Where does the Funding for this ministry come from in your organization?
In the beginning this ministry was funded by individual gifts and the church budget. Then grants were requested and added to this. As the ministry grows we have requested more funds from all of these sources.
Current sources of funding:
-Line item in our budget
-Funds from grants & VISA cards from various agencies
-Discounted quantity pricing from local grocery stores
-Bulk pricing from Wholesale Clubs
b. Food like frozen hamburger, ham and venison as well as Pasta dishes and Soups.
c. Desserts made by gracious cooks
d. Leftovers from church potlucks, funeral luncheons and Lenten soup suppers
e. Upright freezer
f. Styrofoam coolers for meal delivery
g. Meal Storage containers from a local food delivery service
How much does an average cook session cost?
In 2014, our cook sessions ranged in cost from $500 to $800.
The cost per cook session varies depending on how many meals are made, the type of meat used, and how much food is donated or left from a previous cook session.
What spaces at our organization do we need for a cook session?
A kitchen with a work space, a stovetop, an oven, and basic cooking supplies. Specific cooking supplies can be added by team members.
A gathering space with tables for assembling the meals. We use long rectangular tables. And we have added using bed risers on some of the tables, especially the bread table.
What packaging items are necessary to have on hand at each cook session?
2 gallon (Jumbo) Ziploc freezer/storage bags
1 gallon Ziploc freezer bags
Quart Ziploc freezer storage bags
Snack size Ziploc storage bags
Aluminum containers 8 ½” x 5 15/16”x 1 13/16” with lids size
Plastic containers 8 ½” x 5 15/16” x 1 13/16” with lids size
Avery labels # 5163
Where are the Food & Packaging items purchased for the meals?
Various local & chain grocery stores
Wholesale Clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco
Internet Retailers like Amazon
Donations from members
Donations from local food delivery services
What Inventory supplies are suggested to have on hand for this ministry?
Assortment of measuring cups & spoons
Assortment of Large & Medium bowls
Assortment of Large Pots
Assortment of Large baking sheets
Assortment of Large sturdy mixing spoons
Assortment of Spatulas
Sharp knives for slicing bread
Kitchen shears for trimming meats
Various spices (your inventory will grow on this as you make more and more variety of meals) – We try to buy super-size seasonings at Wholesale Clubs whenever possible and especially for recipes that get made frequently, like the Garlic Bread recipe. When we get low on Oregano we put it on the next shopping list since we use this every time we make garlic bread
Please see specific recipes for other items
Was it necessary to purchase all of the supplies and/or cooking utensils needed?
No, our organization comes with a pretty well-stocked kitchen.
If you don’t have a fully stocked kitchen at your organization, we have tried to include in each recipe all the utensils that will be needed for that recipe so that you can gather them from other sources like we did at the beginning of the ministry
Over time we decided it was best for us to have our own items like measuring cups & spoons, sharp knives, spices, food scale, etc.
What types of storage are needed?
-The first months of our ministry shared the church’s freezer that is located in our church’s large kitchen.
-During our first year, we realized we needed a dedicated freezer for our ministry since the church’s large freezer was used by too many ministries and it was out of the way for members to remember to take meals to those in need. In order to be more accessible to our members we located our dedicated freezer in our common area near our Welcome Desk. This change caused the meals to be distributed more rapidly. Our first dedicated freezer was donated to us by a member. It is frost free and measures 59”H x 28”W x 28 ½” D with interior shelves having a width of 23 1/8”. This is probably a bit less than a 14 Cu. Ft. freezer. The very important measurement is the 23 1/8” interior shelf width since this holds 2 stacks of meal packages side by side.
-During our 2nd year, we added a 2nd freezer to our ministry that was located in our smaller parish kitchen. This freezer measures 54”H x 28”W x 28 ½” D with interior shelves having a width of 23 1/8”. In this freezer, we kept the extra inventory of meals made that we use to refill the other freezer. We also keep leftover ingredients from other meals that we can use in future meals, like cheese, butter, garlic spread, bread crumbs, vegetables etc. This arrangement allowed us to make 2 meals per cook session and to store 40 – 60 meal packages. If our freezers are not empty prior to the cook session, we usually have to send find other freezer space to store some of the extra meals. This freezer was purchased at a discounted price from a friend of a member.
-In our 6th year, we have recognized a great need for more freezer space so we acquired the funds to purchase a 3rd freezer that is 21 Cu. Ft. We placed our 2 smaller freezers side by side in our common area since these 2 freezers are so efficient in storing 2 packaged meals side by side with the 23 1/8” internal shelves. Our 3rd freezer is now in our smaller parish kitchen. In this freezer, we keep the extra inventory of meals made that we use to refill the other freezers, our leftover ingredients that we will use in future meals, and our food purchases for future cook sessions. We are now able to cook 3 meals at a cook session and store 60 – 80 meals in our freezers.
Large Plastic Storage Containers with lids
-Our Packaging Items, Dry Goods, and non-perishable food items we keep in large plastic storage tubs. We currently store these in a team member’s home who lives close to church and who prepares the cook session planning document including food & packaging shopping lists.