Some nights you’ll find me in the kitchen doubling up a dish. This is because I’m either freezing one for my family, or I’m getting ready to take a meal to a family in need.

Hospitality covers the whole range of life experiences and emotions.

For me, some of these life experiences and feelings have come in challenging times, like when I had my children (who are now teens), when my husband and I lost three parents within a five year period, and when I had several surgeries.

Friends rallied together and gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts: They brought my family a meal. They fed our bodies and nourished our souls with their generous love for us.

Taking a meal to others in need happens often in churches, but it’s not just church people who we should look out for. Our world is full of need.

A basic checklist for bringing a meal to a family

Here are some simple tips for blessing another family during hard times with a meal:

• Make sure the family knows when you will be arriving.
• Keep the meal simple, whether it’s one entree or a full course.
• If possible, use disposable dishes so the recipient doesn’t have to worry about washing pans and plates and getting them back to you.
• Don’t plan to stay and visit unless you are invited in.

Helping for an extended period of time

If you know a family is going to need help for an extended period of time, setting up a meal schedule can be a huge blessing.

Photo by Emily

Some simple steps include:

• Ask the family if they’d like to receive meals, and then ask for names of some of their close friends, neighbors, or family members.

• Ask when the family would like the first meal, and for how long the meals should continue (I usually only commit to two weeks). Let them know to expect a meal every other day, and decide with them when it should be delivered.

• Set up a calendar with the schedule.

• When you make the calls to friends, neighbors, and family members, you don’t have to know what they plan to contribute. Let them decide the menu in their own time.

• Fill the calendar and make sure to include names and phone numbers. Email or mail the information to the recipient.

Once the schedule is set, my mission is accomplished! The family is on their way to being blessed.

This is what I call having a hospitable spiritseeing a need and jumping in to help ease the pain of others. Who’d ever guess we could bless other bodies and souls in such a simple, yet meaningful way?

If I hadn’t been the recipient of this beautiful act of love years ago, I would have never understood how nourishing it is — to the body and the soul.

And who knows the lives you’ll touch in the process.

How do you look for needs around you? Have you been touched by being the recipient of a meal when you really needed it?