I was recently asked if I ever participated in a “Meal Train” a term I never heard about earlier, but the concept I was fully aware of.
What is a Meal Train?
A community of volunteers, friends, family or neighbors working together to offer another family meals for a family in need whether they admit it or not, such as a birth of a newborn, death, sickness, or even marriage.
Being a Recipient of the Meal Train
During the five years I lived in Toledo, OH, our masjid (mosque) organized meals to famlies of newborns , the sick and even celebrations like for newlyweds for a day or two, and even up to a week.
My youngest was born there, so I received meals for my family of 5 (6 really because my father came to help us) every other day for two-weeks.
It was truly a blessing and surprise because we had many cultures and nationalities in our community so the meals were delicious, ethnic 5+ course meals.
More significantly, they cooked every other day for three-months after I was in a life-altering car accident, bed-ridden for a week, and my husband was rushed on business for a few of those weeks overseas. They made daily breakfast snacks, light lunches and even grocery shopped occassionally to help me out.
Volunteering to Participate in a Meal Train
I cooked for every single family that a request was made. It came from my heart and from my immense gratitude to give just a little bit back to this beloved community that remains in our prayers today even though we moved away seven years old.
My girls loved helping me prepare everything from the salad, multiple side dishes, main dish, desserts, picking out the perfect drink, and they’d always make personalized cards or special gifts to share in honor of helping others. We truly went all out, getting bigger and more fancy with every new family. Not out of extravagence, but our of pure love–love for Allah, May He be Glorified, and love of my dear Muslim brothers and sisters.
I’d have my girls sign du’as and supplications as we prepared, which can be a peaceful melody to ‘SubhanAllah” over and over again, or an upbeat nasheed that got us wrapping and packing little goodies of joy.
My girls learned a ton of humility in the process–always remembering how grateful we were to have lived through our hardships and though we never asked for help, Allah bestowed help upon us; through the generousity of our community’s Meal Train.
I give a lot of credit to the organizers of these Meal Trains, because we can have multiple families simulataneously, and they interview the families for food allergies, preferences, family sizes, times and location of drop off, and even go out of their way to make sure a family doesn’t get the same foods, like chicken 6 days in a row. May Allah bless all those you organize and participate in making a Meal Train successful.
Have you ever been a part of a Meal Train?
We’ve been traveling extensively the past seven years to different cities, states, and countries, so we haven’t been able to develop this close community again since. However, the love of meal preparation and entertainment has a special tradition in our home no matter where we live.
We’ve been blessed by both sides of a Meal Train. And, the fond memories are something important for me to share with you today.
We’re curious, have you ever participated in a Meal Train? Blessed by being a recipient of a Meal Train? Curious how to start a Meal Train in your community? Please let us know in the comments below.