After I had my kids and returned home from the hospital, settling into a new routine was definitely a transition. The kind gestures from family and friends including the cute deliveries of flowers in little ducky vases, personalized blankets and layette were so appreciated, but what helped the most in those first few tiresome weeks were those who brought home-cooked meals.
A hot meal to someone in need of help, whether due to a new baby, an illness, a family emergency, whatever the case may be, can make the most difference to a family in transition. To those of you generous individuals who always take on the task of organizing meal deliveries, Meal Train is a helpful website that makes the entire process much easier.
Rather than sending out a long email list and having to deal with multiple responses, emails crossing over each other, confusion over who has which dates, Meal Train creates a central repository where everyone can see what the meal delivery plan is.
One person acts as the organizer and enters in all the information about the recipient(s), including address, preferred drop-off times, special instructions, allergies, favorite meals and more. The people who are participating in the meal delivery can then pick and choose dates on the calendar, leave notes and share the “meal train” with others who may not have been included via email or Facebook.
When you have volunteer to deliver a meal through Meal Train, the site also sends you a helpful reminder and adds your delivery date to your calendar.
The site even shares meal delivery etiquette with tips like:
- Don’t forget the extras like drinks, condiments, salad dressing, and dessert!
- If there are children in the household, consider including a special toy or treat for them to help with what may be a transitional time.
- If you plan to have something delivered (e.g. pizza), make sure to pay for a tip in advance and specify the delivery time.
- If possible, deliver your meal in a recyclable or reusable container.
- Include clear preparation instructions, i.e. "Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees."
Meal Train is free for the basic meal planning organizational features, but if you need more comprehensive planning for things in addition to meals (like childcare, appointments, rides, housework, etc.), Meal Train Plus is available for a one-time fee of $10.