A good friend of mine from Georgia has a rule: “Whether things are really good, or things are really bad, always bring food.”
I laughed at the time, but those few words, spoken almost flippantly, have stuck with me. My friend is a matriarch of Southern hospitality, complete with pearls and Mary Janes, but also just as comfortable in her fraying Georgia Bulldogs ball cap. She’s right though; taking meals to friends and family during the ups and downs of life is important. Food is the Grand Poobah of comforting gestures.
Have you ever received meals from friends and family during a time when cooking was just not feasible? Say after a loss? Or a surgery? I’m part of a small group that routinely cooks meals for a family with a young child with severe medical problems. (Full disclosure: except that I forgot a couple weeks ago and had to scramble to make it up to them.)
As my friend says, food is also great for happy occasions like the birth of a baby. (I have to take a moment for a personal shout out. This past Sunday, some good friends had a baby daughter. Welcome to the human race, Baby McKenna!)
So, guess what? This morning, I received an email from my Georgia friend about meals for McKenna and her new parents, with a link to a website that helps you coordinate food delivery called (appropriately): Take A Meal. Thought you all might be interested in case this is one of your ways to volunteer or give of your time (and hopefully, for the receiving party, utilize your excellent cooking skills). The site offers a place for central scheduling as well as recipe ideas if you’re coming up blank or trying to minimize the number of tuna casseroles your friend receives. It also provides email reminders, which considering my mess up a couple of weeks ago, is a great feature.
It’s obvious the people at Take A Meal have done this once or twice. They even provide a great list of logistical questions to ask the receiving party prior to food showing up at their house…all the way from available freezer space and food allergies…to secure drop-off locations and hours.
This past winter, my husband did a tour of duty overseas, so we were out of the country for a while. I came back ahead of him, and let me tell you how nice was it to find my formerly-stark fridge laden with BBQ pulled pork, Southern mac n’ cheese, salad, homemade quiche, berry fruit medley, bagels, OJ and milk. Oh…and on the counter, Girl Scout cookies and a bone for my dog. Do I have some super friends, or what?
The little things truly do make a difference. They truly do warm the heart, serving as reminders that we are not alone in this life. Others are there to support and celebrate with us.
What have been your experiences with taking/receiving meals during the good and bad times?