Each year, Trinity coordinates a meal delivery to area shut-ins and other families on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and the Saturday of Easter Weekend. Titled Holiday Hot Meals, the meal consists of a generous helping of turkey or ham (depending on the holiday) vegetable and potato sides, rolls, and a dessert. Over 50 volunteers work to cook and package the meals and then drive them to residents of Warren and Forest Counties. We are especially blessed to have many other churches partner with us, including First Lutheran, First Presbyterian, First Methodist, St. Francis of Assisi in Youngsville, and others.
The tangible object may be a meal, but maybe more importantly we visit those most vulnerable to loneliness on these holidays to remind them that they are loved. We like to say that we bring a big helping of love on the holiday, all in Jesus’ name.
How it happens
Work begins almost two months ahead of time, when contact is made with local agencies who offer services to the elderly and shut-in population, informing them of dates and times when we will need their information. Experience, Inc., Warren Hospice, and UPMC all help us by coordinating recipient lists. Next, volunteer leaders for the kitchen, driver teams, and packing steps all check in and begin asking for volunteers. Two weeks out we check supplies and prepare an order for food and other needed items.
The week prior to delivery we receive the lists from the area agencies, finalize the food order, organize the delivery routes, and call the volunteers to remind them of their roles. The food order arrives at First Lutheran a few days prior to the delivery day (We are blessed to use for their kitchen and dining room for this ministry!). The day prior a team goes in to prep the routes, including bagging the rolls, packaging desserts, slicing the main course, and cleaning the insulated bags used for holding the meals during delivery.
Then 6AM on delivery day the kitchen crew arrives, with the packing crew soon after getting to work. By 9AM the first meals are packaged and the first driver team sent out. Long routes are sent first, followed by the rest of the driver teams based on when they arrive and check in. By 12Noon, the kitchen is done and cleaned, many routes have been completed and their insulated bags returned, and lots of happy recipients enjoy the holiday.
How you can help
- Pray. Join us in offering thanks to God for the opportunity to spread his love through this ministry. Pray for the recipients that they may know and receive grace and peace through this meal. Then ask for protection and care to the drivers, kitchen volunteers, and all those involved in making this happen.
- Donate. Holiday Hot Meals operates on monetary donations, including the Warren Gives online fundraiser each spring. If you missed that chance, you can always use Trinity’s online donation tool to help support our work. Other organizations also coordinate donations. Thank you to all who help us make this happen!
- Volunteer. Call the office (814-723-9360) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to offer you help. Include your phone number and what role you would like to help with:
- Driver (please indicate short or long route). We invite individuals and teams (preferred) to drive short local routes or long (1-2 hour+) delivery routs.
- Kitchen – it takes special people to cook and clean for 300 meals. Be a hero today!
- Pack and coordinate – a team of folks helps assemble the meals and send the drivers on their way.