Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Help for the Homeless

I agonize over what to do when people ask for money, pleading that they are cold and hungry. Living near downtown Salt Lake City, I get asked for help a lot - in the parking lot of the grocery store, on the side of the street, I've even had people come knock on my door asking for help.

I want to help - but I worry... I worry about safety. I worry about really helping -- I don't think cash is the best way to help someone and I don't usually carry cash on me anyway.

So I finally did something I have been thinking about doing for awhile. I put together some bags. Each quart-sized Ziploc bag contains:
*A small bottle of Gatorade
*A granola bar
*A box of raisins
*A pocket pack of Kleenex
*Two hand warmers
*A couple of miniature candy canes
*A copy of the Homeless Resource List from www.211ut.org

It cost me about $3 per bag to put these together. I am really excited to be able to hand these out this holiday season. My husband is skeptical; I am hoping that he is wrong and that these will make a difference to people that have fallen on hard times.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Angel Babies

Angel Babies is a site dedicated to second and third trimester loss. It was started by a woman whose 5-week premature baby lived 3 hours.

There is a brochure for parents; as I read through it I was impressed by all of the things I wouldn't have thought of. The brochure talks about options and things to consider for a birth plan, ways to commemorate the baby's brief life, handling the baby's remains, even how to involve siblings.

There is also a section devoted to what family and friends can do to help. One theme running through the comments is how important it is to acknowledge the loss. There were several comments like this one that just made my heart ache for the grieving mother:

*I hated feeling like I had the plague when I finally had the guts to go back to church a month after I had her because no one would look at me. Saying that they are "sorry" is better than saying nothing at all.

There were also some reminders that cards and emails are wonderful because the person can open them when they are ready and can look back on them when they are feeling down. I loved the way this woman put it:

*It would have been nice if people had emailed me instead of calling. That way I could have read or responded to emails in my own time instead of having someone on the phone that I may or may not be up to talking to.

Another thing I found eye opening was the comments about remembering the grieving father:

*A lot of my husband's coworkers donated some of their own time off to him so he didn't have to take his own. He had a total of a week's worth of time off donated to him.

*One thing my husband has talked about on more than one occasion was that he wished people remembered to ask about him and how he was doing. He lost a daughter too, it wasn't just me.

This web site is a wonderful resource!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Take Them a Meal

What do you make when you take dinner to someone?

Take Them a Meal features several women that share a favorite recipe, transport tips, their favorite meal they've received, and a meal disaster they've experience. I got some great tips from this site - and some new recipes to try! This site also has a meal scheduling tool.

I thought I'd share my "recipes and tips" for taking a meal into someone.

Megan's Favorite Recipe - Chicken Enchiladas

  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 3 cans cream of chicken
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 doz flour tortillas

Mix chicken, cream of chicken, chiles, cheese and sour cream in a mixing bowl until smooth. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13 casserole dish. Put a scoop of sauce in each tortilla, roll up, and place next to each other. Pour remaining sauce over top of enchiladas. Cover with grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese melts.

I love this recipe because I can make it in the morning and then pop it in the oven half an hour before it's time to go. I make a second pan for my family (just split the recipe into two 9 x 9 pans if the family I'm taking the meal to is also small). This goes well with a green salad or jello salad, rice, and cornbread muffins.

Megan's Transport Tips

I try to take everything in disposable containers so the person receiving the meal doesn't have to wash and return. It can get expensive, though, to buy disposable containers if you take meals in very often. I like the chicken enchiladas because I can scoop them out of the pan onto a sturdy paper plate or two and cover with tin foil to take. I also love ziplock bags for salad and rolls.

I also load everything up in one of the boxes from Costco. That way I can get everything to the door in one trip and I don't have to worry about leaving my hot pads with whoever answers the door.

Megan's Favorite Meal She's Received

I love anything I didn't have to cook! My family isn't picky and we like just about everything.

I had a friend call and ask if she could bring me dinner. Not for any particular reason, just because. That was a wonderful surprise!

Megan's Meal Disaster

Once I completely forgot I was taking dinner to someone. I mean, I remembered a couple of days later. Luckily that particular meal had been split up and someone else was taking a main dish and dessert and so I was supposed to take salad and rolls. Oops! Really could have used a tool like Take Them a Meal that sends email reminders the day you are supposed to take in a meal.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Pursuit of Parenthood

My heart goes out to those that want to be parents but, for whatever reason, haven't been able to have children yet.

I really ache for those I know that struggle with this, but I don't always know what to say. Okay, I usually don't know what to say. So sometimes I say the wrong thing. In fact, I could list plenty of times I've said the wrong thing, starting with the time I was 13 and asked a woman at church that I didn't know very well if she was going to have any children and she burst into tears.

So when I came across the rules for talking to those struggling with infertility on In Pursuit of Parenthood, I thought, "I need to bookmark these!"