6 Ways to Participate in a Meal Train from Afar

Gift cards, donations, and phone calls are all great ways to be involved in a Meal Train when you can't be there to deliver a meal.

If you have a loved one in need who lives far away from you, you know the pain of wanting to help but feeling unable to. Fortunately, there are many ways you can still lift their spirits and participate in their Meal Train page, even when you don’t live around the corner.

Here’s how we suggest contributing to a Meal Train® if you’re not local.


Meal Train pages often include a donation fund that people can contribute to. If you live far away or are unable to make and deliver a meal, you can contribute to this donation fund, which the family can use to purchase delivery or buy groceries once they’re back on their feet.

Gift cards

If you’d like to donate money in a more tangible way, consider purchasing a gift card for DoorDash, DoorDash is the perfect way to help someone out even at a distance. The recipient can add the gift card to the DoorDash app and choose from the restaurants in their area that provide delivery to their house.

Restaurant delivery

Offer to order your loved one delivery one night, on you! We recommend this option if you know they love a specific local spot that delivers. Collect their order and coordinate payment and delivery with the restaurant so they can have a special meal from their favorite place. Panera Bread is always a great choice and has delivery in many locations. Find even more here: Meal Giving Gift Cards

Online grocery delivery

If your loved one primarily needs assistance with grocery shopping, try an online grocery service like DoorDash, Instacart, or Shipt.  Many local supermarkets have their own regional delivery service, so double check that the service you use will deliver to the recipient’s area. Online grocers offer a broad selection of fresh and boxed items. This can help provide snacks, beverages, breakfast items, etc. in between other meals they may be getting from Meal Train.

Virtual check in

Fire up the video chat program of your choice and check in with your loved one on a video call. Taking time to connect across the miles will lift everyone’s spirits! The recipient will love seeing your face and hearing your voice, and you will love knowing you were able to show you’re thinking of them when you can’t be there in person.

Snail mail

Grab a copy of their favorite beach read and pop it in the mail. It will be a pleasant surprise for your friend to receive an actual package. Send a favorite book, DVD, card game, or puzzle. You can even enjoy it together when you make that video call (see above)!

Final thoughts

Even if you’re far away, you can still participate in a Meal Train®! Use the tips above to check in with your loved ones and show you’re thinking of them during this time of need.