If you’ve ever been ill, been hospitalized for any reason, given birth, or experienced a death in the family, and if friends and family have brought you food, then you know what a blessing it is to receive meals at a time like that. Or if you’ve had a friend in one of those situations and you wanted to do something to help, then you know also how good it feels to be able to provide a meal — something we all need and something that communicates care and warm thoughts like nothing else can.
I’d like to tell you about a website near and dear to my heart that was started by friends of mine five years ago. You may already know about it, and perhaps have even used it. It’s called Take Them a Meal.
What you may not know is how it got started. If you’ve read my post, Behind the Blog, then you know about my health crisis five years ago. After experiencing a cardiac arrest that landed me in the hospital for three weeks, I came home to my husband and four young children still too weak and sick to care for them.
So many friends and family had been praying for me during my illness, and they wanted to show how much they cared by providing food for our family. When my dear friend, Adina, offered to coordinate a meal schedule for us, she was overwhelmed with phone calls from folks wanting to help. She asked a mutual friend, Scott, if he could set up a simple schedule online, so that people who wanted to bring a meal could see which dates were available and could sign up quickly and easily. He did, and labeled it simply www.takethemameal.com. People found out about it, and just like that the meal schedule was filled.
Friends who had used this website to bring meals to our family told other friends how fantastic it was to have an easy way to schedule meals for loved ones who needed it and they used it and told their friends how wonderful it was, and…..you get the picture. Since it’s beginning 5 1/2 years ago, 250,000 families have been served, and over 2 million meals have been provided!
It really is so simple to use but so wonderfully helpful in coordinating meal schedules. The meal coordinator (the person who takes the initiative to start a meal plan for a friend or loved one) clicks on the “create a meal plan” button, and the rest is explained step by step. The whole process of setting up a schedule takes just five minutes or less. Those who want to participate in giving meals can hop on the site and search for a recipient by last name, enter the password (that the meal coordinator has given out via email to those interested in helping), and the meal schedule with all the dates when meals are needed appears right there in front of them. They simply enter their name and what they plan to bring (optional). A reminder email will be sent by TTAM a day or two before the meal is scheduled to be taken.
I’ve been blessed by TTAM more than just at its beginning. I’ve since had another hospitalization, as well as a birth, both times receiving meals through this website. And I’ve been blessed to use it many more times to schedule or participate in meal plans for friends with new babies or friends recuperating after a hospital stay. In fact, I had the privilege of taking meals to two friends from church just this past week, one who had just welcomed her sixth child into the world the day before, and one who had recently come home after being hospitalized for a heart event.
Also this week, I’ve signed up on TTAM’s companion site, Perfect Potluck, to take green beans, cookies, and tea to our church’s potluck on Sunday!
Thanks, Adina and Scott, for the wonderful tool you created to bless me and my family when we really needed it, and to allow others to bless their loved ones in the same way. And thanks too, to those (many!) of you who initiated Take Them a Meal 5 1/2 years ago by signing up to bless my family with meals when I was too sick and weak to care for them myself. Your kindness will never be forgotten!