Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015--Take Them A Meal

The daughter of a friend required emergency surgery. For a time it was looking as if she might not make it. But she is young and strong and optimistic and is now home and recovering.

She is a nurse and it was clear that she would not be able to come to work for more days than would be covered by her accumulated sick leave and she would thus lose income in addition to having to deal with the aftermath of major surgery.

So her colleagues at the hospital contributed some of their own sick and personal days so that her absence from work would not cause her or her family undue financial hardship.

"That's about the nicest story I've ever heard," I said to her father. "Typical, though, of how people here seem to take care of one another."

"Yes," he said, "That's what we do. If a carpenter has a serious accident, friends will organize a benefit dinner or auction to help out him and his family."

"And I know from a few years ago," Rona said, "when someone we know was seriously burned on the job friends and neighbors, since winter was approaching, raised money to help them pay for heating oil."

A few days later, Ellie's father said, "Remember how the other day we were talking about how people here help each other out?" We did remember. "Take a look at this."

He slid a printout from a website across the breakfast table."

"What is it?" I said.

Rona who was looking at it, said, "I don't believe this. It's amazing."

"What is it?" I said again, feeling a little left out of the conversation.

"Give me a minute. Ellie's friends organized this?" Her father didn't say anything. He sat there smiling across the table at Rona.

"It looks like they're preparing food for Ellie and her family and bringing it over to them."

"That's right," he said. "See how it's organized? Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday the person who signed up for that day fixes a dinner for the four of them and brings it over to their house."

Rona was reading down the list for next week. "On Monday one of her friends is making American chop suey and apple pie. Wednesday someone else is making a homemade pizza with bacon. And . . ."

"Please, let me see that," I said, reaching across the table.

Rona passed it to me. "This really is amazing. Actually, wonderful." I looked at the list and saw that on Friday a friend is planning to make meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and squash. "Probably squash from your garden!" I said, looking at Ellie's father.

"Could be," he said, again smiling.

"I think I'll invite myself over for dinner on November 2nd when the meal of the day will be lasagna, garlic bread, and a veggie."

"Is this something Ellie's friends organized on their own?"

"I'm not sure about that. One friend I know is taking the lead. This came off the computer so when you get home you can look up how it works."

We did and found that Take Them A Meal is a nationally organized effort. They say they prepare 1.2 million meals a year. People can simply use their website to organize things. There is no charge and there do not seem to be any ads on the website.

"They even offer recipes for dinners they say transport well and reheat easily. Things like crock pot honey sesame chicken and blackened chicken and cilantro-lime quinoa."

"What day are they bringing the sesame chicken to the house?" I asked, "That sounds delicious."

"Rather than inviting yourself," Rona said, why don't you instead sign up to make the blackened chicken.'

"I was just kidding," I said, "But maybe I will."

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