Do you hear what I hear? A song, high above the trees, with a voice as big as the sea…We are in this TOGETHER. This tagline is resounding through communities everywhere, encouraging and engaging superheroes of all sorts. It’s becoming an anthem, a beautiful rallying cry…a voice of HOPE, as big as the sea. (Hey, a little bit of ‘Christmas’ always cheers things up, right?!)
In particular, we love the innovative ways people are helping each other and the economy; which helps all of us. How many of us have asked local restaurants and businesses to support a local schools, sports teams or annual fundraisers? Or have been on the receiving end of a local business’ generosity? In our community, these are the folks that generally step up eagerly and often. These restaurants and businesses have Little League team photos and thank you cards from school events hanging up proudly for all to see. It’s a rare thing for the tables to be turned, where the businesses are the ones that could use some support. We are going through one of the most trying times of modern history. It’s heartbreaking to see hard-working people struggle at no fault of their own, on both ends of the spectrum – and everywhere in between. Even so, we still see hope.
We personally know families who have workers in “essential” positions, including a Fireman who still goes out on calls not knowing who they will be exposed too and a Physician Assistant who works in the Emergency Room. These families are use to the general risks they are exposed to everyday. However, there’s now an extra layer that adds increased risks to their families at home. This means not being able to return home for long periods, having to stay in a travel trailer or some place outside the house and/or they have to take extra precautions to remove clothing, sanitize and quarantine items and themselves at certain times. It has a physical and emotion toll on the whole family. At the end of their shift, they can no longer turn off their day and “leave it at work”. However, they proudly continue, day after day.
Despite the depressed, fearful and uncertain air in our world today, imagine a community that rallies together not only over little league or school fundraisers, but especially for the couple who just welcomed their first baby during a time of isolation, the family whose 4 yr old is battling leukemia, the grandma who is going through chemo treatments alone since she can’t risk being exposed to the virus due to her suppressed immune system, the family who lost their son to a tragic car accident, the family who is struggling with COVID-19, the family whose Dad and Mom lost their jobs and are dealing with uncertainty, or the local business who is struggling to keep their doors open and their employees paid. These are all real people, real situations that are only scratching the surface of the needs that exist. There are so many opportunities to be a light all around us, to send encouragement and hope.
“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”Dr. Seuss
We just have to start, somewhere. What if we all pooled together, little by little, and helped our local community businesses by paying it forward to our frontline workers (eg. $5 each or whatever you can)? We could put the local restaurants to work by ordering take-out or delivery for the local frontline workers, knowing that we each contributed in our own way. What a win-win!! Restaurants get to keep their workers working, frontline workers get refueled and energized from the support and our community grows from the generosity of pulling together and getting things done; as we are supported by those frontline medical workers.
Food Tidings is use to seeing communities rally together. From our vantage point, we see the impact that generosity has every day; one that lasts a lifetime. Food Tidings schedules are being used to help individuals, groups, businesses, organizations, medical centers and countless others. Regardless of the name, we call it ”community”. We couldn’t be prouder, but we know ALL the credit goes to the “Organizers”. We are only a tool — it takes a person, an Organizer, to be the real difference maker.
We see countless ways of people saying “Thank you”. We see people stepping up and sharing. Face Book Groups have sprung up that are helping share supplies and letting people know when local stores are back in stock with some of the high demand items like baby food, baby wipes, toilet paper, eggs, milk, etc. More importantly, they are growing optimism and encouraging “community”, it’s such a beautiful thing. It just took one person to be an “Organizer”, to get it started.
While Food Tidings is used across America and world-wide, we are a local, family-owned and operated business in Northwest Phoenix, Arizona. To help local businesses in our own backyard, we are encouraging our community to support local restaurants and medical workers. For example, drop off your own take-out order or donate money gifts via a Food Tidings schedule that will be used to provide meals to local medical center workers through local restaurants.
We’ve adapted a version of our tool to allow “Purchase-only” schedules to accommodate collecting funds and meal purchases only. This enables meals on the schedule(s) to be made by restaurants rather than homemade; putting restaurants to work and giving confidence that the food handling and delivery is as safe as it can be.
Restaurants are giving their best prices and all proceeds will be going toward meals; Food Tidings won’t be making any profit on this effort. It is our joy and pleasure to enable and support communities; it’s especially endearing when it’s your own. It doesn’t take much, but it adds up quickly when we work together.
What COMMUNITY do you know that could use some support? Be the catalyst. Be the spark that ignites your community into a generosity machine. The benefits are always returned, it’s a universal principle. We are better together, no doubt.
Especially during this time, show the firefighters, policemen, medical workers or frontline workers near you that they matter. Your impact will be a life changing, history making. Go ahead, be an encouragement to others and spread hope – we would love to hear your stories. #FoodTidings #MeaningfulMeals #TidingsOfHope #Superheroes
If you need assistance or would like to customize a Food Tidings Schedule, let us know – we are happy to help! Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be the catalyst for your community!
New Year, new goals? How do you set your goals? Do you pick something from a bucket list, do you try to improve some area of your life or do you commit to stopping a bad habit? There are many motivations fo why we pick certain goals. However, of all the personal goal options, most of them are rooted in trying to be “happy”, right? The elusive challenge of just trying to be happy…
However, we want to let you in on a secret. We know of a sure way to happiness: “generosity”. I heard someone say, “I’ve never met an unhappy, generous person”. I haven’t either, have you? There’s something about generosity that is a universal principle. You give, and you get. You reap what you sow. Period.
However, generosity is rarely set as a “goal”. It’s often overlooked, taken for granted or considered a by-product of a nice act of kindness. Sure, we all try to “be nice” or “be kind”; at least, every now and then. However, imagine the impact you would have on your life if you made generosity a goal?
In fact, there is science behind it. Helping and serving others has proven to improve outcomes for others and YOU. Reduce depression, lift spirits, unlock happiness and make an impact that goes beyond a single act. These are just a few of the potential outcomes of putting others first and thinking beyond yourself. Don’t wait for the random and occasional acts of kindness; although, those are nice. Make generosity a part of your routine and everyday life; make it a goal.
We are inspired by Generous Giving’s (generousgiving.org) playbook, where they share that generosity extends from different aspects of your life. Using the acrostic: L.I.F.E.:
L – Labor (eg. Putting your hands or mind to work!)
I – Influence (eg. Who do you know, that can help someone else?)
F – Finances (eg. Giving, donating and sharing!)
E – Experience (eg. Your story was made to inspire, put it to use!)
Seasons of life will change how, where and when you serve others. However, you’ll never regret pouring into others and being generous…from whichever aspect fits best, at the time. We hope you make this your best year, yet — and share some aspect of your L.I.F.E. with others.
Be intentional about generosity. Infuse generosity into your life by committing to it and taking small steps to follow through and make it become part of who you are. We dare you — make generosity a goal and discover how much your life will change; yours and others.
Have a goal of being “happy”? Be generous.
Generous people are always the happiest people.
Be an Organizer. Be generous. Be happy.
“We’ve seen when ‘frozen’ actually warms the heart.”
Can you imagine life without a refrigerator or freezer? From the store or when planning ahead for dinner time, frozen food or meals are a staple item in most homes. We’ve seen this translate to a Food Tidings schedule, as well — groups will get together and make “freezer meals” to stock up for a family welcoming a new baby, Organizers will request extra portions of soup or a meal so the Recipient battling cancer can freeze the food for a future use or a Participant who lives in another state will have a meal shipped, grateful they can contribute to supporting their relative recovering from surgery. We have seen when ‘frozen’ actually warms the heart.
It’s been proven time and time again, that frozen meals can be a great fit for Food Tidings’ Participants and Recipients, alike. They are convenient to purchase when you are busy or live far away and easy and handy for the Recipient to enjoy at their convenience. That’s why we offer “shipped” or flash frozen meal options in the Food Tidings Shoppe; making it possible to provide a consistent, nationwide meal option to support families, in addition to the home-kitchen or local restaurant.
We take quality very seriously, so we make sure our vendors provide chef-prepared frozen options that make a you proud and represent you well. Trust us, these are not your Daddy’s frozen TV dinners who got a bad rap because they were processed, additive laden, and free of flavor – unless you count the taste of the aluminum tray, that is. Today’s frozen meals are a far cry from the foil-encased atrocities of yesteryear. They have come a long way, baby – thank goodness! In fact, we vet vendors to ensure they are providing the highest quality ingredients, keeping meals preservative and chemical free, flash freezing freshness in and using the most careful packaging and shipping for pre-made healthy meals; not to mention excellent customer service.
Additionally, we do most of the thinking for you! We select a variety of meals that meet various diet requirements, as well as covering plenty of the good ‘ol comfort food options. Our vendors, such as MagicKitchen.com, work with us to customize meal packages that fit our customer base; targeting favorites and nutrients that hit the mark for new Moms, surgery recovery, special diets, soups for those battling cancer or looking for lighter fare, etc. In-house chefs whip up these favorite dishes in small batches and immediately flash freeze them for delivery to a Recipient’s doorstep. Think of them as your personal chef and courier service, with a much lower price tag than if you hired them each yourself!
We’re big freezer believers and fans. Here’s five reasons frozen foods are often better than fresh:
Freeze the flavor
Flash-freezing produce and meals ensure the Recipient gets perfectly vine-ripened flavor whenever they’re ready to heat and eat. Typically, “fresh” produce is harvested early, before peak ripeness and then must ripen in a truck on the way to a grocery store.
Nutrients on ice
Key vitamins, nutrients and other good stuff is locked in when foods are frozen fresh. After just five days in the fridge, “fresh” produce counterparts loose vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.
Once frozen, produce and meals are no longer in a race against the freshness clock. Mealtime simply becomes more convenient. Frozen meals are easy to store – easy to make on the Recipient’s own schedule.
Frozen in time
Frozen food stays better for way longer. Ice is nature’s pause button and is perfect for the unpredictable, busy lifestyles of the real world.
Price drop – Savings
Because it’s easier to prepare and store, frozen foods end up saving money with much less waste. Less food going bad, more time to enjoy mealtime – it’s a win on all fronts.
Rest assured, science is on the side of frozen and you can be, too. We’ve tried our vendors’ frozen meals and we haven’t tasted a meal we didn’t like. We trust your Recipient will feel the same!
Warm someone’s heart, today!
5 Reasons Frozen Food is Better than Fresh, Veestro.com
People dream of having a post go viral. However, this is a nightmare you want to avoid.
An expectant Philadelphia couple recently went viral for an eyebrow-raising request. In a post on another site like FoodTidings.com, the husband explained that he and his wife were expecting their first child — and, as social media users were fast to point out, expecting a lot from their neighbors, too. In his note, he asked for volunteers to help support them — via 30+ specific meals, emotional support and house chores. This was met with a cynical eye, to say the least.
In fact, their post was viciously ridiculed online. Given the backlash that was unleashed via national news outlets, I’m guessing that many new soon-to-be parents or people dealing with an illness might be hesitant to ask for help.
However, let me assure you – it’s OK to ask your friends, family members, neighbors and even co-workers for support. You just have to do it graciously.
We were meant to do life together. When somebody is sick or has a baby, we want to rally around them. Although, asking complete strangers for food, then being very specific with what you want, feels demanding; especially in our tone-deaf, electronic world.
Whether you are about to have a baby, have a surgery scheduled or are dealing with a chronic illness, here are basic tips in asking for help – whether it’s online or in person:
“You just have to do it graciously.”Leading with humility, grace and love smooths the path for support.
It can seem aggressive to personally post links all over message boards and social media sites. Rather, have a friend, family member, co-worker or church volunteer be the “Organizer”. Let somebody be your advocate and rally people on your behalf. Let them share, “Hey, our friend is going to be recovering over the next couple of weeks, let’s help.”
While it’s ideal for someone else to organize support on your behalf, the reality is when it comes to getting the word out, you or someone in your immediate family are often in the best position to reach your community. Generally, no one else will conveniently have access to all your contacts. You can very tastefully give support info by sharing something like, “Thank you to all who have offered to help our family, we are so grateful. My good friend asked me to share this with you…” (then, include the FoodTidings link or other info you are sharing). This is totally acceptable, and appreciated by those that know you.
Supporters appreciate direction. Adding notes about dietary or medical restrictions are necessary (no one wants to make a condition worse!) and mentioning favorite foods or restaurants is super helpful. Asking strangers to make specific recipes is less reasonable; especially if there’s not a medical need.
To be clear, trying to eat “clean” or “Keto” is most often a choice, not a mandatory need. Chances are that you’ll cheat on any diet, at some point. Someone offering to make a meal for you is a great day not to be legalistic and to just enjoy the gift. You can hop right back on your “cleaner” wagon as soon as you are able.
Also, recognize that people want to help, but they do have their own lives going on; they may live far away, not be the best cook or just have a really busy week. Being willing to accept assistance in various forms; such as homemade meals, delivered meals, groceries, money gifts, chores, a visit or just a prayer. Gently outlining a few clear options for them is always nice, but allow people to figure out the best way they can support and contribute, guilt free. If you really can’t or don’t want to use a gift – feel free to (discreetly) give it away to someone that can use it. Let’s consider it regifting at its best – a win-win-win, with no hurt feelings.
Everyone wants to see the ‘star of the show’, and give their good wishes. If possible, make an effort to be on hand to accept the gifts your neighbors worked hard to deliver. However, most people will understand if recovering from surgery is expected to be particularly hard or that trying to catch naps to heal will have random timing. Coolers are on the porch can be used, but be sure that participants understand why that is necessary. Taping a “Hello” or “Sorry we missed you” note to the inside of the lid can be a surprise that will make them smile and let them know you wish you could have greeted them in person.
Always follow up with a thank you. The beauty of an online schedule is that it keeps a list of participants for you, so you don’t have to try to remember the details yourself. An email or handwritten note to acknowledge gifts is always welcomed and appreciated.
In fact, in my book, a thank you is a requirement. I used to tell my kids, “If you’re not willing to write a thank you, then you shouldn’t take the gift.” If circumstances prevent you from doing a thank you yourself, be sure to ask someone to help with that, as well. A grateful heart goes a long way and I have no doubt that someone would love to be the hand that pays it forward for you.
Do you know a family that is having a new baby, facing surgery, fighting cancer or dealing with a chronic illness? Save them from having to ask for help, see what support they could use and offer to be their advocate or organizer. Often, giving of yourself is so much sweeter than receiving.
Rally support for someone you know
I loved FoodTidings.com at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us. Matt 5:16
Sometimes I get “meal-idea-block”, unable to think of a “good” meal idea when I am asked to help a family with a dinner. Oh, the pressure. As though the meal needs to be amazing or they may think I’m a lousy cook! Sound familiar? Trust me, the struggle is real. So, let’s melt that “block”, together.
Here are a few ideas to keep up your sleeve (or anywhere handy that you’ll remember) for the next time you get asked to help with a Food Tidings schedule or a meal for a family.
I can assure you, these meal ideas are easy and travel well:
While these recipes or ideas may not win fancy awards, but they are meals that most families can and will eat. When a family is in need, that’s the most appreciated thing about getting a meal; they can enjoy it without having to think about it. Also, these meals require no special ingredients and can be made in double batches so you can feed your family that night, too!
Again, these are just a few general ideas to keep in mind. Go with it as they are, or use them as general themes to start the ideas flowing. If you’d like more specific recipe details, you can always use your favorite recipe(s) or find something on Pinterest or online.
In the end, I hope you’ve gained a few simple, quick, go-to dinner ideas to relieve the pressure the next time you are asked to serve another with a Food Tidings. Never be “meal-idea-blocked”, again. Be confident and, most importantly, know that anything will be appreciated!
Put these easy meal ideas to work for someone you care about!
Food Tidings Blog Contributor
After being the recipient and participant in many meal schedules, my husband and I co-founded Food Tidings in 2007. We have 8 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 9 chickens, 1 hedgehog and 2 bunnies (yes, we are THAT fun) 🙂 When I’m not on wife or mom duty, I love photography and capturing family moments, for other families and my own, to treasure.
I wanted to share a recipe for a quick, easy, and delicious meal that my family and I have really been enjoying lately. It gets two thumbs up from all four of our kids; and let me tell you, that can be challenging. It’s “Mississippi Pot Roast”, a recipe adapted from simplyhappyfoodie.com. Made in the Instant Pot, it literally fell apart when I opened the lid (which is a good thing for roasts, in my book!), and it took quite a bit of willpower to wait to eat it until dinner time! The amazing smell seemed to lure each of the kids to the kitchen, and I had to tell them we’re “closed” until dinner so it wasn’t gone before then. HA!
This would definitely be an awesome meal to bring to a friend or family member who is going through a transitional time in their life: had a baby, sick, going through treatment for cancer, recovering from surgery, just moved, has a chronic illness, a caregiver for a family member who is sick, or those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. We suggest taking it in some kind of container that you don’t mind getting back or something that is disposable.
We know it’s easy to get into a dinner making slump or get stuck on what to take as a Food Tidings meal. It’s always helpful to have ideas coming from friends. 🙂 We’d love to hear what your favorites have been lately – please share on our FaceBook page with #FoodTidings!
Start the celebration or encouragement, now!
Food Tidings Blog Contributor
Hello to our amazing Food Tidings community! My husband and I co-founded Food Tidings in 2007. It’s been amazing to watch it grow the way it has, and be such a wonderful tool for SO many people all over the world!
Anyone else think that sometimes the hardest part about dinner is planning what to make? Whether it’s for your family or a Food Tiding you’re dropping off for a neighbor, it can feel overwhelming. Dinner themes may be the ticket. Pick a theme for each night of the week and relieve some of the pressure by narrowing it down. Even if the meal is for another family, they’ll love that you’ve “included” them with your family theme and appreciate the food and gesture. So go for it, two meals for the planning of one.
An added bonus…our kids are creatures of habit, so they love the predicability and I love that they don’t ask me, “What’s for dinner” a million times. Win-win.
Here are some ideas to start your brainstorming, have fun with it. Let us know what your favorites are on Facebook with #FoodTidings!