Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Food Tidings: An Easier Way to Bless Others

Ten years ago or so, a friend in our MOMS Club had a baby. Another friend of hers coordinated the effort to provide meals to the newly expanded family.  I just signed up, made a pan of lasagna, and delivered the meal. I didn't envy the person who made all the arrangements, though: soliciting volunteers, sharing information about allergies and preferences, coordinating schedules, and ensuring that everyone followed through ... it sounded like a lot of work! Recently I mentioned something like this to a good friend of mine.  She asked me if I'd heard of Food Tidings.

Emily's Excellent Taco Casserole - revisitedphoto © 2008 Cristina | more info (via: Wylio) What a neat website!

For someone who just had a baby, recovering from surgery or injury, grieving the passing of a loved one, confined to bed rest, and almost anything else, receiving dinners from loved ones can be very comforting and helpful.  I definitely wouldn't disagree with that!

Food Tidings provides a web-based calendar and invitation system to make the process easier.  Read how Food Tidings came to be, as well as how it works.

I set up a "test" schedule.  The system gathers information about the family (contact information, number of people, food allergies, likes and dislikes, and so on) as well as the days for which meals are needed.  Other than a few minor quirks in the calendar part of the setup, I found that the system was easy to use and it seems to ask all of the relevant questions.

Once I got to the step of inviting people to participate, it was even easier.  I had the option of entering a list of email addresses (which are stored for future projects, which would be helpful in the case of a church or club) or simply copying a link to send via my own email.

To sign up to provide a meal, all I had to do was click on "Sign up for this date" and enter the name of what I'd be bringing.  Each participant needs to create an account, which is very easy.  This is necessary because of the personal information that is shared.  If you lose your invitation link, by the way, you can search for the calendar.  I was initially concerned that this would introduce privacy issues, but the system takes this into account.  Search "baby," for example, and you'll see a long list of family names with ZIP codes; however, the only contact information displayed is the email address of the coordinator.

Tater Tot Turkey Casserolephoto © 2009 Pattie | more info (via: Wylio) I think the Food Tidings site looks easy to use and very helpful.  By streamlining the communication process, it reduces the work and time investment for a coordinator.  I do have a couple of specific suggestions, which I'll send directly to the Food Tidings team.

Before I go, though, I wanted to tell you about another fun feature:  the Food Tidings blog.  The blog has, among other entries, recipe ideas that are suitable for making in advance.  Next time I want to volunteer to take a meal to someone, I'll be able to make something other than lasagna!
I'm linking up!
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Food Tidings. I just wanted to pass along this neat find!

Updated 10/19/14 to remove link no longer available

4 comments :

  1. You are right!! That is seriously cool....I've belonged to many churches that have done similar things but what an easier way to handle it!!

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  2. This is such a neat idea! I know of a similar site for families of NICU babies or extremely ill children, but I haven't heard of this. I'm on my way over!

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  3. thanks for this..
    will share for sure

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  4. Hi Melissa! Thank you for helping to get the word out about Food Tidings! And we'd love to hear your suggestions- we're actually just working on an updated version of our site, with many additions. It will have the same functionality, but be so much better and easier to use! As we're getting closer to finishing the update, we'd love to hear about what you found in your test set up of a schedule that could be changed. Thank you so much again, and have a great day!!!
    Sincerely,
    Lisa Shepherd
    Co-Founder of Food Tidings

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