by Sarah Lyons
Each time we added another child to our family and friends brought meals to our home to help with the transition. Adding a new baby to the family can temporarily turn the house upside down and having the privilege of a ready made meal was a huge blessing. Now, when the opportunity presents itself our family loves to turn that blessing around to others. Since casseroles are many people’s go-to dish, providing other meals can be a fun break for the family. Here are some ideas that will get you thinking outside the casserole dish:
Not just dinner
Families have to eat three meals a day, not just dinner. Try bringing muffins, fruit, yogurt, or an egg bake for breakfast. For lunch, bring sandwich fixings or soup along with pre cut veggies or a salad. Also consider bringing a breakfast dish for dinner.
No need to cook
No time to cook an extra meal? Bring the family take out from their favorite restaurant or one that they have been wanting to try. Gift cards can also be an easy way to provide a meal for a family because they can use them at their leisure. A gift card for a restaurant that delivers is an added bonus. Another easy idea is to pick up a pizza and breadsticks or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Provide a salad and dessert and dinner is served.
If the family is in need of more than one meal, set up a meal train for them. Discuss what days of the week work best and how many meals they would like to have per week. Use a website like www.signupgenius.com or www.takethemameal.com to set up a meal schedule and recruit friends and family to fill the open slots. These websites work great because it allows you to list the families likes and dislikes, and best time to deliver. Utilize social media to recruit friends and family.
Fill the freezer
Another creative way to provide meals for families is to stock the freezer and pantry. Make homemade items that freeze well like casseroles, soups, or crock pot meals. You can also pick up easy pre-made meals at the grocery store like frozen ravioli, pizzas, and quick fix snacks like chicken tenders. Stock the pantry with staples like pasta and sauce, peanut butter, cereal, boxed dinners, rice, and other staples. Recruit friends to help and have one person deliver the items to the family.
Many new moms struggle to find time to take care of themselves. Offer to bring lunch and stay to help out. Let mom put up her feet while you tidy up, play with the kids, vacuum, or hold the baby. Encourage her to take a short nap or a relaxing shower. These little gestures can make a big difference in someone’s day.
Providing food doesn’t have to mean providing a meal. Families need snacks, lunch box goodies, and quick fix items as much as they need meals. Consider providing these items or a small bag of snacks and special treats for the family. Other items like magazines, small toys, or a thoughtful card could also be added to the treat bag.
Keep it cool
When the family is busy or would prefer not to be interrupted, consider setting a cooler with ice on the porch. Friends can deliver the meal at their leisure and when the family is ready they can find it in the cooler to heat up at their convenience.
Many grocery stores provide online ordering and drive up service. Have the family order and pay for the groceries and offer to pick them up for them so they don’t have to worry about running to the store. If you would like to go the extra mile, help carry them in and put them away. You can also check in with them before running errands for yourself and offer to pick up items they need. The family will be grateful they have one less errand to worry about.
Providing food for a family is a great way to show you care, especially during a time of transition.