A Little Time and a Keyboard: Climb Aboard Meal Train

Climb Aboard Meal Train

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food is sustenance, but there are times in life when it's just too daunting a task to prepare a good meal. These times can include periods of illness, a recent surgery or - much more happily - the arrival of a newborn baby.

Thankfully, there is Meal Train to answer this need. I discovered its existence through a recent church bulletin, in which meal donations were requested for a parishioner struggling with a serious illness. Her daughter - an adorable little girl - is in a Sunday School class with my daughter.

When you go to log on at www.mealtrain.com, you are prompted to set up an account; this helps ensure privacy for the meal recipients. Once registered, you can access the person's meal train. It is highlighted by a Calendar of Meals, where you can book a date to supply a meal (typically a dinner). You see what dates are available (no duplication), and what others have committed to bring. There is an address where meals are to be dropped off; a preferred drop-off time; a list of favorite meals; any meal dislikes/allergies/dietary restrictions; the number of people eating and any special instructions. There is also a message board on which the meal recipient can post.

This online system is ingenious; it's the old "let's bring so-and-so a casserole" taken to the next level. Mealtrain.com creates a very smooth flow of meal donations; you can even invite others to join a specific meal train via an emailed message or a Facebook posting. If you can think of someone who might benefit from this service, why not sign up and make their life a little easier?

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