By Jak Burke,
At Baby Does NYC we LOVE to find new services aimed at new parents – stuff that’s actually useful, even necessary. One of the biggest challenges when parents bring home a new baby is organizing their own nutrition. Parents can coast a night or two of bad sleep but they cannot skip a good meal. Most parents have a core of friends, co-workers, family members and close neighbors on which they can lean on – but how do you organize all of those helpers and not end up with a fridge filled with lasagne? Easy – you turn to a company like mealtrain.com. We caught up with the founders to discover how they started and how parents can sign up. This is not a sponsored post.
how did your service get started?
In September 2009, Kathleen (wife of co-founder, Michael Laramee) volunteered to organize the giving of meals, known as a meal train, to support a neighborhood family after the birth of a new baby. As the organizer, Kathleen made a list of the family’s meal preferences and preferred dates in addition to collecting names of friends and neighborhood parents who had expressed interest in participating in the meal train. Once the baby arrived, she sent an e-mail to each family asking them to contact her to book a night.
While enjoying her role, Kathleen was frequently asked the same questions from the potential givers “What days are they available? What do they like to eat? What have they already had? How many should I cook for? Can I reschedule?” In addition, the recipient family was also asking questions: “Who is delivering tonight? Can we invite more people? Someone just called and wants to bring something by, are we available? Can you tell people not to bring any more soup?”
As the number of participants grew, the process became difficult to keep organized. In discussing her challenges with Michael, he said “There has to be a better way.” Michael contacted friend and software developer, co-founder Stephen DePasquale, and mealtrain.com was born.
what is your service?
mealtrain.com simplifies the organization of meal giving around significant life events. We strive to simplify and promote interpersonal relationships between friends, families, and neighbors through meals. (The simple one-meal plan is FREE.)
is your service available in NYC?
Yes! Being that mealtrain.com does not make the meals, we are available all over the globe. In fact, even with the challenges around making and delivering a meal in a city, New York City is our 5th most active city in the country.
what does it entail?
mealtrain.com is a online organization tool that helps organize meals “for friends, from friends” around significant life events. The person who signs up makes and delivers the meal making it possible for the site to be used anywhere for any reason to organize meal giving. This tutorial might be helpful. http://www.mealtrain.com/learn/
why is your service so popular with new parents?
The birth of a baby is a very unsettling time. If it is your first, you are amazed a how finding the time to do the simplest of tasks becomes difficult. Often, the idea of shopping for and cooking a meal seems overwhelming. Having a friend drop by with a meal can be a life saver. The service is so successful because mealtrain.com simplifies the organization of meal giving, “to friends, from friends”, around significant life events. As a free online shared calendar, mealtrain.com answers common questions including What does my friend they like? When are they available? What have they already had? Are there any allergies? and When should I drop off a meal?
Participants who are invited, click on a unique link and are able to view the real time calendar of needs. They see which dates are available and any special instructions related to volunteering. They find a date that works for their calendar and book a date. As an added bonus, the participant can view what others are making so meals are not duplicated and they receive a reminder email the day before. To date, we have helped organize over 4,000,000 meals for over 400,000 families.
how to sign up
This is not a sponsored post.