Organize Food Sharing with Meal Train

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Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever wanted to help out a friend in need? Have you ever gone through a significant life event like illness, loss of a loved one, or new baby and had friends ask you what they could do to help? Sometimes when life gets chaotic, one of the most appreciated things people can do for each other is prepare and share meals.

Back in the pre-internet days these were organized by people usually by phone or through community functions, such as at a church. A coordinator would call and organize the calendar and the meal sharing program for the individual or family in need and would have to relay all the pertinent information one-by-one. This took a lot of time and effort on the part of the organizer.

Luckily with the internet this has become much easier. Although I’ve participated in other meal sharing events that were run via Google calendar, I recently participated in one that was facilitated on a website that is geared specifically toward meal sharing called Meal Train. In my opinion it is far superior to trying to coordinate this type of event in Google Calendar.

When using Meal Train, the organizer sets up the account and enters all the details about the meal share into the account information. Then she can email all the friends she wants to include and send them an invite to join Meal Train.

From there, the people who want to participate can create an account, log in and see the family’s food preferences, dietary restrictions, likes, dislikes, and dates and times requested for meals. There’s also a section to include any other notes such as, “Please just drop off with a quick hello, we’re still trying to get adjusted over here and although we very much appreciate you cooking for us, we’re unable to host visitors at this time.”

Once you’ve selected the date you want to prepare a meal for your friends, you’re asked what the meal will be and it’s scheduled in a common calendar so everyone who is participating can see so as to avoid preparing the same meals too close to one another. After your time slot is scheduled you receive a confirmation email and a reminder email about 24 hours before your meal was requested to be delivered.

Meal Train makes meal sharing so much easier than any other system I’ve used for this type of event. Have you used Meal Train or other similar program? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the blog comments!

About the author:

  • I have never heard of MealTrain, but it sounds like a wonderful program and a great way to ensure the person doesn’t end up with multiple meals all on the same day, or well-meaning friends bringing over food they can’t eat. Thank you for highlighting this unique resource!

  • TracyKPierce

    I had never heard of it either until a friend of mine introduced me… It really is a great resource! I hope a lot of people get benefit from this, I know it certainly can be a challenge to organize meal sharing and this makes it so much easier!

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