There are endless ways to use MealBaby and make the most out of the experience. Here are some great tips and tricks on how to make MealBaby work the best for you and your situation. Scroll down or click the link to learn more on any of the these topics:
- Practical Tips
- Share a Registry
- Organizer Checklist
- Scheduling by Moms Groups
- Scheduling by Churches
Here are some practical, logistical tips for actual delivery of a meal and ways to go above and beyond the delivery of food. We are always looking for great new ideas from users, too, so feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a practical tip to share with other users.
- Bring your meal in dishes that the recipient can keep, recycle, or throw away (instead of needing to be returned to you).
- If you do bring a dish that needs to be returned, include your name on your dish so that it’s easy for the recipient to return the items to you.
- Bring along cooking instructions and serving recommendations with your meal if the meal is not already ready to eat. Also let the recipient know if leftovers can be frozen.
- Consider bringing along a copy of the recipe to share.
- Depending on the situation, it could be helpful to Include napkins, paper plates, and cutlery when you deliver your meal.
- Consider bringing breakfast food for the following morning, such as muffins, bagels, and/or fruit salad.
- If you are planning to take a salad as part of your meal, don’t forget salad dressing and other fun salad toppers. On that note, a carton of ice cream and various toppings make a great kid-friendly dessert to deliver.
Other Tips to Consider
- Bring activities to keep young children occupied or to help them feel included, especially if they are having to adjust to a new sibling.
- Bring an activity that someone who is dealing with a prolonged illness could do to entertain themselves such as crosswords, a book, or DVDs.
- Call on your way over to deliver the meal to see if you can pick up any basic necessities, or just show up with a surprise bag of extras (such as extra produce from your garden, an extra loaf of bread you made, or an extra box of cookies from a Buy One, Get One Free deal at your grocery).
Share a Registry
Now that you have a registry, have you considered these ways of getting the word out?
For registries celebrating a birth or adoption:
- Include the public registry link in baby shower invitations
- Announce your registry at your baby shower or arrival-home party so attendees will know to expect an email from MealBaby
- Share your registry with your neighbors who want to help
- Include a link to your registry on Facebook or a personal blog
For registries created to assist after surgery or during illness:
- Include the registry link in any email updates sent to friends or family notifying them of changes in medical situation
- Include link in church bulletin announcement
- Share your registry with neighbors who offer to help
- Include link on Facebook
For registries hosted during a time of grief:
- Include the registry link in an email that gives logistical information about the funeral
- Ask funeral home to include registry link in information about the funeral
- Add the link to church bulletin announcement
- Post link to Facebook
For registries created for any other occasion, such as housewarming, job loss, divorce, or general moral support:
- When coworkers, friends, or neighbors find out about the situation and express concern and a desire to help, tell them about MealBaby and offer to send them a link to the person’s registry.
- Include registry link in housewarming drop-in invitations
- Post link to Facebook
- Send a “Thinking of You” email from MealBaby
If you are creating a registry for someone else, here’s a list of some things to find out before you begin. It will make your job a lot easier. Just take a few minutes before setting up the registry to ask the registrant about the following:
- Food likes
- Food dislikes
- Food allergies or other special requests
- Physical address where meals will be delivered
- Delivery instructions, if any
- Number of people to prepare meals for
- Restaurant gift card preferences
- Start date for meals
- Frequency of available dates for meals during calendar setup
Scheduling by Moms Groups
Often a group of neighborhood moms or a community moms group wants to plan a meal schedule for one of their members who has just welcomed a new addition to the family. Here are some ideas to make MealBaby like a nice big brother or sister.
- Include the registry link in weekly or monthly newsletter or email that goes out to members
- Schedule a fun evening of cooking together with other members of your group to prepare a variety of meals for the new mom that can be frozen and delivered on different dates during the meal schedule
- Take up a donation during a weekly meeting or playdate and designate all funds to go toward the purchase of several restaurant gift cards that were selected as favorites on the new mom’s registry
- If the person managing the registries for a moms group always sends the invitations to the same group of potential participants, be sure to take advantage of the public registry link. It eliminates the need to enter all the same email addresses on the MealBaby website each time a new registry is created. The public registry link can be copied and pasted into a mass email that is sent to a Group Name in your email program’s address book.
Scheduling by Churches
Many churches already have what they call a “Meals Ministry” or something similar to assist church families in times of need by helping coordinate meals for them. MealBaby is a great way to streamline this process and make it easier for the person in charge of coordinating all the meals. Here are some ideas for the person who schedules meals for families with various needs:
- Include any current registry links in an email to the team of people who serve as volunteers with the Meals Ministry.
- If the family would like to extend the invitation to the entire congregation to participate in their registry, it may be helpful to include registry information in the church bulletin or the weekly email newsletter to church members.
- Create a bulletin board somewhere in the church building that highlights the Meals Ministry and gives an overview of the MealBaby program and how to get involved in helping other church families in need.
- Don’t forget about the sick and shut-ins. Although they may have been in the same situation for a long period of time, it could be a huge encouragement to surprise them with a month of home-cooked meals every now and then.