Men, don’t tune out! You may want to roll your eyes and write this entry off to the “church ladies” responsible for coordinating potlucks, but this is for YOU too. When looking at the overall strategy of our special needs ministries, aid and comfort to those we serve is of paramount importance. That’s why you or those you lead should be finding some way to connect your adherents to help with meals in times of extra difficulty. Surgeries, hospital stays or other challenges such as moving or loss of a job are times where this simple act of kindness can be a big blessing.
TakeThemAMeal.com is the perfect tool for these times. It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there who still don’t know about this terrific, free, web based means to coordinate a food schedule. A speedy, user-friendly platform, the person coordinating meals merely sets up the schedule for the recipient, listing the duration and frequency of the need. Any food sensitivities, dislikes, allergies or preferences can be detailed. Once the page is set up for the recipient, it can be shared with anyone in their circle of family, friends, coworkers, fellow church members or neighbors by e-mail, Facebook or even on their Caringbridge page. Take Them A Meal does all the coordinating, reminding and contacting from that point on. People choose a date on the calendar that hasn’t already been taken. Once they sign up for a date, they are reminded by the platform of their commitment. The recipient can also look online to see if a meal is coming that day, what the meal is, and who is bringing it. There is a connected blog that provides etiquette tips, as well as a page with links for recipes. The entire system is pure genius in my humble opinion.
Recently, we had a family that has multiple children with special needs find themselves in a precarious position. The father was undergoing serious surgery that would require the mother to be away with him at the hospital for a stretch of time. People of good will wanted to step up and provide them with meals for their large family. With children on the autism spectrum that are challenged eaters and others who have food allergies, carry out gift cards where the family could make their own food choices were a much better option. Yet, the wife was concerned about offending any of the well-intentioned who wanted to cook a meal. We set up a Take Them A Meal page for the family and circumvented the worries about etiquette by specifying on the page that all meals should be provided only in the form of a gift card. It was the perfect way to get them the help that they needed, the way that they needed it, without the family having to be put in an awkward position.
If your ministry or your church has not yet tapped into this easy, helpful tool, add it to your war chest today!