Garden Diary

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Meal Train

Abby Schacter writes about Rod Dreher's book The Little Way of Ruthie Leming on the Aculturated blog, and one of the items she focuses on was the way neighbors reallied to support Ruthie (Rod's sister) and her family as she was dying and after she died by bringing meals. From there she segues into ways to do this without necessarily imitating Rod, who decided to move back to the hometown his sister never left for a place where community is a physical as well as a notional thing. One of the examples she provides is Meal Train, which helps organize groups that want to help out by providing meals.

My family as twice been the recipients of this kind of community support; when my daughter Althea was born, many neighbors and fellow parishioners brought meals and baby items. By that time, we had lived in two for four years, I was well-known at church and was teaching part-time in the village school. We were very much part of the community (unfortunately not to last, as finding steady, decent-paying work was tough, and still is, in the Northeast Kingdom).

Eleven years later, we once again found ourselves comforted with food, this time when our daughter Rebecca Ruth was stillborn. My workmates organized a huge delivery of food from a local Italian restaurant, Italian Kitchen, which one of my workmates brought to the house. I am still touched when I remember the gesture and visit, and that event and other shared experiences created bonds of friendship among my workmates which continues to this day, although the business has not been so fortunate.

A helpful web site like Meal Train (and there are other such sites) doesn't replace community, or even "physical" community; but it can help people organize their impulse to help. Here in Boston we've been seeing both that impulse and the importance of organizing, in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings that happened on April 15th. Problems, sorrows, even disasters will always be around the corner; but so, hopefully, will the impulse to come to others' aid; and what more effective way than to personally provide sustenance?

No comments: