Hospitality on a budget

My
family of 5 has been keeping a grocery budget for two years now, but I
have had to create a separate money envelope for "hospitality" to set
aside cash for extra groceries for when we bring dinners over to
friends and when we bring snacks to church and Bible studies.

I
just can’t seem to fit meals for our friends into our weekly grocery
budget. I also feel that if I sign up to bring a meal, it needs to have
bread, salad, and a dessert. Is that what you do as well?   

Last
night I took a meal of taco salad, corn bread, and brownies over to a
family (all relatively inexpensive items, or so I thought…) but I
ended up paying $12 for all the ingredients (it was actually double
that, but I made two meals for different families out of all the
ingredients I used). 

With
what we are putting to pay off a school loan each month, we have little
room to spare in the meals we take to our friends. But I still want to
be able to help them out. I still have 3 more meals to go before the
month is up!!    Do you have ideas on money-saving meals for friends you could help me out with? – JoAnna

Great question, JoAnna! I think that having a giving, hospitable spirit–even when you are on a tight budget–is so
important. Giving to others blesses us so much in return! However,
giving to others on a limited budget usually means we need to get
really creative!

I remember once when my husband was in law
school and we were on a bare-bones budget a family we knew had gone
through a really traumatic time. We wanted to take them some food and
show them that we cared but we had next to nothing left in our grocery
budget to work with.

What did I do? I put on my thinking cap,
and got to work! I looked through my freezer and cupboards and was able
to scrounge up some snack goodies (that I’d gotten free with coupons!)
and then I made them some homemade pizza and a few other simple frozen
foods.

To spruce things up a bit, I wrote out pretty little
notes with encouraging Scriptures on them and taped them to each item.
Even though we couldn’t do much, I could do what I could do from a
heart of love and I know that meant more than if I’d brought them an
elaborate, five-star dinner.

So, my biggest advice is to keep it simple and focus on showering others with love and I’m sure your friends will be blessed–even if it’s a very frugal meal!

Just a few practical ideas:

-Plan your company meals around what you already have on hand and what is on sale. When
we are going to have company or bring food to someone, I look first
through our cupboards and through the store fliers and plan the menu
based upon that–just like I plan our own menus.

-Plan in advance for hospitality.
If you have a little extra room in your budget one week, buy some
ingredients to make up muffins or soup to stick in your freezer and
have on hand for taking meals to people. Or, double up your own meals
when cooking and freeze one to share. If you already have a few things
in your freezer to work with, it really makes it much easier to take
food to people or to have people over on the spur of the moment.

-Bring breakfast on Saturday morning.
A lot of times, breakfast or brunch foods can be less expensive and a
nice change of pace for a family–and who wouldn’t love a good homemade
breakfast to wake up to on the weekend. A pan of homemade cinnamon
rolls and some fruit would be simple to make and quite
inexpensive–especially if you used in season fruit. Or what about
bagels, muffins, and juice?

-Make up a pot of soup and a loaf of bread. There are so many soups which are inexpensive to make and can be so filling and delicious!

-Pair up with another friend.
If you know of another friend who might also be short on finances or
time, ask if she’d like to help you with making a meal. One of you can
make the main dish and bread, another the salad and dessert, and you’ve
just pulled off a great meal for half the cost. Or you could even go
together with three more friends and each only make one thing!

-Make homemade pizza, a green salad, and cookies or brownies. This is another very inexpensive, filling, and delicious dinner.

-Offer to bring over a basket of frozen goodies instead of a whole dinner.
Look through your cupboards and freezer and figure out some items you
can make with what you have on hand. Sometimes instead of making a full
meal, I’ll just make up some banana bread, muffins or rolls, and some
cookies and put them in a pretty basket with some notes of
encouragement taped onto them. Bring it over and tell the family they
can stick everything in their freezer and use them when they need to.

-Make up a basket of mixes.
I’ve always thought this was a nice gesture and can be done quite
economically. Best of all, the family can use them whenever they like!
You could make up a simple bean soup mix, bread mix, and cookie mix and
you have yourself a meal in a basket!

Those
are just a few ideas. I’d love to hear from the rest of you: How do you
afford to be hospitable or to take food to others on a limited budget?
What ideas do you have for JoAnna and the rest of us?

Originally published March 2008.

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Comments

  1. Hannelore says

    Crystal, all your ideas were great! I tend to make quiche, a salad, and fruit for people. Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, most people like quiche, you can have it for breakfast, lunch , or dinner, and it’s not something everyone else brings (like baked chicken or lasagna). Also, most people (especially children) like chicken drumsticks. I bake a dozen with barbeque sauce and it doesn’t cost much. Baked or mashed potatoes are affordable and universally popular. Thanks for all the frugal ideas!

  2. says

    This is a great post! I believe that we are called to be generous. God will provide! I would rather add a couple of months to our paying off debt in order to keep our grocery budget comfortable enough to handle having friends over or taking meals to a family. I believe that generosity must come before other things. God is FAITHFUL! He will meet all of our needs! Trying to pay off debt so fast that we exclude giving is not honoring to God… Now there are times, like your $1000 budget that just doesn’t have ANY room for extras… but most people are not living THAT TIGHT! I think it is good to keep an eternity perspective…. spend money that will serve others! Also, learning how to shop sales, use coupons and stock pile on loss leaders will build up a supply of food in the pantry and freezer to draw from. When I take someone a meal or have a family over I just use what I have on hand from my usually shopping… keeping a stock pile is key! Thanks for this post!!!
    Heather

  3. says

    I try to keep extra meals and breads (banana, zucchini, poppy seed) or muffins in my freezer at all times. I also make and keep burritos and pigs in a blanket in my freezer (I’ve learned that kid-pleasing food is nice for families in stressful situations). That way if I hear of someone in need I can act quickly. We live 15 miles from the nearest grocery store, so making a quick trip for special ingredients is just not an option.

  4. says

    Thanks for this timely post! I have 2 meals to prepare this weekend. If money allows, I usually buy a whole chicken roaster chicken & have the butcher cut it for frying (they don’t charge for this at Publix, so I’m able to buy at the cheaper “whole chicken” price), then fry it like all southerners! If money is tight, I always go with soup or stews. Heather, I love the quiche idea – very unique.
    Thanks for all the great tips!!

  5. says

    This post has been great for me. We are in the process of putting together a basket for a family today. While we don’t have an abundance of food to give away, we got an incredible deal on cereal a while back and have a lot to share! We have also taken advantage of the recent Kraft coupons in the All You and have multiples of Wheat Thins, Cheese slices, Hot Dog Weiners, Crystal Light, and Salad Dressing. Zucchini is popping up in our garden as well as tomatoes so all of these will go in the package as well. It will be a real assortment but when you are hungry anything will do.

    I like the idea of adding encouraging notes and scriptures to the packages, I’ll be doing that today too.

  6. says

    I’ve made fabulous Cinnabon Rolls. I usually have most of the ingredients in my pantry. You make them in the bread machine and then roll them out before putting them in the oven. I’ve delivered them warm to neighbors as a breakfast delivery and to new mommies as a sweet treat. Pair it with, $1 juice and 10/$10 grapes. Good luck. Click the link to get the recipe :)

  7. RLZ says

    As someone who was blessed to be the recipient of many meals in the past year when our baby was born quite ill and with a disability, I can tell you that anything you bring will be a wonderful gift to the family. You certainly don’t need to bring all the side dishes for a meal as, quite often, the family is already preoccupied and will just be pleased to get some food in their stomachs. Some of the meals we got were so extravagant, we didn’t even come close to eating it all, so we wouldn’t have felt bad if they had come with less (although we did keep and eat the leftovers).

    If you know the people well, then bring them one of their favorite foods instead of an entire meal. One of my good friends brought me scotcheroos (Rice Krispie treats with chocolate on the top), which I was able to pack and bring to the hospital with me to eat while I was pumping milk for my son. I know I probably enjoyed those as much as the meals! :)

    One other thought is that if you can’t afford to do a meal, then consider coming over to help clean, do laundry, or babysit the kids. Just be sure to offer something very specific, as it’s often difficult for the family to respond to offers of, “If you need anything, please let us know.” When we had people clean for us, it was a wonderful gift, as it was one less thing for us to worry about, and we could focus on our son.

  8. says

    When we have people over, these poppers http://tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com/2008/06/pop-our-jalapeno-poppers.html are always a hit, and I can make a LOT of them for very little money. They’re a fun, tasty appetizer.

    For the meal, I often make pizza dough, add the sauce and cheese, then let people do the toppings ‘salad bar style’ for the pizzas. It’s fun! Add a salad or veggie sticks, tea and lemonade and something sweet (oatmeal cookies, fruit bars, brownies – whatever we have ingredients for) and it’s done!

    If I’m bringing food to someone, I use things I have on hand too. I generally have some dried homemade noodles, so I can do a soup with those, some chicken and vegetables, a loaf of bread or homemade rolls, and an apple cake (we have apple trees). It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to help someone out!

  9. says

    I always make up two loaves of homemade bread to give; it goes well with food dishes others bring and fresh bread tends to make a person feel good.
    Sometimes I will bake cookies to go with the bread too.

  10. says

    Great post!! I love the tips!

    I happen to make really awesome spaghetti, and I always keep extra on hand, so when preparing a meal for someone I’ll make double of what I normally make for our family, and take them the other half!

    Here’s what I usually do:

    Spaghetti noodles and sauce
    I buy whatever noodles are on sale at the time, and I usually use Preggo sauce (a little more expensive, but worth every penny!) I add a can of mushrooms and tomatoes to the sauce, along with some ground beef (about .75 lbs per can of sauce), and some spices. If you don’t know what spices to use, just put some Italian seasoning in it, and don’t be scared to use a bunch – it makes a HUGE difference in flavor.

    Garlic Bread
    I use whatever bread we have on hand; hamburger buns, white bread, wheat bread, whatever, throw some butter and garlic powder on, and pop it in the oven for a few minutes. Or, I’ll just put several slices of bread, and some butter and jam into separate small containers, and pack that

    Salad
    Just green lettuce, several slices of tomatoes and cucumber, maybe a little shredded cheese, and a small amount of salad dressing (in a separate container)

    Dessert
    I skip it. We rarely eat dessert here due to health reasons (as in, we want to be healthy!), so I usually don’t make it for other people.

    There you have it; an entire meal (and leftovers!) for two families for under $10 total (that’s only if you don’t already have most things on hand). Since I usually get these items on sale in advance except the fresh vegetables, it generally doesn’t make me go over my $35 per week grocery limit at all.

    A friend just makes extra hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, and takes that. People appreciate the gesture, and she’s able to help out without breaking the budget or spending a ton of extra time (who, with three kids, has extra time?!), and others love her for it!

    I really love the idea of a basket of mixes, especially if the family is getting a lot of meals from people. Then, when they need to, they have a super simple meal on hand. I think I’m going to start doing that!

  11. says

    My Sunday School class brings meals to other members of the class when they have a baby. We sign up in groups of two or three for each meal so that we can provide a main dish, salad, bread, and dessert without one person having to do all of it. I like to make a double batch of baked spaghetti and keep one batch to feed my family that night. Spaghetti is pretty inexpensive to make and I think the baked version tastes better than the traditional kind, with all that melted mozzeralla cheese and buttered noodles. I also make a point to give meals in disposable dishes so that the recipient doesn’t have to worry about washing and returning a dish to me. I also like to provide a meal big enough that the family will have some left-overs to feed them for an extra day or two. Our Sunday School class also tries to space out the meals we bring to allow for time to eat left overs so that the recipient’s fridge isn’t overflowing.

  12. Amy says

    Great suggestions! I really like the idea of making up mixes. Does anyone know of a good website for tasty mixes?

  13. says

    Having been the recipient of many meals throughout the years of childbearing, a major illness and surgery, etc., I am here to attest to the fact that it was always the thought that counted! Always! I try to keep that in mind when I bring meals to other people. I used to think it had to be something fancy and would make something really nice, and give my family left-overs ! (yes, not proud of it) Anyway, over the years I learned to just give from my heart, even if it is “just” a meatloaf, etc.
    I have also seen God stretch our budget and food in ways that can only be His doing! When we have people for dinner I like to have something nice, but more importantly I try to make our home warm and welcoming. I have ladies over for Bible Study each week, and I serve popcorn each time! That’s it besides coffee and cold drinks, sometimes just water! No one complains and they keep coming back! :)
    Carla

  14. celina says

    first off, you don’t need to provide everything…and if you want to , find a buddy….you and she can then share to provide all you feel necessary..

    also a pot of soup was what i always brought a dear friend of mine who has ms…if i could find a way to ship it the 10 hrs i would…

    just homemade breads with jams, are a nice item

    it doesnt always have to be supper, when a new baby is born, i’ll always make a basket of a variety of muffins, while i make some for my freezer….makes great snacks for the mom, and breakfast for dad and the kids…she doesnt have to cook it…

    i know my favorite i received the day of the wedding when they knew we’d all be stressed and tired, was a cheese and cracker tray, i mean not a variety just a brick cut up, a few grapes and some crackers…great for the parents or others to put out when other guests arrive….

    if your recipient is EXPECTING the whole shebang, that is not very humble of them….do what you can, and give in love….you should not have to spend 25$ for two”charity meals” when for alot of us, that’s half a weeks budget…

    rethink your menu selections…

  15. says

    When I make a meal, it is oftentimes for a church member who has a new baby. I usually make a “pantry meal”. I bring over a box of pasta, a jar or two of spaghetti sauce, and a bag of frozen meatballs. I also usually whip up a batch of brownies or cookies. This allows the family to use the meal when it blesses them most. It is also not a very expensive meal, as I typically stock up these items when they are on sale.

    Most of the families that I bring a meal for are so happy just to “have a night off” in the midst of chaos. I love being able to help out in this way, as so many did for me when I had my youngest child.

  16. Morgan says

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I feel I’m always struggling with this! I’m so good at having a budget and eating frugally with our own food, but when it comes to a congregation picnic or providing food for a couple with a newborn baby…my budget seems to go out the window because I want to give a good gift. And I guess somewhere inside me, a good gift means expensive.

    But I really liked your example of writing scriptures and taping them to the gift of food. Because really, it is things like that that encourage and uplift our brothers and sisters…not how much money we spent.

    I’m reminded of the widow that Jesus saw making a contribution. She only dropped in two small coins of very little value, but it was all she had. In comparison with the haughty religious leaders of the day who made a showy display of their large monetary contributions, Jesus stated that the widow put in more than they did.

    -Morgan
    mvalencia@astoneagency.com

  17. says

    I think too often we try to impress others with our delivered meals. The recipients really don’t care about fancy foods; they just need something that they don’t have to cook themselves so that they can concentrate on whatever it is that they’re dealing with.

    I brought homemade pizzas to a couple on Monday. They were having a very difficult day, so it was no effort to make extra, as I was already making pizza for our own dinner. The toppings just had to stretch a little farther. I didn’t bother with a salad or dessert, as I figured they probably had their own salad stuff at home. Besides, if everyone brings dessert with their meals, then the family is overrun with stuff they can’t possibly eat before it goes bad.

    I’ve brought vegetable soup and homemade rolls to a friend recovering from surgery. I just took half of the big pot to her family, and my family ate the other half. It doesn’t add to the grocery budget if you were already making it anyway.

    Meat, which adds to the cost of a meal, doesn’t have to be included. We served lentil-rice casserole to friends once when they ate at our house. (The recipe is from The Tightwad Gazette.) It was a ridiculously simple meal, but our friends loved it and requested the recipe. People are really only looking to have food that tastes good and fills them up; it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive.

  18. Melodie says

    We grow veggies in the backyard: potatoes, green beans, and corn. This makes nice side dishes for free (or for the cost of the seeds or starter potatoes). We have so many beans that we freeze that we could really go for months without having to buy any. We will be good with potatoes for a couple months too.

    I have banana bread in the freezer. This is always a favorite with anyone. Makes a nice side, dessert, or breakfast. I usually have the fixin’s for a stew or chicken soup in the freezer. My mom’s Creamy Chicken Soup is so good that I even serve that for company with a crusty loaf of bread and a few slices of cheese. Having all that on hand is great for hospitality meals.

    I usually make a pasta dish for hospitality meals. The pasta and sauce are always in my stockpile from sales, meats can be prepared ahead and frozen either as meatballs or just as browned meat to be used in a variety of ways. Ricotta cheese and egg mix for lasagna or baked ziti freezes well; spinach freezes, tomatoes are canned, ground beef can be prepared ahead and frozen, etc. so all the ingredients are always on hand and always from sales. I realize pasta dishes are popular for hospitality dinners, but they are so convenient for planning ahead.

  19. says

    I love all these suggestions! I’m printing this out and sticking it in my recipe book :)! When I bring a dish to someone I will usually make a big bowl of Rotini pasta, toss it with butter and grated parmesean and throw in about a half a kielbasa cut up in bite size pieces.
    I really love the idea of making a basket of mixes so the family can make them later.

  20. says

    Thanks for these suggestions! I actually build in an extra $15 into our budget each month to bless others with meals. I really enjoy making meals for others, so it was important to me to budget for it. These will be a great help!

    If anyone is interested in stopping by my blog, I’m doing a giveaway with almost $150 in coupons, a small organizer, and a Target gift card!! I’d love for you to stop by!!

  21. Marsha says

    Lots of great ideas here. I would add: if possible, find out ahead of time if there are any food allergies or other dietary restrictions. It’s a waste if they can’t eat it. I always include a card with a list of the ingredients just in case.

  22. says

    Another thought – I try to pick up super cheap casserole dishes at Goodwill or yard sales and often get them cheaper than the throwaway dishes. When the recipient asks about the dish, I encourage them to reuse & pass to the next friend who needs a meal.
    Also, a couple of ladies (non-cooks) in my group always pick up paper goods: tissues, tp, paper plates, disposable cups and drinks (sodas & coffee). I know these have been very appreciated especially when a large number of friends & family show for a funeral.

  23. says

    Black Bean Soup is my go to meal for when we take a meal to friends. I get a .99 cent baguette at the store (or make inexpensive biscuits) and send it with a green salad. It makes so much that it will feed at least two familes for a couple of days.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/QUICK-BLACK-BEAN-SOUP-101661

    I use dried beans to save $$. You can top with sour cream, crushed up chips, grated cheese, really whatever you have. Or just serve it plain. That is delicious as well.

  24. Charlene says

    This is where your stockpile is so important. I buy things that are super cheap- even if we won’t eat them. When Bush’s Steakhouse beans were 1.24 at WM and there were 1/1 q’s I bought several cans. My DH won’t eat beans and I am a vegetarian so these are clearly not for us. I put them in the crockpot and it looks a little nicer when people come over. You might check the clearance bread area too at your store- garlic bread, bagels etc.. can be great to have in the freezer. Pasta is almost always cheap and I make casseroles or homemade mac and cheese all the time. You can even take box mac and cheese and jazz it up by adding cauliflower or squash puree- put it in a nice dish and sprinkly cheese on top. Chocolate is almost always free- why not take advantage of the free Bliss this month at WAGS (and next month!) and you can put those in a pretty jar with a bow. Or for something very practical- especially for new moms or those with children- make several pb&j sandwiches and freeze them. It is a wonderful snack when you are on the run. I never pay more than .75/jar of PB and jelly can be extremely cheap too (call Smuckers and they will send a q for a free item), and a loaf of bread can be as low as .99….

  25. says

    I often make meals for moms right after they have a new baby. It will take me years to catch up with all the generous help I received while on bedrest 16 wks with my twins and then the months afterwards!

    One of the ways I can afford to help others is buy including them in my stockpiling; for example, last time I stocked up on Barilla Plus pasta at .19/box, I bought 10 more than I thought we’d use, to go along with the .10/can diced tomatoes I got at an earlier stockpile sale. Then I add ground beef, stretched with onions and zucchini or green peppers and a little mozzarella to make a baked ziti dish. Or, I do soup and homemade bread. People seem to really appreciate the bread, even though I’m using the breadmaker so I think it’s easy! I think when people are home with a new baby, or in grief after a tragedy, or whenever you’re bringing meals, they so appreciate your time and attention that the actual food doesn’t matter. I focus on simple, homemade meals because that’s comfort food to most people.

    Lately, I’ve been free-gifting some of my CVS goodies as gifts for new moms, babies, or older siblings along with the meal. They love it!

  26. Shanna says

    My family has been the recipient of many meals over the past two years, with my husband having heart bypass and gallbladder surgeries and then I had surgery for a severely broken wrist – all of these occurring over the past two Thanksgivings and Christmases! I can’t describe in big enough words how wonderful our church family and friends were to bring even just a loaf of bread or a pie, though many brought a complete meal. The simplest gift was SO much appreciated – it was good to feel so loved and know that they cared enough to come visit us. Don’t fret over the size of your gift, just give from the heart and know that it will be accepted and welcomed.

  27. Melodie says

    Uh . . . the post under Ewokgirl was mine. It looks like our posts probably got confused or something. Thanks.

    ************************
    Money Saving Mom here:

    In Typepad, the commentor’s name is below the comment instead of above the comment, as it is in Blogger. Hope that helps!

  28. Laura says

    Whenever I make spaghetti sauce, I make large batches and freeze extra quarts. When I need to take a meal to someone, I thaw a quart of sauce and bring a box of pasta, a green salad, and bread. I don’t know what the actual cost is, but the sauce and pasta are next to nothing. What I like about this meal is it allows the family to prepare it when they’re ready to eat!

  29. Diane says

    For a frugal and fun dinner party idea. A couple we know invited us and another over for homemade pizza and board games. She indicated she was providing the soda, the pizza dough and marinara and we were all to bring pizza toppings of our choice.

    It was great fun to see the variety of toppings that were brought. There was everthing from the standard pepperoni pizza to a spinich artichoke and feta cheese pizza.

  30. Jennifer says

    I like to freeze individual portions in those throw-away containers. I only buy when they are super cheap or free and only use them for this. If I make more soup or casserole than we need, I can freeze individual cooked portions to be microwaved. Always label them and you can give the family several different meal options in one that really don’t cost anything, since you made the meals for your family and simply had more than you needed.

  31. Kirsten says

    If a meal I’m bringing needs a side of bread, I try to include home made bread or dinner rolls. If I don’t have time to make something from scratch, I often just include a can of crescent rolls or biscuits from the refrigerated section (usually purchased on sale and/or with a coupon) unless there is something from the bakery section on sale.

    I sometimes do dessert for a meal, and other times do fresh seasonal fruit. I know we got almost too many desserts each time we had a baby. It was hard to eat up all the desserts we were given before things went stale. So, if I do bring a dessert I usually just bring enough for one night’s dessert (so, a small plate of brownies instead of the whole pan).

    I find that seasonal fruit can be a fairly economical addition to the meal — a melon or a pound of strawberries or grapes is enough for many families for one meal, and might only add $1 or $1.50 to the meal’s total if purchased on sale.

    When hosting people at my house, I always say “yes” to offers my guests make to bring something. If a guest wants to bring bread or a salad or a beverage, it’s one less thing to buy, and under most circumstances people are very happy to contribute to the meal. When spending time with close friends we often make it a potluck so the financial burden doesn’t all land on any one family.

  32. says

    I will often try to freeze meals during the weeks I have extra food or extra money, and that way, if a need arises on a week when our budget is tighter, I can just pull something out of the freezer.

  33. says

    I find any meal that requires a meat and cheese combo to get a little more expensive. i.e. pizza, taco salad, burritos unless it is timed just right where you get the cheese on a really good buy and have the meat in the freezer purchased cheap or free.

    If I were in the situation I would do a chicken soup, bread and salad. To me this is comfort food and can be stretched a long way. Utilize a soup bucket in your freezer so you are always ready to prepare a pot of soup.

  34. Michelle says

    I always make enchiladas –

    1. corn tortillas, $.35 just about anywhere
    2. 1 lb ground beef/turkey or shredded chicken – $1ish on sale
    3. enchilada sauce mix, about $1
    4. tomato paste $.35 at aldi
    5. refried beans $.54 at aldi
    6. 1 lb cheese – 1/2 inside, 1/2 on top $3 ish, unless you find a really good sale

    I usually make a couple at a time to reduce prep time.

    Families love it as its not the usual “baby meal” — a friend who had her 2nd baby in our Sunday School class said she was so excited when I signed up to bring her a meal because she knew she’d get more yummy enchiladas :)

  35. says

    Hello!

    I love your idea of taping encouraging scriptures to each item. What an honor it is for us to be a blessing to others.

    So many great frugal ideas have been shared here. I can’t wait to try out a few!

    So often we are trapped into thinking if we can’t do some grand thing that we souldn’t do anything. I recently wrote about this. The smallest thing can be such a huge help to someone in need that we sould do what we can.

    Here is the link in case anyone is interested.

    http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/2008/08/giving-part-one.html

    Take Care,

    Trixie

  36. says

    Great ideas. I did this last month when a dear family suffered a terrible tragedy. I used what I had on hand (I had already made a promise to myself NOT to go to the grocery store any more that month!) and was able to bless the family with a great meal – roasted turkey w/gravy, pasta salad, veggies, a huge pot of garden-fresh peas with ham, homemade bread, and a chocolate dessert. The only thing I bought was disposable pans. :)

  37. Wendy Hamm says

    I love the ideas! I just want to suggest to all of the meal givers…please remember the mom’s who adopt. I cannot tell you how many meals I have delivered ( and enjoy doing so) to new moms and when neither time when I brought my girls home, both adopted, did I receive a meal….it did hurt my feelings and even though I did not give birth physically…I did travel around the world and had jet lag so badly…plus, a new baby is a huge adjustment for all no matter how he or she arrives. ; ) Just remember the adoptive mom’s too. ; )

  38. says

    whenever i make lasagna, i always have enough ingredients for tow or three (i make veggie and veggie with meat). i always freeze one for us and one for a friend. i do the same with soup. if i don’t end up giving the dish away, we enjoy the yummy food, but if i do give it away, it’s always easy, within my buget and adding a salad and bread is simple.

  39. says

    When my water broke early and thus delivered a stillborn this spring, I was so blessed by the generosity of others. ANYTHING helped and I was so amazed at the different things that people did for us.

    A friend who had lost a baby years before knew that going to the store would be hard for me so she brought by snacks so I could avoid getting out a little longer (I would have also welcomed a bag of stockpiled tolietries). Another friend took us out to a movie and yet another sent us a resturant gift card- both perfect in our situation since we needed some distraction (and both we can sometimes get in a deal).

    Also, its okay to ask what they are in need of, they might not tell you but then again they might really be in “need” of something easy (and cheap or almost free) like cereal or chocolate and already have a fridge full of leftovers from other meals that were brought to them that week.