Philadelphia Couple Dragged For Using Internet To Ask Neighbors To Bring Them Specific Meals, Do Lawn Care

The couple used the website Meal Train, which is intended to help people arrange for meals after surgeries, funerals, and births.

a neighbor brings a basket of food to another neighbor in need
State Farm / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The couple used the website Meal Train, which is intended to help people arrange for meals after surgeries, funerals, and births.

A Philadelphia couple is getting criticism for using Meal Train, a crowdsourcing website designed to help provide food to people in times of need, to ask neighbors to do household chores for them and to bring them fancy, diet-specific meal requests, Yahoo Lifestyle reports.

For as long as anyone can remember, Americans have been bringing each other food in times of need. When a family suffers a devastating loss, for example, they may not have the time or emotional energy to cook, so instead, friendly neighbors bring a delicious casserole. Or a mother and father may have just gotten home from the hospital with their new baby, and mom and dad, too tired to cook, graciously accept a basket of snacks and fresh fruit from a loved one.

To that end, the website Meal Train serves as a sort-of internet clearinghouse for neighborly generosity. The site coordinates efforts and donations so that the families that need the help get it every day, that they aren’t overwhelmed with too much food at one time, and so on.

However, it appears that Jim Burns and his wife, Alex, may not have fully understood the point. In a post that has since been deleted, the couple (or as it appears from screenshots of the deleted post, just Jim) didn’t appear to be prepared to simply accept a lasagna or a tuna casserole from whoever felt in a giving mood. Rather, the couple asked for 30 specific, diet-friendly recipes, according to Twitter user @JJFromTheBronx.

Some of their recipes requests include lentil, sausage, and chard soup; lamb meatball stew with orzo; and paleo-friendly breakfast egg muffins with thinly sliced cremini mushrooms. Jim was also quick to point out that Alex can’t stand mashed potatoes, and that as a couple, they generally try to eschew sugar.

And if the meal requests were too difficult, neighborly folks inclined to help could do household chores for the couple, such as doing their dishes or walking their dog. @JJFromTheBronx was quite bemused.

“This guy then tops it all off be telling us we can sign up for a day to text, and if they decide they would rather not see people, WE CAN COOK THEM A MEAL AND LEAVE IT FOR THEM IN A COOLER HIS WILL PROVIDE IN THE YARD BECAUSE HE COULDN’T BE BOTHERED ANSWERING THE DOOR.”

Jim later deleted the post, but as he told The New York Post, it appears that he still fails to understand why his requests might have rubbed some people the wrong way.

“I apologize if it was taken the wrong way — and I’m frankly just very surprised and a little disheartened by … the response.”