While it is important to plan food and drinks for parties and organized gatherings, today I want to remind us of the importance of having food around to share hospitality with on spur of the moment occasions. This may be to take a meal to someone who has lost a job or a loved one or to have all the neighborhood kids play at your house so that you can keep an eye on what your own kids are up to. It is important to have some standard hospitality items around.
First of all, I alway keep the items needed to put together a quick freezer meal for someone in need. Around our house this usually means pasta, sauce, and broccoli (because these all freeze well). We also always have hot dogs, buns, and veggie sticks around. These are inexpensive items, but having them on hand will allow you to jump in and feed someone going through a difficult time or just because of a last-minute get together. You can have them over to eat at your home or take a meal to them. Either way, you are offering them hospitality. You would be surprised how much a meal can mean to someone. When we lost a child through miscarriage we had friends feed us for several nights. This helped more than all the words and calls. I just didn’t have to worry about what to have for dinner.
Secondly, I keep snacks on hand for impromptu get-togethers. We limit the amounts of processed foods on hand but we keep things like bulk yogurt (which can be frozen into coin-sized treats or served in bowls), applesauce, carrot sticks, graham crackers, and peanut butter. Almost any kid will snack on these foods. We also keep Kool-Aid and water cold for the same reasons. (Be sure to check with parents about allergies.)
Third, I keep paper plates, cups, plasticware, and Take-and-Toss sippy or straw cups stocked in the house at all times. These items are again inexpensive, but if we end up hosting people last-minute they come in very handy. We have a bin in the pantry (a dish washing bin that was under $2 at our local “Mart) with all these disposable products in them. This way when we have the chance for last-minute hospitality, all we have to do is set out the bin and all the needed items are ready to go!
Never underestimate the positive influence you can be on a child or a family simply by sharing the gift of hospitality through food and drink!