Welcome to Decembers series on 31 Days of Giving on a Budget. In this series, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories from my readers and posts with practical ways to give — even on a limited income.
If you have a Giving on a Budget story to share of a way you or your family has given to others this year or this holiday season, please email me your story and a picture to go along with it, if possible . I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
The following is a testimony from Michelle of The Willing Cook 
I have a dear friend who has 6 children (ages 3-13) and 2 foster children (10 months and age 2). Four of the children are at home with her all day while her husband is a teacher at our Classical Christian School. They are very tight on money, time, and energy. Their days are tough, but they see their lives as a ministry to all their children.
Since I am generally seen as the social coordinator of our little group of friends, I try to plan Ladies’ Nights Out once a month. And as I was thinking through what we should do for our upcoming Ladies’ Night, the possibility of going out to dinner or doing anything that cost money was not sitting well with me. (Most of us are frugal because we have to be or because we choose to be.) It has also been weighing on me how we should come together to serve one another in times of need. Why don’t we do this more often?
So, we organized our Ladies Night to be a Freezer Meal Cooking Night and then we gave all the meals we made to our dear friend in need.This was a complete surprise for her and she was overwhelmed with thankfulness!
Oh, I cannot tell you how much of a blessing last night was. We all came together to fellowship with one another and minister to a sister in need.
Here’s it worked:
I came up with the meals to fix using mainly recipes from MoneySavingMom.com. I did the grocery shopping the day before and was able to get everything for about $35 total (we used some ingredients I already had on hand).
The day before we got together, I did some of the cooking — like making the burrito meat and diced chicken.
I set up stations in my kitchen with the recipes printed out and put everyone to work, even the recipient! It took about 1.5 hours to get it all done, but it fun work!
The meals we made & the quantities:
- Breakfast: Egg, Cheese & Sausage English Muffins — Made 1 dozen
- Brown Bag Burritos  — Made about 25 burritos with some meat mixture left over
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  — Made 2 large freezer bags full
- Italian Chicken  — 6 chicken breasts
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough  — Made 50-60 cookie balls
- One friend brought 2 loaves of pumpkin bread
And of course we couldn’t have a proper Ladies’ Night without a treat for ourselves. We completely indulged ourselves in Brigette’s Upside Down Praline Apple Pie . Amazing!
Everyone left with a full tummy of delicious pie and many laughs, as well as a full heart able to minister to a friend! And, one last thing, everyone wanted the recipes and agreed we should have more Freezer Cooking Ladies’ Nights Out.
Thank you, Crystal, for your part in such a great night!
Michelle is blessed to stay home with her three children (ages 10, 7, and 4), while her husband works to provide. When she’s not experimenting with allergy-friendly meals, she’s blogging about it at The Willing Cook . Through the Willing Cook, her hope is that you gain peace of mind in your kitchen (and your pocket book) and are able to serve those you love who suffer with food allergies.