw in paper plates too. That way people can eat individually or as a family. It is also easy to freeze just in case circumstances change or there is too much food. And I always take throwaway containers–a must!!!! Our daughter just had a baby and her friends have been fabulous! Love the “take a meal” websites for signing up too!

  17. Have done this for years either on a whim or when a group email from our community meals coordinator arrives in my inbox. One dish meals like casseroles are great if it is just you providing a single meal. Having been on the receiving end of numerous meals during a crisis (thankfully), I would suggest a little more effort if possible (I’ve heard this feedback from others as well). We were so tickled when someone made a pot roast with all the trimmings for us, it was comfort food and a welcome break from stream of casseroles and “easy” meals. Any time we take a meal to someone in need it not only nourishes their hunger, but their soul as well.

    Great post!

    • Thanks, Judy! I started a meals ministry in a very large church (big job! was happy to pass it on, ha!) and have been on the receiving end with 3 babies, 2 surgeries, my mom dying, and my husband’s parents dying. We were so thankful!

      This post is offering an idea to the busy woman. I often heard from women who work that they didn’t have the time. So, in a sense they missed out on blessing another family.

      I received an email back from this family that they LOVED the salad and it was perfect for a hot summer night.

      I also knew they had a teen daughter who could get in there and help prepare what I brought.

      I really believe that families are SO grateful for whatever they receive.

      (BTW, Chicken Pot Pie is my “wintertime” meal that I bring to people.)

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