All Aboard the Meal Train: How to Organize and Execute Meal Deliveries When Loved Ones Need it Most



Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

If you’ve ever enjoyed a hot, steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup when you’re under the weather, you know the comfort that it can bring. Throughout life, there are moments where the gesture of a simple meal can truly go a long way when it comes to showing support, healing, and even encouragement. Organizing a meal train for a loved one is a beautiful way to help show up during the times where they need those things most.

Gather Support When You Can’t Gather Around the Table  

If you’ve never heard of a meal train before, the concept is simple! When a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor is going through a time where they need support, organizing food to be delivered to them regularly for a time period can take one thing off their plate. Examples of perfect times for initiating a meal train for them could be the addition of a new baby, recovery from surgery, loss of a family member, as well as many other times of struggle. In the midst of a global pandemic, it may not be as common to gather around the same table as our favorite people, but dropping off a meal or having one delivered is a safe and great way to show you care.

Organize Everything But the Kitchen Sink  

First thing to consider when organizing your meal train for someone is to know which dates you’re going to establish deliveries; both the start and end dates are important. Then you will want to communicate your plan with the person you’re going to bless with meals! Make sure they confirm the times of day they would like to receive deliveries and know if they or their family have any food favorites, as well as allergies or aversions. Next, consolidate a list of people who you’d like to invite to participate and have them sign up for a date on the calendar to deliver their meal to the person of choice. Some of your participants are not confident in the kitchen? Remind them that restaurant takeout and gift cards to places like DoorDash or GrubHub are more than appreciated.

Make Meal Delivery as Seamless as the Pros

If you want things to go off without a hitch, borrow a few tips from the professionals! Create calendar or text reminders to send to people before their assigned meal delivery date. You can even set up a Facebook group with everyone to keep communication going in case there is a cancellation or change in the meal train recipient’s schedule. When a dish is homemade, deliver it using toss away or recyclable food containers to remove worry about returning casserole dishes or Tupperware during a time where you are trying to make life easier for the recipient. Looking to make it even easier? Since 2010, Mealtrain.com, an American crowdsourcing platform that helps schedule and organize home-made meal giving for other people, has helped make it even easier to manage all the details. This website has free and paid options to make it simple to include large groups wanting to participate.

Remember That Good Food Can Go a Long Way

There is a reason we say that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. In difficult times we thirst for that dose of positivity, and oftentimes, our own community can give that to us. Next time you think about the recent widow in your neighborhood, the new mom at church, or your auntie’s upcoming round of chemotherapy, maybe a meal train is just what they need to be reminded how loved and supported they are.

 


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