Last weekend I took a little spill while skiing with my family. OK, actually it was more like a major wipeout that I’m grateful no one caught on video and posted to YouTube. I ripped a tendon in my knee and had to come down the mountain in the ski patrol sled. It will be remembered as one of the single most humiliating days of my life.
Fortunately for me, my kids and husband were nowhere around when it happened. I was actually with a ski instructor at the time and it was just one of those freak accidents. Icy trail. Another skier down, only he was on a wheelchair ski and his equipment was out of reach. Too many people were stopped on the trail trying to “help” while others slipped and slid trying to get out of the way.
When my neighbor—the only friend I really have on my street—learned of my accident she immediately went to work mobilizing a fitness group I had just recently joined. Yes, to add insult to injury, I was training to run my first 5K this spring. She asked the women to help out by preparing and delivering hot meals to my family this week while I was hobbling around on crutches.
This is truly the best thing you can do for a friend when she and her family are in need. After all, we still need to eat. And my husband’s cooking skills are severely limited to dialing for takeout pizza and pouring cold cereal. When he’s feeling inspired he might make pancakes or homemade waffles on the waffle iron.
My friend spent some serious time coordinating the deliveries and accepted many of them at her house. I know she sent emails with the entire food schedule and informed the cooks of my son’s nut allergy. If you’ve ever tried to coordinate something like this for any extended period of time—maybe after the birth of a new baby or when a family is dealing with a long-term illness—you know how time consuming it can be.
Take Them a Meal allows you to schedule the delivery of homemade meals or takeout. Users can sign up for a particular day or date, remove or change the schedule, and see the other meals people are making. You can search for a meal schedule by last name or create a new schedule in minutes. The site makes it super easy to email the schedule link to friends and print a copy for the recipient.
Sometimes what people need is more than meals. That’s why Village on Call was created. As the website says “help that’s not well planned and coordinated can actually cause stress rather than relieve it.” Here you can create a registry to schedule help with errands, laundry, household chores and more.
Have you ever organized a meal or domestic help for a friend? Are there other tools you’ve used besides email and phone calls?