How to Start a Frozen Meal Ministry

So you have a Food Hamper Ministry and now you’d like to expand it to include frozen meals. Excellent idea! I can help with that!

Do you have church family members who have been in the hospital and upon discharge are not able to resume cooking and cleaning right away? What about those situations where mom is unable to cook for her family, maybe she’s hospitalized, or maybe she just brought home a new baby? It is times like these when it would be such a blessing to receive an outpouring of love from the church family in the way of hot cooked meals!

There are other instances when a hot cooked meal would be welcomed. In the case of shut-ins, or someone who has suffered a job loss, or a death in the family. These are all examples when a family could use some hands-on love!

And what about the family who doesn’t attend your church, or any church for that matter? Someone from your congregation knows someone who has a serious need. Can you help them? Will this be a ministry to the unchurched families? Let your new policy address this!

The idea of providing a hot meal to families in need is wonderful! However, it is not always feasible to be asking church members to cook every day, though I am sure they are cooking for their own family anyway. But what if you could incorporate a home cooked frozen meal?

The concept is to provide one hot cooked meal and supplement with two frozen meals. This way, on the first delivery night, the family is eating a hot meal and will have two additional meals that they can pop in the oven (reheating instructions will be on the labels) for the next two dinners. Then, if the family has requested, a second delivery of hot and frozen meals can be delivered for the fourth day that would take them through to the seventh day. In all, that would give the family one week of main meals they won’t have to worry about cooking and serving.

If you already have a Food Hamper Outreach, you have done most of the work in preparing for an additional outreach ministry. Adding a Frozen Meal Program to work along side an existing ministry will require more people than it will administration in setting it up.

Frozen Meal Ministry | How to start
Free Stock Photo: Dawid Liberadzki with Unsplash

 

Before you start searching for volunteers, you will need to meet with your pastoral lead(s) to share your vision with them. This will include a draft copy of your new policy and procedure and job description for the Coordinators and possibly the Delivery Teams.

However, not only does your pastoral staff need to catch this vision but you also need other key players to catch the vision as well. You are looking for people who have been through the Food Safety Course so they can cook the food safely for the public. You also need delivery drivers to deliver the hot cooked meal plus supplemental frozen meals. And you need one person who will coordinate all the aspects of this program.

Pray for key players who will catch the vision for this ministry!

Here’s how you would do it. Remember, this idea is going to involve a lot of volunteers to make it work.

  • Meal Program Coordinator who oversees the ministry
  • Delivery Team Coordinator who oversees the Delivery Teams
  • Delivery Teams, depending on the size of your city, you may want more than one team and each team could be made up of 6-8 people who work in pairs to rotate the delivery calls
  • Kitchen Team, six people – to prepare the meals
  • Packaging Team, eight people – to package the meals once they are cooled though this could be the same volunteers from the Cooking Team
  • Office staff – to print the labels for the frozen containers
  • Food Hamper Ministry Coordinator will be involved to package and label the delivery bags for the freezer plus stock unbagged meals for the Food Hamper Ministry clients
    • The involvement of this person is an option. You may wish to keep the two ministries separated but it would flow better if they were connected.

 

How to start | Frozen Meal Ministry
Free Stock Photo: Dawid Liberadzki with Unsplash

 

Now for the details. You know who is required to be on board. Now you need to know the details.

Food preparation: If you live in Canada, your volunteer cooks will need to be certified in the Safe Food Handling course.I don’t know the requirements for the US or other countries.

The Meal Program Coordinator will plan the menu for the kitchen team. All meals will be food that freezes and reheats well. It could be Shepherd’s Pie, biscuits, garlic bread and cookies. Chili, garlic bread or biscuits and cookies. Macaroni and Cheese, biscuits, cookies. Lasagna, garlic bread, cookies. Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, garlic bread, cookies.

If your church has food events (ie, Easter meal) and there are leftovers, they could be frozen and labeled for this ministry as well. Leftover ham meal would be wonderful! Or even roast beef!

In addition to the meal, you can also make a big batch of soup. Plastic containers work great for freezing. In all, you should plan to make enough meals and soup for about 60 – 80 containers. Maximum shelf life is six months.

Once the food is cooked, it will need to be refrigerated to bring the temperature down. The packaging team can arrive a day or so later.

The kitchen team will only need to work once every two or three months.

Packaging meals: the packaging team will prepare the food in disposable containers suitable for freezing, such a foil pans with lids. The labels will adhere nicely to these lids, however, since they will be in the freezer for any length of time, you may find the labels lifting due to the cold temperature. Be careful with overfilling the containers though…you don’t want a mess in the freezer!

Meal Program Coordinator: the Program Coordinator receives the contact names and is required to verify that the family would welcome the delivery of hot and frozen meals. Once she clarifies the requirements (one delivery or two) and the address, the Coordinator will activate delivery through the Delivery Coordinator providing the details.

Delivery Coordinator: the Delivery Coordinator will activate the the appropriate Delivery Team member with the necessary details, informing them which meal package to deliver, ie, single person, couple or family size package.

Delivery Team: The first member of the Delivery Team will also be required to make a hot meal along with delivery of the frozen meal package. If the receiving family is requesting a second delivery, the second member of the Delivery Team will prepare the hot meal for delivery with the frozen meal package on the fourth day after the initial delivery.

 

So, now you want to get going with drafting your documents for the pastor’s review. Here are three links: Policy and Procedure, Delivery Team Coordinator Job Description and Package Contents which can be place on freezer for reference when preparing packages. You will need to retype them to suit your specific needs. But hey, you’ve got a template now, right?

MP Policy Procedure

MP – Delivery Coordinator

MP Bag Contents

{{ The Policy and Procedure document could be used as a job description for the Meal Program Coordinator as it contains everything the Coordinator would need to oversee. }}


Related Post: You may be interested in setting up a Food Hamper Ministry. This post provides an guide for setting up this ministry.

 

Was this helpful to you? If so, please leave a comment letting me know if this is something you will be able to use in your church! All comments welcomed!

About Cindy

Lovin' the Word of God - reading it - studying it - sharing it - living it!

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