Meal Train: For People Who Fall Between the Cracks

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I may have mentioned this on my blog or in comments before, but I am going to tell you about it again for a very important reason.

When I was a small child, we (siblings and cousins all) spent summers with my grandmother. She was a hard working enterprising woman who worked a farm and had a green thumb. My uncle built her a green house. Aside from her cooking, which a vast collection of county fair ribbons proved was the best around, she could make anything green flourish and grow. She was well known for both.

On Saturday mornings, she would get up before sunrise, go out to the hen house, wring a couple to a few necks, scald off the feathers, wash and prepare the meat, and fry up a half dozen to a dozen chicken dinners, throw on some mashed potatoes and biscuits, a side of green beans and take these dinners to all of the people on the prayer list at church.

All us grandchildren would pile into the car, and Grandfather drove us to the homes of the sick and shut-in. There, we would sing songs, make beds, wash linens, do dishes, sweep floors, whatever needed to be done. They were always happy to see Miss Barbara coming with her crew.

Before we left, Grandmother would comment on their potted plants and shrubs. This flattery always resulted in people begging her to take a few cuttings, which she did, in carefully, wet, rolled newspaper.

When we got back to the farm at the end of the day, it was the grandchildren’s job to set these cuttings into sand filled, wooden soda bottle flats. My uncle had rigged up irrigation that misted these until they rooted. That is how she started a horticulture business and nursery that has passed through four, going on five, generations. We spent our days pulling weeds, watering and repotting plants.

I am certain that this Saturday ritual is partially responsible for my nursing career and my love of gardening. More significantly, though, it is responsible for my compassion to care for those in need.

Nowadays, with families spread out all over the map and people, young and old, far removed from children, parents and grandparents, especially in some of the bigger cities, people are often alone when dealing with pregnancies, childbirth, surgeries and illness. Churches don’t always pick up on the isolated, the sick and the shut-in unless a church relationship has already been established. There are also those with an aversion to the church for whatever reasons.  Compassion is not reserved for saints.

Through her mothering groups from Facebook, my daughter was introduced to “Meal Train”. It is a nifty tool for organizing events through social media. Check it out. Bookmark the page. The Meal Train makes it possible for people to reach out and connect to each other in times of need. It’s FREE to use!

How it works:

When you learn of someone in need; for example, a young woman who has a C-section and no family in town, a lady who lives alone and just had knee surgery, a gentleman who just came home from the hospital…you, your organization, or church representative can go to Meal Train and use the calendar to set up a meal train for that person. A week, a month, 6 weeks, whatever they are going to need.

It makes organization a breeze. The organizer gets the allergies, food preferences or dislikes from the candidate. The candidate’s address and info are entered by the organizer. The meal train gets posted to Facebook groups and/or email lists…people in the groups or on the list can sign up to drop off a meal on a date that is convenient for them. In this way, there is no left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. The recipient doesn’t end up getting the same dinner every night. The schedule and food to be prepared are posted right on the meal train site.

It is easy to plan the family meal to include another plate for one night of your choosing.

If you see the Meal Train link on your Facebook page, click on the link and do a good deed.

Pass it on to your local groups.

Know someone in need? Organize a Meal Train.

Support Friends. Strengthen Community.

Promote Social Progress.

18 thoughts on “Meal Train: For People Who Fall Between the Cracks

    • Churches are using this nifty tool to organize through social media.

      Once you use it, you’ll see how easy it is to keep things organized for a large group or a small group over time. Really handy.

    • She was an amazing woman. Thank you for passing this along. It is becoming quite popular here in Orlando. I would love to see people using this free service regularly everywhere.

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