Tips for Extended Meal Schedules
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Maureen Witmer, Director of Outreach, TakeThemAMeal.com on Sep 15, 2016
Sometimes circumstances demand that meals are needed not just for weeks, but for months or even longer. Here are some tips on how to create a successful extended meal schedule based on the experience of our users and also what the TakeThemAMeal.com team has seen over the years.
- Vary the schedule based on the recipient's needs. Consider doing the sign up for every other day and ask the participants to cook enough for leftovers. Or do a schedule with meals Monday-Friday and plan for leftovers on the weekend. Don't feel like you're locked in when you do the schedule. You can change things week to week if you see the situation has changed.
- Request providers include what they are bringing when they sign up (not just including TBD), so a variety of meals are provided.
- Don't limit the schedule to local folks. When setting up the schedule, ask for the email addresses of anyone who might want to help and also about favorite take out places. I love sending Panera, Chipotle, Outback gift cards and have even ordered pizza from afar to be delivered on a certain day. TakeThemAMeal.com also has delicious meals that you can send. Make a note in the Notes section with these suggestions for out of town friends and family who want to help.
- Request no desserts when the meal schedule is daily.
- Ask a few close friends to prepare a freezer meal for the days when circumstances and/or their meal schedule suddenly changes.
- If one person in the family that is receiving meals is able to cook, but is overwhelmed by all the extra responsibilities, consider asking participants to bring dry goods (pasta, mac and cheese, etc.) for easy to make meals to have on hand.
- To go with #6, if there are older children and it's during the school year have providers also bring 'packed lunches' or items for easy lunches.
- Lastly, be certain to check back with the recipient weekly to see what is going well and what updates you could make to the schedule notes to make the meal schedule as helpful as possible.
Read other recent articles by Maureen Witmer:
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