How Meal Trains Work, and Why They’re Life-Giving


How Meal Trains Work, and Why They're Life-Giving, meal train helpHave you ever participated or been the recipient of a Meal Train during any difficult season of your life such as the addition of a new baby or grieving a death in the family?

If you have, then you probably already understand the true beauty of how this seemingly mundane gesture genuinely makes an impact on families in need.

I came across this quote from Edith Schaeffer’s book “The Hidden Art of Homemaking” and it perfectly encapsulates the power of the Meal Train:

“Food cannot take care of spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavour of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems.”

And that’s really it.



When is a Meal Train Appropriate?

It may look like the sole purpose of a Meal Trains is to feed people, but deep down it’s also equipping families to face whatever challenge they are currently navigating.

I have been participating in Meal Trains for over a decade. What started out in my mom’s group as a way to provide meals to families with newborns has now become a way to bless those who: 

  • suddenly and unexpectedly had to start fostering their niece and nephew following a juvenile dependency lawsuit
  • worked as a nurse and very badly injured her finger rendering her unable to work and earn a living or care for her children for weeks
  • had kids were recovering from various kinds of major surgery while also trying to care for other young children
  • quickly left an abusive marriage and found a safe, new house for her and her children
  • are just going through a season where they cannot get their head above water

How Meal Trains Help

Getting dinner on the table is one of the hardest tasks every single day. Every family I know that has been the recipient of a Meal Train (including myself) have always marveled at how unexpectedly helpful it was to receive meals several times a week. 

Even if you think you have it under control, just having the relentlessly continuous task of planning and making dinner off of your To-Do list is remarkably freeing!

Meal trains are helpful, even if your mom is in town

Even if you have relatives in town that help out, for even them to not have to worry about feeding your family frees them up to help in other ways such as with household tasks or just simply being present with your family during whatever season you are walking through.

Meal trains can be the building blocks of friendship

Meal Trains are also a great “first step” to building deeper community with those around you. It gives an opportunity for those friends or acquaintances who may be on your periphery to help you when they have all the best intentions but don’t really know how to be of assistance during what can be a more private family matter. 

I can’t tell you how many meal drop off’s have started with a “How are you doing?” and ended in vulnerable, tear-filled conversations and a new friendship forged when someone didn’t realize that another friend cared enough to bring a meal. This can only open up the door for further bonding and connection. This simple gesture is so powerful.

Feeding others when they are barely hanging on–for whatever reason life has thrown at them–is an easy yet incredible way to tangibly, practically, tactilely meet the needs of someone you love.

To be fed while you are barely hanging on–for whatever reason life has thrown at you–is nothing short of life giving.

Be a life-giver for someone in your sphere of influence who may need some extra support! It’s so easy to set up your first Meal Train, and here are some of our best tips to make it run smoothly! 💗


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