Food Tidings for the New Year!
by Lisa Shepherd
It was August 2011 when I got an email from a woman named Stephanie. She let me know that she was about to coordinate seventeen meal schedules for seventeen different families who lost loved ones in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. It was the same crash I had heard about on the news that day. This was very real. These men were husbands, daddies, uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and friends. Seventeen families who were grieving the loss of their loved one and wondering how they were going to move forward.
Meet Stephanie. She is an amazing woman, wife to her Navy husband, mom to 4 children, and she has a servant’s heart. Stephanie told me she had used FoodTidings many times before to create meal schedules for friends who had babies or lost loved ones, but never this many schedules at once. She was willing, and she desired to bring the community on her base together to show love, care and concern to those seventeen families.
She did just that. “After an unfortunate event at our command, we contacted Lisa to brainstorm with her the best way to go about setting up multiple food tidings. We set up a link for each family, which included the amount of people we were feeding, broken down by adults and children. The link was also useful for setting up meals for the immediate family that came into town and for the members of the command (50 people) that were working around the clock to take care of the affected families. We used foodtidings.com to both organize home cooked meals and meals donated by restaurants, “ said Stephanie.
Fellow military wives and friends from their command signed up to bring meals on different days, and as a result those precious families had nourishment during their darkest hours. Those meals served as a beacon of light from the people who brought them. They weren’t just meals, they were love shown, hope offered, an empathetic look, compassionate hugs, tears shared, and to me they were the definition of what it means to band together as a community.
This is why we created FoodTidings, and why we’re excited to share it with you. When we hear of someone who is going through a transitional time in their life (like having a baby, having surgery and recovering, going through cancer treatment, grieving the loss of a loved one, etc), we want to “do something” to help lighten their load.
It’s hard to know what “something” we should do, and a meal is one of the best ways I know of that we can show we care. We can thoughtfully pick a recipe we feel they’d enjoy (based on their likes and dislikes on their Food Tidings schedule that’s been created), lovingly purchase the ingredients needed, make the meal, and even pray for the person you’re bringing it to while you do so, and then warmly bring the meal to their doorstep. It’s truly a beautiful picture of service to others. It’s a tangible way for us to be Jesus’ hands and feet, just as He’s called us to be. (Ephesians 2:10, Matthew 25:35-40.)
I know that as Military wives, you are amazing at coming together as a community and supporting one another. It’s what you do. You unite together and lift one another up in good times and difficult times. FoodTidings is a very efficient way to spend less time organizing the meals, and more time personally with one another. Stephanie added that this is a great tool for Ombudsmen as well as FRGs. When you are ready to create a meal schedule, here are the 6 easy steps to follow:
1. Who? Assign who the meals will be for and their contact info
2. Where? Address, phone number, time to bring meals.
3. What? Enter important information such as how many are in the family, food likes and dislikes, any food allergies, and any other information necessary to know
4. When? Choose the dates meals are needed.
5. Invite others to sign up and cook. They will be able to enter what they plan to bring to avoid getting 5 lasagna dishes in one week. They will also get a reminder from us 2 days in advance for when and what they’re bringing.
6. Watch the recipient of the meals receive both love and food!
BIO: Lisa Shepherd has been married to her husband Zach for 9 years, and they have 4 beautiful children: ages 6, 5, 3, and 1. She is a stay at home mommy and works from home part time as the Co-Founder of Food Tidings. Most importantly, Jesus Christ is her whole reason for being, and she’s eternally grateful for His grace and His unconditional love.