This post originally appeared on my blog almost six years ago so I thought it was time to revisit it and share it with more of you! The good news is, all of the services I originally reviewed are still going and many have made improvements and updates over the years.
Helping those in time of need can seem overwhelming but with these Seven Free Services you learn How to Organize Meals for Friends, Family and Those In Need easily and quickly so that the help can start right away.
When my kids were younger, it seemed like there was always a need to help out with meals and other services when new babies were born. As my kids grew, the needs moved on to requests from the PTO to help with special events for the teachers. Over those years, sadly, there has been a need to help those who have a family member pass away.
No matter the circumstances, helping others is just one way to help make things a little easier on those who are on the receiving end. But it’s much more helpful to have one person coordinating meals or other helpful services when someone has a new addition, is ill or recovering from surgery or after a loved one has passed away. Like I said, even our school has taken advantage of using an online meal coordinating service to find volunteers to help out with the weekly teaching team snacks. It’s a way for recipients to get healthy meals and avoid the drive thru or other prepared foods all the time.
I remember after my children were born, I was lucky have lots of friends that wanted to help by bringing our family a prepared meal. That meant less time worrying about making dinner and more time to focus on the baby. Back then (which was over a decade ago now), meals were usually coordinated by one person and she assigned the days, followed up to make sure the meal was going to be delivered and let me know who was bringing what and when to expect it and made sure not everyone was planning to bring a lasagna. Not to mention the multiple emails the coordinator had to send out and the extra emails the group received when a “reply all” email was sent. While the efforts were truly appreciated, times have changed and there are many online services now that help make the coordinator’s job a bit easier.
Whether it is through your church, moms group or just neighbors and friends, I’ve collected a list of all the services I found online that may help make coordinating helping others a bit easier! Each one offers a little something different and all of them are free to sign-up and use. Remember to think beyond just delivering meals, too. Some families can use help with childcare, housekeeping, grocery shopping or other errands and more (which some of these sites help you coordinate too!).
Just click on the service name and it will take you to each one’s website so you can check them out yourself!
• Allows you to schedule services beyond just bringing a meal like housework, running errands, childcare.
• Gives maps and driving directions to recipient.
• How It Works Demo and sample meal plan
• Message Board for communicating with recipient and other contributors
• Sends email reminder to participants before their scheduled day.
• Receives email reminder before the meal date.
• Allows you to post comments for everyone in the group.
• Has options to help with meals for families but also with care services.
• Also works for coordinating volunteers for schools, churches or other groups.
Take Them a Meal
• Offers a sample schedule to let you know how it works.
• A Bowl of Good program allows participants to order meals and have them delivered (frozen) to the recipient. Available in 24 of the 50 United States, primarily in the northeast, Midwest, mid-Atlantic and southeast part of the country.
• Regularly updated blog offers recipe ideas (with pictures!)
• Sample Registry lets you see how it works.
• Allows you to purchase gift cards from more than two dozen different restaurants or grocery stores. Great if you are not local but still want to help out!
• Offers option to “give more” by making a donation to Feed the Children charity.
• Blog has recipes and other info.
If the job of coordinating such efforts is usually left to someone else in your circle of friends, church, school or other community group, be sure to let them know about these resources too!