Create a Meal Ministry at Your Parish

20140501-2212v2On April 30th our daughter was unexpectedly born 5 weeks early, and we were thrown into a hectic routine of traveling between home (where our confused 2 year old was), and the NICU hospital room where Lucia spent 18 days. During that time we had the help and support of our amazing family, friends, and parish community. And one thing our parish did for us was set up an online mealTrain, where parishioners could sign up to bring us a meal on a specific day using an interactive, customizable calendar.

I can’t recommend this “meal” ministry enough! We were so overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity—and having meals prepared for us during such a busy time was a huge blessing for our family.

Websites like mealTrain have been around for a few years now, but I’m not sure how many parishes are actively collecting emails of parishioners who are specifically willing to make meals. It’s a wonderful way to welcome a new child into the community (or help out a family during a stressful or busy time), and I highly suggest starting a program like this at your parish if there isn’t one already.

The website has a great how-to page, as well as a flyer you can download and insert in your bulletin, and a signup sheet to hang in the gathering space. You can view a sample of a mealTrain calendar here.

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
–Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

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Author:Clare Zajicek

Clare Zajicek is a Catholic wife, mom, and Marketing professional working in the Milwaukee area.
  • Dominic Bruno Cff

    Nice idea. We have a funeral luncheon ministry and lots of these mealtrains happen informally at our parish for various families (including my own), but it seems like with the number of different life events that can happen, there would be continual need for this in our parish.
    A story: A couple that was preparing for initiation into the Church welcomed a baby during the RCIA process.My wife organized a meal train for them and over a year later, this was the one thing that jumped out to them when they talked about being part of the parish community.

    One concern: does formalizing such a ministry as the act of a parish violate the principle of subsidiarity? Are we taking the opportunity/responsibility away from a friend or neighbor?