Friday, February 3, 2017

Why Your Parish Needs a Meal Train for New Moms

When I gave birth to my son last summer, I was very excited to receive food from others, via a meal train that a woman at my parish coordinated. I loved the meal train during my postpartum period as I adjusted to life with a newborn. However, I loved the meal train program long before I ever gave birth, and I continue to love it even though I'm not pregnant. I am very glad that a woman I know organizes this program in my parish, and I think it would be awesome if every parish operated one of these.



1. It builds a pro-life culture.

If we're going to be "pro-life" in our words, then we need to be "pro-life" in our deeds. We can easily do this by supporting families who have welcomed a newborn or adopted a child. Whenever a child joins a family, there is an adjustment that everyone goes through. Providing food for these families is a concrete, fantastic way to help them during this period of transition.

2. It's a fantastic way to build parish community.

When I first joined my parish, I didn't know many people. I knew the old people who attended daily Mass, and I knew a few of the young adults. I could see that there were lots of young families in our parish, but after Mass, I would rarely find an opportunity to meet them or have meaningful conversations. When I joined the parish's meal train program, I suddenly began meeting a wide range of people. I would receive e-mails when women would give birth, and even if I didn't know these women, I would try to sign up to bring a meal. When I dropped off the meal, I wouldn't stay long, but just meeting the families and talking with them for a few minutes was an amazing way to become part of my parish's community.

3. It's a great way to practice the Works of Mercy.

Living out the Corporal Works of Mercy, you are giving food to the hungry and (if you bring a beverage) drink to the thirsty. I would argue that you can also be practicing the Spiritual Works of Mercy by "visiting the imprisoned." While new moms aren't imprisoned in a jail, I think the early days of motherhood can be very isolating and imprisoning as a woman recovers physically and mentally from childbirth.

4. It's a simple way to practice stewardship.

All that I had to do to join this program was e-mail the coordinator to be added to the list. Whenever a woman in my parish has a baby, she can give her information to the coordinator, who then sends out an e-mail with a link to the meal train. I can pick whatever day works best for me, or if my schedule doesn't have much flexibility, I can just wait until the next meal train opportunity comes around. It's very simple and extremely low-key. 

Creating a meal train is not difficult, and it is such a wonderful gift to offer to the people in your parish. Check out these different meal registry websites, recruit your fellow parishioners (I recommend word of mouth and putting an occasional note in the bulletin), and get cooking! 

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