3 Ways to Help When Meals are Covered
Have you ever been asked to participate in a meal schedule, but it's already full? Or faced a situation with a friend where something in addition to meals might be an encouragement?
Earlier this month, a dear friend of mine faced surgery that would require her to be hospitalized for almost a week. Her church was providing meals for her family while she was in the hospital and during her recovery. Even though meals were covered, I still wanted to do something to encourage her as she walked through this hard time.
Here are three possible ways to help when meals are already covered:
I know this sounds like a basic idea, but you can get pretty creative with care packages. For my friend who was having surgery, I created a "Pre-Surgery" care package. Sometimes the anticipation of surgery can be one of the hardest parts. In the care package, I included items like pajamas that would work well for the hospital, a packet of flower seeds to plant in advance, my copy of a novel I hoped she would like, lip balm, and a lotion to help with scars as they heal. Oh, and chocolate, of course!
I also recently heard of some friends who put together a care basket for a young mom who lost her baby. Her meal schedule was full for weeks, so that piece was covered. In the care basket, her friends included a gift card for a massage, a cross-stitch with the baby's name, and books written specifically for grieving mothers. One friend coordinated the effort and the others dropped off their contributions for the basket.
I remember after my dad died the first few weeks were a blur of activity. Then, once the funeral happened, people went back to their lives. This is all very normal, but it leaves you feeling alone in your grief. I was so thankful for the friends who sent emails, cards, and texts in the months following my dad's death to remind me they were still thinking of me. I even have friends who still remember (five years later) a specific time of year might be hard for me.
One way to rally around a friend who has lost a loved one is by creating a card schedule on TakeThemAMeal.com. Instead of signing up to bring a meal, friends sign up to send a card, text or email. You can explain the purpose of the schedule in the note section and even include the recipient's address. The recipient doesn't need to know about the card schedule, but instead, she can enjoy the messages arriving at regular intervals over weeks or even months.
Card schedules are not only thoughtful during times of grief, but they can be created for a mom who is caring for a child before or after surgery, a loved one who is being quarantined, or a friend who is facing chemotherapy.
***One awesome tip a friend recently gave me is when you send a card to a friend in the hospital, use your friend's home address as the return address - not your address. That way, if your friend is discharged before receiving your card, the mail will still arrive at her home! Love this!***
For some of us, when our friends are facing a difficult time, we turn to prayer. The friend I mentioned earlier was having her surgery in a hospital where visitors were not allowed due to coronavirus restrictions. As a result, she was facing time alone in the hospital after her surgery. Thankfully, the policy changed the week of her surgery and her husband was allowed to visit at certain times. For a friend who would be encouraged knowing others are praying, you can use TakeThemAMeal.com to create a prayer schedule. Just like the card schedule mentioned above, you can list prayer requests and updates in the notes. Friends sign up to pray on a specific day.
I hope this post inspired you to think of additional ways to care for your friends after meals are covered. We're always available for questions if you would like assistance using TakeThemAMeal.com in these novel, but still very helpful ways!
Photo by Rebecca on Unsplash
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