Nothing's quite like homemade chicken soup. A steaming bowl of it can soothe a sore throat, nourish a recuperating body and warm a soul.
It's also one of the ways the Deaconess Group at Discovery Christian Community in Salt Lake City, Utah, reaches out to help others, says Stacey Christensen, a member of the group.
Delivering homemade soup and other meals to members of the congregation who are ill, recuperating from surgery or in need has been a part of the group's
ministry for years. The current program, called Meals to Go, began two years ago.
About every six months, 10-15 women gather in the church kitchen on a Saturday morning.
"It's quite a sight. Some women are making pots of chili, some are cooking whole chickens, others are chopping bags and bags of vegetables," Stacey says. "We generally use family recipes. We try to choose ones that are simple to make, cost-effective and can be frozen and reheated easily."
The group usually makes three entrees.
"We always make our Chicken Noodle Soup," says Stacey. "People say it's the best they've ever tasted. They just love it. It's really nourishing, especially for those who are sick."
The meals are stored in the church freezer. Every meal is labeled with its contents, the date it was made and directions to warm it.
"We want the meals to be easy for them," she explains, since lightening the person's burden is a goal. "They say how much of a blessing it is not to have to worry about what to feed their family or how it helped them get through a tough week on a tight budget."
Each woman in the volunteer group "has a huge, huge heart," Stacey says. "They pour their whole heart into this ministry. It blesses us as much to do it as it does the people who receive it."
Those who get a batch of the group's Chicken Noodle Soup say it's comforting and delicious.
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