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What to Ask When Creating a Meal Train for New Parents

The Essential Information to Know
two parents holding their sleeping baby
Image courtesy of The Conversation.

In this article, we’ll explore helpful ideas and important information to gather when creating a meal train for new parents. Ensuring they receive hearty nourishment during this transformative time is a meaningful form of support the community can provide.

Let’s show these new parents the care and support they deserve by filling their table with love and delicious food. Together, we can make their journey into parenthood a little bit easier and a whole lot tastier.

What is a meal train? The Importance behind them.

 

"pizza pasta casserole" noodles, cheese, sauce, pepperoni, and chopped green onions golden brown and melted in a ceramic casserole dish. great idea for a meal train for new parents
There are so many different types of foods out there, how are you supposed to choose? Image courtesy of Emerald Doulas.

A meal train is a form of support that people put together when individuals go through different life changing moments. When welcoming a new baby, communities can share their excitement by coordinating a steady flow of gifts, meals, and care. Scheduling and taking turns providing meals and gifts help prevent the family from becoming overwhelmed and their freezer from overflowing.

With Give InKind’s platform, you can create, organize, and manage your entire meal train with your very own InKind Page. Your InKind Page is where you share updates about the family, new baby, and support that works best for them. The Care Calendar allows you to set up requests for meals, and many other types of support. The Wishlist allows you to request specific gifts and gift cards the family may benefit from. Meal delivery services, grocery stores, gift baskets, baby clothes, and more. You can also connect fundraising options like GoFundMe, PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp so supporters may directly fund the family. Supporters then come to the page and sign up or send support that works best for them.

To start your meal train for new parents, there is some general information to gather and share with supporters. Delivery Information

Perhaps the most important piece of information needed for your meal train is where to deliver meals and gifts. Whether the home of the recipient family, a designated neighbor, or a community location to hand off the meals. Providing supporters with specific location information leaves them prepared without having to interrupt the new parents with calls or texts trying to locate them.

With your InKind Page, the delivery address is privately saved. It is shared with supporters only after they sign up to send support or deliver a meal. This protects your recipient’s privacy while also ensuring supporters have the information they need to send meals.

Contact Preferences

Along with the delivery address, include information for your meal train supporters about how the family would like to be contacted, if at all. Are supporters welcome to knock or ring the bell and greet the family when they arrive? Would the new parents prefer no calls or texts at all? Is there a cooler on the porch to place meals in?

On your InKind Page you can include this information prominently in the Special Notes area of the page and also inside the details of each Care Calendar request, so supporters know specifically how the family would like their meals delivered.

guests arriving with a bouquet of flowers and knocking on a front door. be sure to learn preferences before visiting during a meal train for new parents

Dietary Restrictions

As you organize the meal train you should be sure that the information regarding allergies, diet restrictions and dislikes are available for those contributing so they are aware to avoid these particular items. Ask for the new parents’ favorite restaurants, favorite meals, what anyone may be allergic or sensitive to, and any things they just don’t like.

You can include this information in the Special Notes of your InKind Page and inside details of Care Calendar requests. This allows supporters to know what is safe to prepare or send.

Information to Collect from Supporters of your Meal Train for New Parents

The essential information you need from supporters of a meal train for new parents are their name, contact information (in case there are any changes in the family’s needs or scheduling,) when they are providing meal support, and what type of meal support they are providing. Preparing a schedule of meal support and being mindful of what supporters plan to bring helps keep the family fed consistently. It also helps ensure variety in what the family is being fed.

With your InKind Page, you create the schedule based on the family’s needs, whether it’s daily meals, weekly, monthly, etc. Supporters then sign up for the days and times that work best for them; sharing what they will be providing right there on the Care Calendar. This allows other supporters to see what is being provided, ensuring they can provide variety. Give InKind also handles the details of sharing the delivery information with supporters when they sign up. Collecting their contact information in case you need to reach them with any changes, reminding them of the support they signed up for, and even allows them to send gift cards directly through the Care Calendar to allow the family to select their own meals.

Image courtesy of healthywomen.
It is also helpful if you remind individuals who are contributing to include heating as well as cooking instructions. 

Sometimes supporters provide food that has already been completely cooked, leaving the recipient to heat it up before serving. When it comes to frozen meals, there are scenarios when an individual may not have cooked the item they are providing at all. Or may have partially cooked it so that the recipient only has to cook it for a bit longer. In either of these situations, it is recommended to provide the heating/cooking instructions when you deliver the food.

Give InKind is here to help you succeed with your meal train for new parents. With your InKind Page, supporters from anywhere can provide comprehensive support, beyond meals. Get started with your InKind Page here.


Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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