Just in case you have no idea what a meal train is, I’ll give a quick definition. The family, or someone designated to help the family, coordinates dates and times for their community to bring them a meal.
When I was pregnant with my kids, somebody set up a meal train for us. Back then they had to call a bunch of people up and coordinate dates on their paper schedule. Then they would call me and let me know what was coming and when. Aren’t you thankful for advancement in technology?
Now, there are websites where it is all easily coordinated. The family and community can all have a look and see instantly with what and when they can help out. You can easily see how many will be eating, what they might not like or be allergic to, and what other people are bringing, so the family doesn’t get four lasagnas in one week.
Here are some popular meal train websites:
- mealtrain.com – The unique features of this website are the journal and donations. I like that the family has an option to keep their community up to date, if they want. I also like the donate option. If the family is in need of finances their friends can easily donate on this website. After some searching, I noticed there is a fee deducted, so it might be better to send money directly.
- mealbaby.com– This meal train site is not just for families with new little ones. It can be used for other burdened times too. I love that it has extra easy options for you to be able to send a restaurant gift card or gourmet meal, if bringing your own home-cooked meal isn’t an option.
- Caringbridge.org– Many families that are going through a burdened time, especially dealing with health concerns, use this site already. We found it easiest just to use the planner that was on this site. The bonuses are that it is already there with the journal updates. I also liked that you could add other needs like childcare, transportation, or pet care.
- takethemameal.com – The distinct difference in this meal site is that it has recipes! I know when I am bringing a family a meal, knowing what to make can stump me. This site seems to have many recipes with divisions like: dairy free, gluten free, freezer meal, and more. It also has the option, like mealbaby.com, to send a gourmet meal of your choice.
If you know a burdened family, see if you can set up a meal train for them through one of these sites. I know it will be a big blessing and they will feel well cared for by you.