This week I watched a video on Facebook that our pastor’s daughter, Gentry posted. She humbly explained that her mother, Sherri Tuttle, was not doing well. Sherri and our Pastor Charlie and their family have been battling her ovarian cancer for going on 12 years. God has shown his power through Sherri’s faith and His continual healing. However, since January that battle has been stepped up. Cancer has tried to gain ground in her body but our church has joined the ranks by stepping up our battle of prayer alongside them. This month of July has been set aside as a time of rest and renewal for Pastor Charlie and Sherri which they very much deserve. I felt ashamed when I saw the video that I had not thought of bringing them a meal already. Sherri is always so strong in faith and has an upbeat positive attitude. With them being out of church it was easy to overlook the need. When I looked in the comments below the video, I found that one of the other church members, Irene had started something online called the Meal Train. https://www.mealtrain.com/
It is a wonderful website that allows anyone to set up a calendar for volunteers to bring meals to someone or a family in need and it is free. It will set up email reminders to the volunteers and also keep the recipient informed so that they know what meals they can be expecting. It also has an option for Meal Train Plus (a minimal fee applies) that includes scheduling of visitors, housework, child care, lawn care, and rides. It even has an option for planning a potluck (free). Bringing meals to new parents, the sick or shut-is not a new thing. In this modern era with cell phones and internet there is no excuse for us not to carry on the traditions that generations past have pioneered.
One of those pioneers is my Knankey (grandmother). We went to see her and my Papaw several times a year in the hills of Eastern Kentucky on Coal Run Hill in Pikeville. It was always an adventure traveling there on narrow curvy roads, passing several swinging bridges before swaying our way across one, waiting at tracks for coal trains to pass, winding around a one lane road past wood framed homes nestled in hollers or hanging over drop offs, climbing at a crawl up a 20% road grade in low gear, and honking at mangy dogs to move them off the road. All the while we waved at every person we passed as they sat snapping beans on their porch or worked in their gardens. We knew that our grandparents would get a call on the party line from one or more of them, like sentries letting them know that we were getting close. Knankey always waited on the porch for us to arrive and as we walked in the house there was sure to be the aroma of food cooking. I rarely remember my grandmother’s kitchen without something on the stove or a cake on the table.
Knankey was a one woman meal train to many of the neighbors around Coal Run Hill. I can still see her in my mind’s eye walking down the quiet road in the evening carrying plates and pans full of food to shut ins. She would carry a stick to keep the mangy dog’s away and then throw them scraps on her way back. Many of her neighbor’s would be waiting hungry because it was the only meal they would get that day. Papaw had his part by tending the most fruitful garden in the area that kept food on Knankey’s stove.
With resources like Meal Train, every church should be able to feed someone in their congregation each week. If a church has 26 families and there are 52 weeks in the year then each member would only have to prepare 1 meal every 2 months in order for the congregation to deliver a meal to those in need 3 times a week. On an individual basis, we can try to plan to make a double meal every 10 days to take to a mother we know that works two jobs to provide for her children or grandchildren, or to a family we know that has the flu or is moving. How about simply bringing a widower a plate of homemade cookies or banana bread.
Our dear friends, The Camerons (we call them our “framily”) have brought us meals on several occasions without expecting anything in return. Our children when they were younger always looked forward to their little siblings’ birth because they knew that it meant the church was going to bring food. Some of our favorite recipes came from casseroles and desserts that came from these dear friends. My husband’s cousin did not have to prepare meals for himself and his 6 children for several months while his wife and one of my dearest friends, Nettie, fought cancer and then died. For several months as their family has mourned they did not need to worry about what was for dinner and they had friends and family hugging their necks every time they turned around.
If you are going through a time of trouble and someone brings you food, just sit back and enjoy. This is their season of planting love into your life. It is just as much of a blessing, maybe more, for them to bring it as it is for you to eat it. The Lord knows what you need. Trust Him. If you cannot bring meals to anyone because you are barely making it do not fret. God also knows your need. We have been there more times than I like to remember but God has always provided. To be real with you, I barely have time to get meals on the table for my own family of 7 but once in a while I can pull out my Knankey’s genes and spread some vittles.
May the Lord bless each of you my readers until we meet around that banquet table in Heaven. Till then….
When we read about the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 it says in verse 14 “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.” I don’t know about you but I tend to think of the merchant ship like this:
But with supermarkets & the internet my vision should look like this:
When I think I am too busy or don’t have the resources to prepare meals for my shut in neighbors I need to reset my thinking to the 21st century. We should live and give as my Knankey did, but on hyper-drive.
Here is a link to my family’s favorite meal and what I plan to bring to the Tuttle’s home. I suggest that you double the recipe and make one for your home and one for a recipient. Virginia’s Easy Lasagne You can either bake ahead and keep warm or send prepared with baking instructions. This can also be a freezer easy meal if you like to do once a month cooking. If you have never tried this, be fearless and try something new.