Meal Storage and Delivery
Frequently asked questions about our storage and delivery systems.
How long are meals kept in the freezer?
Our goal is to have meals in the freezer for no longer than 3 months.
How are meals packaged for freezer storage?
2 Gallon Ziploc (Jumbo) freezer bags hold our complete meals.
Quart Ziploc freezer bags hold our Garlic bread, some vegetables, buns and our brownies.
Snack size Ziploc storage bags hold our seasonings.
Aluminum pans 8 ½” x 5 15/16”x 1 13/16” with lids hold our main dishes and some of our starches.
Aluminum pan product information: HFA inc. Handi-foil of America #2062-30 500, 2 ¼ lb. Oblong Pans 500 count (Note: Make sure they come with lids. Some places the lids are sold separately.)
Plastic containers 8 ½” x 5 15/16”x 1 13/16” with lids hold our soups, chili, applesauce, baked beans and any foods with extra liquid.
Plastic container product information: Newspring NC-868 White 28 oz. VERSAtainer 6" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/2" Rectangular Microwavable Container with Lid - 150/Case or Newspring NC-868-B Black 28 oz. VERSAtainer 6" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/2" Rectangular Microwavable Container with Lid - 150/Case
Avery labels with ingredients and cooking directions go on every bag and container.
Where are extra cooking and packaging supplies stored?
Perishable supplies that can be frozen are stored in our extra dedicated freezer.
Non-perishable supplies are stored in large plastic tubs at the home of one of our team members. We have considered storing them at our church, however for shopping list preparation it is easier to store the extra supplies at the member’s home who creates the shopping lists and gather’s the needed items for the cook session.
What types of freezers exist for this ministry and where are they located in your organization?
We have 3 dedicated freezers for this ministry. One was donated & one was purchased from a member’s friend who was downsizing. Two of our freezers are located in the common area near our Welcome Desk. This is an area that is very accessible for members to remember to take meals. These freezers house the meals that are ready to be delivered to those in need. The 3rd freezer is located in our smaller Parish Hall Kitchen. In this freezer, we keep the extra inventory of meals made that we use to refill the other freezers. We also keep leftover ingredients and pre bought items for our next cook session, like cheese, butter, garlic spread, bread crumbs, vegetables, … See “Resources Required to Get Started” for a complete description, including sizes, of our freezers and a history of how the growth of the ministry impacted the freezers.
How are the packaged meals stored in freezer for best viewing and to prevent from smashing?
What particular way are your packaged meals labeled for greater ease of identification of items in the bag?
We put the label near the zipper on the Ziploc bag facing out so it can easily be seen by person
taking a meal to deliver. See images below
Who qualifies for receiving meals?
In our organization examples of people that have received meals are any one that is struggling
or in need: sympathy, surgery, recovery, rehab, new baby, hospice, broken bone or broken
heart, new job, loss of job, new house, relocation, financial crisis, chemotherapy, college or
How are the meals delivered to the recipients?
Our meals are delivered by members and staff of our church and preschool allowing them to be
the hands and feet of Christ.
What delivery etiquette tips have been shared with your organization?
Delivering a meal is easy and doesn’t involve a lot of time.
Let the person know you are coming and the approximate time you are arriving. People in difficult situations need to see others respecting their schedules and being thoughtful.
Let recipients know that you will keep your stay short. Asking the simple question of “Do you have time for a 15 minute visit?” reduces the recipients’ need to socialize with you. Many recipients who would normally be sociable may prefer a bit of solitude to cope with their situation.
Many times those who have had surgery or are requiring extra sleep will keep a cooler outside in a shady area to place meals in so that they will not be disturbed from needed rest. Ask them if they would prefer this delivery method. If there is no cooler, we have some donated Styrofoam coolers to use to deliver the meals in available to deliverers.
Let the recipient know that they won’t need to return any dishes. This can really take the stress of someone deciding to accept a meal.
Whenever someone is utilizing the free meal scheduling Internet tools like www.mealtrain.com or www.takethemameal.com, meals from our freezer can be used for these situations.