There's a familiar drill when people find themselves incapacitated due to illness, injury or family woes. Friends leap to their kitchens to provide a parade of meals so that nutrition is the last thing the family needs to worry about until they get back on their feet.
Coordination is the key to fending off pans of lasagne being delivered on Monday, Wednesday AND Friday. But that's easier said than done. E-mails work, and sometimes more tech-savvy friends set up a sort of grid or schedule that people can fill in. But I recently ran across the best solution I've seen yet.
TakeThemAMeal.com is a website started about five years ago by Adina Bailey and Scott Rogers, who live in Virginia. When a friend collapsed from a heart condition, the phone trees started. Everyone's best intentions proved overwhelming, so they set about designing a site that eliminated the need for all the calls and e-mails.
At their site, a coordinator sets up a page that users access with the recipient's name and a designated password to keep the information secure among friends, sort of like how CaringBridge works. You sign up for a day and record the meal you intend to bring. The coordinator can add details such as best drop-off times, food allergies, whatever.
You also get an e-mail reminder the day before you're supposed to deliver your meal.
The site even includes some recipes for those who want to help out, but maybe need a jumpstart to come up with tried-and-true family recipes.
TakeThemAMeal.com is one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ideas. Having said that, I'm guessing that others have come up with similar hassle-saving online tools that help us help our friends.
Are there other sites worth recommending? And how about that food: What are some of the most well-received meals you've pulled together for a family? And other helpful tips regarding packaging, prep instructions, unexpected niceties that help people get better?