Food for families ministry: You are not alone

News | October 6, 2022

Many of us have been there – you’ve just experienced life-altering circumstances like welcoming a new baby or recovering after surgery. You are exhausted and overwhelmed, juggling healing and the care of yourself and those you love. When do you possibly find the time to cook a healthy and nourishing meal for yourself or others? This is where the St. Paul ministry Food for Families comes in.

Formerly known as Meals for Moms, the ministry coordinator, Sara Harless, is looking to enlarge this ministry, where possible, beyond just a meal to new parents. There are certain other situations of recovery or healing where a meal can make a difference. Sara is actively looking for others to help provide meals, since the vitality of this caring ministry is dependent on willing servants.

“I love that one of the core values at St. Paul is radical hospitality. Bringing people a meal when they need the extra help is a very tangible way to show that hospitality,” Sara said. “The four most beautiful words in the English language are “you are not alone” and this is a great way to show people that they are part of a community and are cared for. We belong to each other and I want to see us come together for the people who need support in our church. If you already love to cook, this is a great opportunity to care for others.”

Receiving love
Molly Yoder and her husband, Brandon, welcomed their first daughter Zoe in 2019, then their youngest daughter Elise arrived just a few short years later. After each birth, St. Paul members showed their love to the new and expanding family.

“During that postpartum time, everything is blurred,” Molly said. “You’re getting to know your new baby and figuring out the new family dynamic so it was such a relief to have that support from our church community.”

When their lives and schedules were turned upside down, the St. Paul community came through once again, providing meals while little Elise was healing and getting strong.
“We also received meals when Elise was in the Iowa City Children’s Hospital this past June. The support from our church community was wonderful when we were coordinating which of us would be in Iowa City and who would be home with our older daughter during that time. Having those meals prepared and delivered helped so much as we tried to get settled back into our home routine.”

Generosity for generations
Margaret and Miles Thompson received food deliveries when they had their first son, Christian, in 2016. Margaret said the gesture brought her much closer to her St. Paul community.

“We felt so much love by all of the generosity. We had people I’ve known since I was a kid bringing me dinner,” Margaret said. “Sara Harless brought us a breakfast casserole and she held Christian and visited. I didn’t know her as well then so it felt like being welcomed as a new mom into that motherhood and parenthood part of St. Paul.”

Margaret was so moved by the support that she wanted to give back.

“I love to pay it forward. We were so touched by everyone’s generosity that then I joined and started delivering meals right away. I always make chicken enchiladas. It’s a nice meal that you can freeze or make right away, depending on the amount of food you’ve already received.”

Even Margaret’s children notice the generosity built into their family routine, an extravagant generosity being passed to the next generation.

“I double the recipe and I make the same thing for my family the night we deliver the meal. My kids now ask me when I’m making chicken enchiladas, “Are we bringing some to someone tonight?”

2 Comments on “Food for families ministry: You are not alone”

  • Christie Novak

    October 6, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Such a wonderful and generous idea

  • Lisa Swanson

    October 6, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    Sara – I think this is a wonderful service to provide to new moms, those that are ill, or maybe just need a little attention. I’d like to help out!

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