Wednesday, May 18, 2011

HOSPITALity : Meals for Caregivers

Guest post by Amy H.

Bringing meals is common after the birth of a baby or even after a death in a family. But, take a minute and consider, when else might the provision of a meal be a true blessing?

A family in our church recently experienced an unexpected, long-term hospital stay. While they had lots of family in the area, and their children were all grown--this was certainly a time when bringing meals was appropriate.

Caring for an ill family member can be very consuming, and meals are generally not a priority. This was one need that others could meet. For me, as a SAHM, it was a perfect ministry and I was thankful for the opportunity!

In this case, the meal would be eaten at the hospital so:
  • The meal must be in all disposable containers. There should be nothing to wash or feel the need to return.
  • Everything necessary for eating the meal must be included. A cooled bottle of water, a plate, napkin, plastic ware, and even condiments if needed.
  • This is a single-serve meal. Leftovers will be difficult to keep although I did include a few snack items (like chips that come in a can allowing them to easily be kept for future snacks).
  • The food must be ready to eat when delivered, meaning no heating up or refrigeration required.
  • Because I wanted my children to be involved, I invited them to make cards for the family to be included.
  • Writing out the menu is a nice touch. This can easily be included on a tag or in a card.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables might be refreshing, especially if they've been eating in cafeteria or take-out. For one meal I included a caesar salad with the dressing, Parmesan cheese, and croĆ»tons all separate to keep it fresh.
  • Since I was thinking of my meal as a gift, I wrapped it up in a gift bag, which also made for easy transport!

Coordinating drop off will be important and will vary in each situation. Offering Hospitality has previously posted some helpful tips for organizing meals.

This is the first time I've been involved in bringing meals in this type of situation; however, it got me thinking! I will certainly remember this for the future and be on the look out for unique opportunities to offer hospitality!

When else might providing a meal be a blessing?


Amy H. offered hospitality to college students for over 10 years as the wife of a collegiate minister.  Today her ministry focuses on her husband (who now coordinates campus ministers in New England), three children (ages 2, 5, and 7), and friends both new and old.


  1. Having had both of my children hospitalized for a total of three weeks, I can attest to how much this would be appreciated! Cafeteria food gets old-fast! It's heavy, greasy, and even the salads aren't so great.

    A lovely way to care for others!

  2. Oh, yes, wonderful idea! I have been in the same situation more than once, and just having light, healthy things to snack on can be such a blessing. Fresh fruit! There were times I would have killed for a nice, ripe orange!

    As for other situations - does your area have volunteer firefighters? I keep some breads (pumpkin, banana, etc.) and bags of cookies in the freezer, and throw a plastic knife in with the breads. When my husband gets called out I toss him a bag to share. At least, I think he is sharing:) I have also ordered pizza delivered to city work crews laboring over busted water pipes in the middle of the night. Yes, they get paid, but that has to be one of those times you really question your career choice. Don't forget teachers this time of year, particularly middle/high school teachers who are using their lunch breaks to finish grading finals, and who don't get the cute little gifts elementary teachers do.

  3. Great ideas, Stephanie.

    This made me also think of bringing food to those who are mourning. My sister and I wrote a post on this topic a couple years ago:

  4. Thanks *carrie* but I didn't write this. Silly me forgot to include Amy H.'s info on the post. Sorry about that!!

    I had never heard of this idea before but I can see how it would be very helpful to have ready-to-eat meals for the caregiver of someone in the hospital. Thanks for sharing this idea with us, Amy!

  5. I LOVE this idea! Thanks for the inspiration. I will put this to use next time that we take someone in the hospital a meal.

  6. Great ideas of other times that meals would be very helpful! Thanks! I'll be on the look out! :)

  7. I appreciated this post and bookmarked it for easy access when there is a need.

    Years ago our son's appendix ruptured; he had a week's stay at the hospital. Our dear friends and prayer partners Steve and Jan were so helpful during this time. Steve is a physician and came to the hospital for rounds every a.m. Though our son was not his patient, he checked in on us daily.

    Jan made a smoothie for me (who slept in that recliner chair next to our son's bed) and sent it in with Steve, doing everything you referenced. It was a daily reminder of God's love expressed through His people.