Saying I Love You with Food



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Bringing homemade cookies says you care

Saying I Love You with Food

In this day and age of fast food restaurants and convenience food, we tend to think that most people, when going through a hard time, don’t need a meal or a jar of soup brought to them.

Many years ago, before there were stores or fast food restaurants on every corner or microwaves in every kitchen, a neighbor bringing in a meal was sometimes a matter of physical survival. That isn’t usually the case these days.

Even so, I hate to see bringing a meal to someone who is sick, has just had a baby or has lost a love one fall by the wayside. We often think the person or family can just pick something up or cook something easy in the microwave. They probably can but there are a couple of reasons why it is still nice to bring someone a meal.

Usually at these stressful times people are exhausted, both physically and emotionally. When this happens it is so hard to think and make decisions. Just ask anyone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Trying to decide what to cook or buy for a meal can be very overwhelming. It’s often the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Having someone call and say, "I’m bringing a meal for you tonight," can help so much to ease a persons mind, which is probably overloaded with other things. It is just one less decision to make.

Bringing food is a way of saying, "I love you," or, "I care." Food is comforting to most people. (I’m not talking about people overeating to comfort themselves so please don’t comment on that). Being a grandma, the minute I know the grandkids are coming, I get out the cookies and candy and, when friends arrive, the first thing I do is bring out a plate of cookies or put on the kettle.

Taking a plate of cookies to a new neighbor says, "Welcome! We are glad to have you!" Taking a meal to someone who is sick says, "I care." Let’s not let another way of saying, "I care," fall by the wayside.

I will try to share more ideas on this subject in a future post but, for now, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

 

  • Make things as easy as possible for the person you are helping. Send napkins, plastic forks and spoons.

  • Start looking now for inexpensive bowls, platters and dishes at garage sales. You can leave these dishes when you take food to people so they don’t have to worry about returning the dishes. When you can, try to use disposable pans and dishes so the people who are already overwhelmed don’t have to wash dishes.

    There is a time and place to save the environment and this is not it. I save and wash most of the containers that I get when I buy things at the bakery or the grocery store and reuse them at these times. You would be surprised how many containers you get every day that would work great if you remove the labels and wash them.



  • Always have everything prepared so the receiver has little to do but warm it or stir it.

  • Keep the food simple. Now is not the time to pull out your French Cookbook, pull out Dining on A Dime instead. Things like turkey, celery and carrot sticks, fruit salads and desserts like a simple chocolate cake work well and often can be used for a couple of meals. By keeping it simple, you can be pretty sure the average person will like what you bring.

  • Keep in mind who you are bringing food to. If there are children in the family, a pretty red Jello will probably be more appreciated than a Hazelnut coffee mousse. When you talk to the person, listen and think about special needs.

    Ask if they have any food allergies. If you are on the receiving end, don’t get too picky, giving a list of five rare items you want that must be organic and come from one certain food store. It is very rare that someone can’t eat something like turkey, carrot and celery sticks and some fruit so be reasonable.

  • Always bring extra food. Throw in a loaf of bread or some rolls so they can use the leftover meat for sandwiches for the next day’s lunch and leftover veggies to go with it.

  • Don’t forget breakfast. One of the nicest meals we received was when the woman brought not only our dinner but included a pan of cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a container of frozen slushy mix to keep in the freezer and dip out when we wanted to make slushies at a later time.

  • Think outside of the box. Don’t always send just the usual generic casserole and, whatever you do, DO NOT just send a sack of groceries unless the situation specifically calls for them.

  • Be thoughtful. Agree to a time when you will bring the food and be sure you stick to that time. If you can’t be precisely on time, it is better to bring it early than late. There is nothing worse than to tell the already hungry children that the food will be here soon and then have it arrive an hour late. (ask us how we know :-)

    There are times too when a meal would be appreciated at a later time. For example instead of bringing a meal to a widower the day or week of the funeral you might wait and bring one a couple of weeks later. Often in a case like this people will bring in meals for that first week so it might be nice to bring something when the first influx of meals has stopped.

  • Don’t overstay your welcome. Use sound judgment. If the people are going through trying times or are not well, too much conversation can make things more difficult for them.

I have so much more I can add but I will have to leave it for another time. Hopefully, this will get you started and help to decide whether or not you should take a meal and, if if you do, what it would be most helpful to bring.

      -Jill

 

Photo By: Lucas Everidge

Comments

  1. Susan says

    Jill
    You are so right about neigbors and friends bringing food, in our community {which is small and has one of the higest unemployement rates in the state} when someone is sick or had a baby or comes home from the hospital or just needs a helping hand around the house we all pitch in and we do it by calling each other so that not everyone brings the same thing. one person may bring a casserole another will bring a salad or soup and another will fix a dessert and then one will bring beverages like tea and leomonade and one will bring paper plates forks spoons etc. and we also do this for people that have fallen on hard times like loss of job etc. it is just something that we do because we care about our community

    • Patricia says

      You are so lucky to have neighbors. I live in a semi country community and nobody knows anybody. We don’t even know what anybody looks like on this street. It is sad. Everybody works so nobody is home all day on my street except my brothers (disabled) and my grandkids (I work 6 days a week). I know one lady at walmart lives on this street somewhere cause she said so when she took my check. I think it is mostly military or retired military (I heard that somewhere) as we are 2 miles from the base.

  2. Angie says

    Susan,

    I had never thought of doing that when a friend/neighbor has a lay off or job loss. What a wonderful idea! As Jill was saying, when the mind is occupied with mental stress, it’s so hard to think of doing even the little things. This would be a great comfort in a time like that!

    Angie

  3. Susan says

    Angie

    You would be surprised how doing this simple act of kidness can make a person feel. you and Jill are so right that when the mind is stressed its hard to do even the littlest things.We had a family that both parents lost their job and they have 3 children under the age of 10 and one of our neighbors took the kids out to the park and Mcdonald’s one evening just so the parents could have a little time to figure things out and those parents said that little acts of kindness really helped. May God bless you and your family

  4. Robbin Clark says

    I love to cook, so I’ve always been big on taking a meal to someone in need. Lately I’ve had a relative and a friend too far away to cook for, so I’ve sent a couple of gift cards to Subway or Pizza Hut or something similar, so that when things calm down a little bit, they are able to get a take out meal to share. They seem to be very appreciated.

  5. Pam says

    Thanks for the tips-hope more are coming particulary about recipe ideas. I am not confident in what to prepare so I never volunteer tho’ I’d love to share & show care.

  6. Susan says

    Pam
    Its easy. You could bake a simple sheet cake,or if you know someone with kids take chips,lemonade or tea or fix a simple casserole. Just doing something simple means so much when some one is going thru a hard time
    Hope this helps. God bless you

    Susan

  7. jill says

    Like Susan said it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I have received boughten cookies, muffins, cakes and pies before and loved all of it. Even doughnuts. juice, fresh fruit and some chocolate milk for breakfast is nice too.

    Slices of ham, a tossed salad and chips with some ice cream or jello is always a save bet too.

    It really is the thought that counts.

    Jill

  8. Susan says

    Jill
    You and I are thinking alike! When I was first diagnoised with my illnesss I could not even begin to think straight and process the news and you know one of the nicest think my neighbors did for me was to make sure that my bills got send out in the mail on time,Just the simple act of going to the post office for me made all the difference in the world.another thing a neighbor did was take me to my doctors appt so I would not have to take a cab because I was just to sick to drive. another time a neighbor came over and fixed me coffee and we just sit and talked. It is the simple things that really helped. God Bless you

  9. jill says

    Susan those are such great ideas and you are right, it is the simple things that help. I read a story once years ago where this woman lost her brother and his children in a car accident. They had to immediately leave to travel where the brother had lived. It was on a Sunday and had been rainy and muddy.

    An older man from her church showed up at her door and said to bring him her and her family’s dress shoes. He cleaned and polished them all. That was back when most people only had one pair of dress shoes and he knew they would need them for the funeral and were probably too muddy to pack.

    She said she never forgot that one simple little act.

    I had a friend once who lost her husband on Christmas Eve. She knew there was no way she could take down her Christmas decorations and then one day out of the blue a woman showed up and said “I’ve come to take down your decorations for you.” My friend always talked about that one small act.

    I too have been so blessed like this over the years and it is always those small little things that make the difference.

    Jill

  10. Chris says

    I cannot tell you how much having a meal brought over to us meant at times when I needed the helping hand.

    It was one less thing for me to have to deal with; and when you’re ill having fewer details to think about gives you more time to concentrate on the task of healing.

  11. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    It doesn’t matter if you are not a good cook. The simple act of bringing anything is heart warming. My hyper busy mom once brought a store roasted chicken to someone recovering from surgery. Fast food would do too. Hamburger helper delivered with love would be a blessing.

  12. Shannon says

    Interesting you brought this up. I took a meal to some neighbors just the other day when the grandpa was returning home after a month long stay in the hospital. Their grown daughter commented that I showed an “old-fashioned sort of sweetness” through this gesture. I was rather shocked by her description – I guess people aren’t real neighborly anymore. I hope helping friends out doesn’t ever go by the wayside.

  13. Melanie says

    It s important to ask about food allergies. My daughter is very allergic to the celery and carrots you mentioned plus a lot more of common everyday foods. If she gets a hold of any of these she has an immediate reaction and her breathing is cut off. It is important for people to take this seriously and educate themselves. Even using the same knife to cut up food can cause cross contamination or not washing hands in between handling suspect foods.
    Melanie

  14. Ann S. says

    We are fortunate to live in a small town in West Texas, where FOOD is still the “ultimate comfort”. Births, deaths, illnesses, church functions…….you can bet that there will be food involved! And it’s not so much feeding the stomach as it is feeding the “heart”. A dish and a card to say, “We are thinking of you” is so appreciated. We had a church member’s funeral where we had a lot of attendees from large cities. We fed over a hundred people in our little church hall, and many of those visitors came to the kitchen to say, “We never expected this! Real, HOMEMADE food! Thank you so much!!!” They were used to microwaved food at best; going out to eat was the norm. They just couldn’t believe we had so much home-cooked food to serve them! Never think that a little act of kindness won’t be appreciated. Love your website!!!

  15. Judy says

    Here in the sunny south, it is a given that someone provides food for the family of the deceased. Our church has a calling tree that notifies others of the need and to coordinate offerings. We have also done this for people who have had surgery, or a major illness, and sometimes after a new baby comes. Food is a comfort, and at times like this a person can’t think of it properly. When my dad died, we lived 50 miles away. His church and surrounding churches amply provided for all of his family. Not having to prepare meals was a blessing! And even after the funeral, when we returned home, our personal neighbors & church provided even more! Mississippi is a very loving, giving state. (P.S. If you are traveling in MS, we also pull off the road to let funeral processions go by, sharing in and respecting the family’s grief. So don’t blow your horn at us. (That has happened!))

    • says

      Yes we pull over and wait for funeral processions here too Judy and I have heard the horn blowing too. Not sure why people think blowing their horns all the time is going to change anything or help. One of my pet peeves is horn blowing for anything. People seem to forget horns were originally put on cars for one reason and one reason only and that was to use as a warning in a dangerous situation not to let off steam or to get someone to move or do what you want them to do.

    • Charlena says

      In Louisiana, it is state law that other drivers pull over and stop for all emergency service vehicles and funeral processions–it’s both out of respect for the dead and for the safety of all the living. My paramedic friend has told stories, which I share in all my CPR & First Aid classes, about wrecks that have happened when other drivers have cut into funeral processions on the highway. She has also had drivers block and slow her ambulance down on the way to an emergency call–with lights and sirens blaring all the way into that driver’s own driveway to save their own loved one! “If I’d known you were coming to my house, I would’ve pulled over.” Wrong answer!

  16. says

    One meal I always take to people is a roast, potatoes, carrots, (a green vegetable) and bread. We have a meal group in our class at church who takes food new parents for 2 weeks. You can’t believe how many fathers thank me for a “meat and potatoes” meal, instead of another casserole. They appreciate all that they receive, but are especially grateful for something that’s not all mixed up. It’s also easy for me to make and I make double the amount, so I can keep half. I put two small roasts with carrots, onions (if they like them) and potatoes on top in a crockpot and let it cook all day. Doesn’t heat up the kitchen and it’s fast to do. I buy the baby peeled carrots that I can just wash and toss in.

  17. Nonia says

    Just wanted to say your atory today about “Saying I love you with food” brought back a few good memories. A friend of mine yrs ago fixed an entire meal for my birthday and I still remember how good that made me feel. She cooked and carried it to my house after I got home from work that day. It does mean a lot when someone does something like that.

  18. Brandi says

    I love being able to take meals to those going through a rough time, but I am always nervous about what to bring. A few weeks ago I volunteered to take a meal to a lady at church who had surgery. She has two kids, so I wanted it to be simple. I ended up making a simple salad and french bread pizzas.They said they really enjoyed it, and it was quick for me to make as well as budget friendly.

    • Patricia says

      It is definitely an American tradition. I am an army brat and it isn’t done in Germany very often. Only family does it for family or friends not always neighbors. But then they still have more than one generation living in the house usually. The first, second, and third floor is usually split into three different apartments and the whole family lives together but separately until the kids can afford to buy a house and that takes about 10 years or so to save up for it.

  19. Karen says

    Great thoughts! I totally agree with you! I have often thougt that it would be great to have a list of meals that other people have brought to others, a kind of “idea list” if you will. Perhaps you could solicit those ideas and post them on your blog? I enjoy reading Living on a Dime!

  20. Kelly says

    This is such a good reminder. When my second child was born, a group of families from our church signed up to bring dinner for us for one week. It was WONDERFUL! I honestly did not care what they brought–pb&j would have been fine. Just having someone else think of what to fix for dinner and then prepare it and bring it over was so great! Later I returned the favor for other new parents. It really is a great thing to do!

  21. donna b says

    Love this article! a suggestion from my town: a neighboring couple were both seriously injured in a motor cycle accident. the head of the fire dept auxiliary coordinated the effort to keep the family supplied with meals for several months, and the one person in charge approach made sure they didn’t get all casseroles, but a great variety.

    Easy meals to give are meat loaves made ahead, veggies, etc., and families with kids love chicken fingers, fries etc.

    My DIL often makes a “double dinner” and takes it to her sister who struggles financially. It’s a great and inexpensive way to help others!

  22. says

    One of my favorites to take to families is mini meatloaves (which can be made ahead, frozen, and then baked the day of serving) and maybe something like scalloped potatoes from a box (Betty Crocker’s are pretty good). I agree with Jill – so many kindnesses that used to be more common are falling away. This is a good one to keep.

  23. Tracy says

    Hi Jill,
    A group of us women at church take food to those who have a sick family member, a death in the family or we just know they really could use help for a meal. There are enough of us to feed each family for about two weeks. This is a great chance to show the kids to be giving to others in need. And I know I have made some great friends through helping this way. We always find out first if there are any allergies to certain foods, ect.

  24. says

    In my church, we use mealbaby.com to organize the food deliveries. I went back and looked at my “registry” from when my first daughter was born after the birth of my second. I remember each and every meal and the excitement of showing off the baby to my friends. I even found myself looking forward to the dishes I knew friends would bring because they each have a tried-and-true recipe. Such a blessing!

    My sister keeps a disposabl pan of a chicken, broccoli, and yellow rice casserole in her freezer so that she can take a meal without a lot of warning.

    A variation on this is providing a gift card and free babysitting for a date night. My husband and I were able to go on our first real date in months because friends made it possible after the birth of our second baby.

  25. Kris Harbison says

    We do this in our church through our deacon board. We have people who organize meals through volunteer lists. Whether because of illness, injury, surgery or a new baby in the family, we provide complete meals when needed. And we try to anticipate who needs a meal rather than waiting until they call us.

    I’ve done this for years on my own, anyway. I make my 9X13 casseroles in two 8X8 pans (one for my household and one in a disposable pan to give away). It’s easy to make a recipe and divide the amount for a single person, a couple or even a small family so you have a meal for your own family, too.

    When I’ve had babies (many eons ago!) or surgeries, it has been a lifesaver to have meals show up that are nutritious and delicious! It gave me something to look forward to. My hubby could focus on other things rather than trying to prepare a meal or run out to pick up something to bring home. This small act of kindness is SO important in our frantically busy society today.

  26. Anne says

    When my Mom was given just a few weeks to live, my brothers and I made plans to go to NC and visit on Mother’s day weekend. My Dad’s job got together and brought food for the weekend so that we would have time to spend with my Mom. Unfortunately, she died while we were on the way, so we didn’t get to see her, but what a blessing it was to have the food already there and waiting on us.

  27. Jodi says

    What a wonderful article, Jill. I am one of the Titus 2 Meal coordinators at our church (we use the foodtidings website) and it thrills my heart to see folks stepping up to bring a hot meal to someone when the need arises.
    I will have to print out your helpful hints above to share w/ the group.
    Thanks for the detailed information.
    Also, I agree about bringing a meal to someone a few weeks after a traumatic situation. I had a time personally when it was too difficult to talk to folks even though people were rallying around me constantly. Then, 3 weeks later, everyone was back to their normal routine and I was still grieving. A meal 3 or 4 weeks later says that you care and are still interested in this person’s heartache. It’s usually perfect timing. :)
    ~ Jodi

  28. Vivian says

    Jill, years ago we had a total loss house fire. People would say, “What can I do for you?” and I couldn’t even answer. To say I was overwhelmed, is a complete understatement. Fortunately, my church deacon stepped right in and arranged meals for us for two weeks as we began to pull our lives back together. Then she set up a schedule where we got meals three days a week for a week, and then two days a week for the next week. Tapering the amount of meals helped us become less dependent as time went on, and helped us slowly get back on our feet. I will forever be grateful for this most thoughtful woman.

  29. Beth says

    Our Sunday School class takes meals to new mothers in our church. We usually spread it out over two weeks – taking a meal every other day. Do you have a suggestion for carrying hot soup in a disposable container? My friend and I would often like to take soup to someone, but can’t figure out what would be safe for traveling and easy for the new mom to deal with.

    • says

      Beth soup is a hard one to transport. I look for wide mouth quart canning jars at garage sales to use. You can send 2-3 jars. You can buy the lids if you need too but I have placed foil over the jar with a wide rubber band around it. It is best to let the soup cool down some to pour and transport if you can.

      Another thing which really works good are these large plastic containers many people get now from the warehouse stores. They are the clear containers which things like nuts and things come in. I remove the label and wash them and they really work good because they have such wide mouths on them. Once again let the soup cool down.

  30. DM says

    It is DEFINITELY not falling by the wayside here in Central Texas! A very active family in the community recently experienced the loss of their mom, and dad was left, very suddenly, with 7 children from ages 8-19. Between their church, their swim team and their basketball team, they’ve been provided meals for several weeks now, and swim team moms have stepped in to assist with back to school stuff, ride scheduling etc. Just to remind them that we all care and we miss her too! I think it is the most wonderful, and tangible way to say “we care.” I hope it never falls by the wayside.

  31. Laura says

    This is a great article. Last fall I was sick with a nasty cold and our neighbors brought soup and corn muffins to us for dinner (enough for a few dinners and or lunches). It was so much appreciated. Last week the same neighbor (lady) was sick and could not come for the July 4th get together so when everyone had left I took some of the dinner to them and they did appreciate it. Thank you for a nice article.

  32. Mary says

    In smaller towns and communities this custom is alive and well. But, it seems in larger cities (except for church groups) many people don’t even know their neighbors much less know when they need help. Very sad. I can remember my mother always took something over to a new family moving into the neighborhood. It was a way of introducing ourselves and welcoming them to the neighborhood. Wish this was done more now. It is truly sad that so many neighborhoods are so worried about crime and such that they can’t even be friendly.
    Good for you – reminding us of the things that should be and the little things that can make a huge difference in people’s lives.

  33. Mil says

    Great article. Great comments!
    Wide mouth Mason jars are easier to clean–you can get your
    hand inside. If you need to pour hot liquids, use a canning
    funnel if you have it, but also, flip the lid so that the
    rubber seal is facing up, then apply the band. It still won’t leak, but it’s easier
    to get off. Otherwise, it will almost vacuum seal itself
    as it cools, and then it requires edge of a knife to pry
    the lid off. You can flip the lid over it over once it is cool. Depends on your distance of transport issues.
    I agree to deliver cold, of course, for health issues.

    If it’s winter
    and your house is cold, rinse the jar with warm water and put a towel under the jar so it won’t crack.
    I often make a full Mason jar of tea at once and flip the lid.
    Summer is a good time of year for Mason jars: I recently found a dozen jars with
    lids and bands for $12 at average grocery store.
    A neighbor brought me cooked food for no reason.
    Greatly
    appreciated.

  34. Daisy says

    I love this post! I took cookies to my neighbors this past Christmas. We were the new ones on the block and I thought it would be a good way to get to know the people around us. My family set out together walking up and down the street handing out cookies, and the everyone looked at us like we were crazy! It’s just so unheard of now. I’m also involved in a mothers of preschoolers group. There are 20 of us and part of my job is to arrange for meals when someone in the group is down. It’s so wonderful to know you have people that care and will be there for you!

  35. tina says

    My favorite meal brought to us after one of our children was born was a friend who called and told me to unlock the door and leave my Crock-Pot on the kitchen counter. She came over mid-morning, put dinner in my Crock Pot, left the sides where we could easily find them, and we got to smell the wonderful food cooking all day.

  36. tina says

    One other thought: our young mom’s group also arranges meals for members who’ve had babies. We make sure the food can be frozen (unless you make specific arrangements with the giftee), bring them to our meeting, and the deliverer brings a big cooler with ice. She then takes the meals directly to the recipient. Alternately, we’ve used online calendars to coordinate individuals taking over meals at specific times — so that no one person has to field a billion phone calls and back-and-forth info about food allergies, the family’s address, best time to drop by, etc.

  37. Lea Stormhammer says

    I can’t even begin to tell you about how helpful it was to have meals brought every other night for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy and for the first 6 weeks after the birth of our twins. A few people even brought extras for freezing (soup in an ice cream pail, meat pies individually wrapped, an extra meatloaf also wrapped).

    We usually give gift certificates to a local make and take meal place. The place has the option of picking up pre-prepared meals and have options for allergies, diabeties, etc. We usually include a note saying we can pick up and deliver if they need it. We have had so many compliments on the idea and have only had to pick up for the family once!

    I very clearly remember our elderly neighbor bringing over a fresh apple pie when we moved in. It was such a nice way to welcome people to the neighborhood and since we had to return the pie plate, it was a great way to get to know her a bit. When her husband was ill a few years later, we returned the favor by bringing over homemade bread.

    Great post Jill!
    Lea

  38. Jan C says

    This sounds like such a wonderful group. I live in the Northeast and though I have heard of this tradition I have never been on the receiving end. Maybe I should be grateful that it really hasn’t been necessary for I am in good health and am still have a job. I have often wondered what kind of dish to bring to someone, with so many people not eating different kinds of meat or being allergic to lots of stuff. I remember the one time I brought a roast to someone who was ill, the family didn’t eat meat. They ate the veggies but gave the meat to someone else. I felt so bad. It has kind of made me think twice to cook another meal.

    • says

      I have had this happen to me too Jan and it does make you feel bad. That is why I have now learned to ask if they have certain food problems. But you know what really got me over feeling bad was once we had someone bring us a meal and we couldn’t eat all of it either but even though we couldn’t eat all of it we talked for weeks about that person and how much that meant to us, encouraged us and how sweet it was of them to have bothered and thought about us.
      So from then on I have given stuff trying the best I can to give what they like but not worrying to much if I don’t get it just right because I know it really is the thought that counts. I still take a plate of brownies to a new neighbor not worrying whether they eat wheat or sugar because I am mostly bringing my “welcome to the neighbor” feeling to them. If that makes sense.

  39. carla ware says

    I am in Kidney Failure I am a single Mom with 3 daughters when first diagnosed it was such a struggle to get out of bed and cook a meal But I was so blessed the Ladies of Alvin Lutheran Church made dinner for me for almost two weeks it took such a load of my mind ! It is the perfect way to say I Love You !I am on dialysis now but much better health wise I will always be the first one to volunteer a meal Thank you !

  40. Tanya says

    (This is a different Tanya!) I’ve never really felt like an accomplished cook, but I try to a simple meal to people during hard times because it has meant so much to me when people have brought me meals. I can’t tell you what a blessing it is when having a baby (I’ve had seven) or just going through a difficult time, to have a nice meal I didn’t have to cook. One friend from our church always sends a meal when we have a new baby and she includes disposable table service and special things like a jar of sweet pickles or anything she thinks our kids will enjoy. It’s wonderful to eat the meal and throw all the dishes away! It has been especially helpful for us because we’ve had most of our babies at home and we live far from extended family.

  41. Connie Mays says

    I too feel it necessary to take food to neighbors and close friends who are going through a difficult time. I look for throw away aluminum pans (with or without the tops) and buy them when I can get them 3 for a $1.00. That way, the recipient doesn’t have to worry about returning anything. (I’ve bought yard sale dishes before, but most feel they still needed to return them.)I usually try to fix food that can be eaten with little effort…homemade bread, sliced ham, fried chicken, cakes, and take along 2 liters of soft drinks or gallons of sweet tea. I’m all about saving the environment, but in times of stress, like you, I just don’t feel that making things more difficult should be an issue. BTW..Love your articles, hints, and tips! Take care.

  42. Sheri says

    When my daughter had open heart surgery at 8 months old, it was so nice to have someone bring a meal to us in the waiting room! When you are stressed it’s hard to know what to eat AND sometimes when you leave the waiting room to take care of your needs, the doctor comes to give a report and that was something I didn’t want to miss! After being on the receiving end, I decided to pass it on to others. I brought homemade pizza for a friend when her son had another heart surgery.

    Gift certificates sound good, but we had a hard time using them after my daughter was born. The place was good, but it was 5 or more miles away. By the time we got around to getting out the place, it was closing up and we never used them all. I suppose those need to go with the dad to work so he can pick up dinner on the way home. My daughter required so much care that it was hard for me to get out at all, just church and Awana. I had some very good friends that did errands for me. Such sweeties!

  43. Diana V says

    This article is heaven sent.
    I was lacking the confidence in choosing a meal to make for a family going through a difficult time.
    As always you and your readers have given me ideas as well as confidence.
    Thank you so much.

  44. says

    great article.
    We’ve been on the receiving end of meals and groceries; and we’ve also been on the giving end.
    I don’t know which one is more a blessing. Either way– it was a great lesson for our kids when growing up. They are all givers now.
    Sometimes– food just taste better when you’re not the one having to cook.
    With that in mind– taking food to someone is NOT the time to try out a *new* recipe.
    Loved the article.
    Pat

  45. Judy says

    A idea to share with all the new moms-to-be and newly-weds: I had quite a few pages left empty in my bridal shower & wedding guest book. When my first child was born, I wrote down everyone that visited the first week, and what they brought. I did that with almost all of my children, till I ran out of pages. It is a heartwarming feeling to look back on these times, knowing many of the older visitors are now gone. It is a precious memory, and used a resource that typically stays half used. (I also used them on their first birthdays.) Some friends began to anticipate signing the book as a memory for the child.

    Also, a funny story about food brought to us one time: the lady dropped off our supper, chatted a bit and had to leave. When we opened the supper, it was two “pies”. So my husband fixed something quick. When we cut the first pie, we then realized it was a CHICKEN pot pie! We laughed and laughed over our pie mistake!

  46. Vicki says

    My husband spent over a month in the hospital at Christmastime this year. My neighbors co-ordinated bringing me lunch at the hospital, and visiting with me while we ate it (they ate with me). It saved me from having to buy the cafeteria food, and gave me a break from all the worry and loneliness. When my Dad died, one of our favorite gifts was a gallon of orange juice, that helped us as much as any of the meals brought in. And even though we are all well now, a neighbor left a plate of cookies on our doorstep just the other day. We were so excited by this showing of caring. Such a delivery really does say, “I care.”

  47. HeatherB says

    This is so good to hear others talk about this. At my church we do meals for a week when there is a baby born for the family that I am involved in. I love doing it. I didn’t attend the church when I had my three kids and I just know how much I would have appreciated something like that.

  48. Tracey H says

    The timing on this article is amazing. A few weeks ago, my young neighbour (a father of 3 teens) had a stroke and I took over chili con carne and a loaf of bread. I was concerned that other neighbours would drop off a meal the same night so I cooled it and put it in a Ziploc freezer bag so they could put it in the freezer until later. It turns out another neighbour had arranged for many of the other neighbours and friends to take turns bringing them dinner every night for awhile so the chili did get put in the freezer to be brought out later (and my neighbour’s wife thanked us profusely for the meal and said having something in the freezer for later was great because she knew the scheduled dinners would end and it would give her something to serve on a busy day later). I took cookies, too (teenagers love cookies, LOL!). We also became the drop-off point for those scheduled meals when the neighbour’s were at the hospital visiting (we live next door and could hear their car doors close when they arrived home and I’d run the dropped-off dinners over when I heard them arrive home).

    My son and his family are expecting a new baby next month so I’m busy preparing meals for them. I’m finding it a bit trickier because I have to avoid onions, green peppers, and gassy vegetables (due to intolerances and a soon-to-be-nursing Mom). So far I’ve made meatloaf and I’m going to make Shepherd’s pie. I’m sure I’ll come up with more ideas (though the no-onion thing has me a bit stumped!).

    • says

      Tracey I don’t use onions at all and have never even bought one because I don’t like them but still make all the usual recipes. Just use onion powder in place of the onion and it always taste delicious. Most people don’t even notice there aren’t onions in my recipes.

  49. Julie Johnson says

    Jill,

    My Mom just passed on May 30th but your article brought to mind the time I had my surgery in 1988. She came over and left a wonderful chicken and rice casserole. Our family ate it for two nights and it was just the perfect dish.
    Thanks for bringing back such a sweet memory.

    Julie

  50. Kristy says

    Another great idea is toilet paper and paper towels if a loved one has passed away. There will be a lot of extra family and friends at the house and no one wants to worry about having enough of the staples.

  51. Tami Tietsort says

    LOVE IT OVE IT LOVE IT JILL YOU ARE TRULY THOUGHTFUL AND I WISH I HAD A FRIEND LIKE YOU ON MY BLOCK!!!! I HAVE TRIED THIS A COUPLE OF TIMES WITH MY NEIGHBORS BUT I THINK THEY THINK I AM STRANGE AND I KNOW WHAT I MADE FOR THEM WAS MADE WITH EXCELLENT AND FRESH INGREDIENTS IN MY VERY CLEAN KITCHEN AND WAS TRULY TOP NOTCH BUT THE RECEPTION I GOT WAS LUKE WARM EACH TIME SO I FINALLY GAVE UP TAKING THEM ANYTHING HOMEMADE. I AM TRYING TO THINK OF SOMETHING ELSE TO DO FOR THEM AS THEY ARE REALLY GREAT NEIGHBORS AND I VALUE THEM.

  52. Cheryl Tinker says

    When we first moved to rural SE MO., we were the blessed recipients of a home-cooked meal from our new neighbor next door, an elderly widow named Mary. She came to us while we were still unloading the U-Haul truck on a very cold windy Nov.day and said, “I’m too old to help you carry your stuff in, but I thought you might like to have this later on for your supper.” She’d brought us fresh-cooked green beans, a yummy tomato/hamburger casserole, and a home-made apple pie! I was so pleased by not only the food, but just the knowledge that I’d been blessed to move next to a kind and thoughtful person! We became good friends and watched over Mary til we moved away several years later. I’ve since had the occasion to return the favor to many people who were either sick or grieving, and I can’t tell you how much it blessed me to do something kind and useful for them; people are so grateful for the effort that’s made for them. I like to buy pies when they’re on sale and stock up my freezer to use at those times, and also find that a nice pot of chicken noodle soup and some rolls or bread are always gladly received. I hope this act of kindness never disappears from the American landscape, I believe God uses us to share His love thru the giving of our time and food. God bless all of you, and may you be blessed in your giving!

  53. Jamie says

    This is such a wonderful reminder of things that we can do to help out that are so appreciated. In 1989, our 9 year-old daughter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. We had to drive 70 miles round trip twice a day for radiation treatments for her, these had to be at least 8 hours apart. During this time my husband’s employer closed and we were in a bind. Our church helped out with meals and driving us to to the hospital. The meals were so wonderful to come home to when our lives seemed to be falling apart. Most people asked what our daughter liked and would try to accommodate her wishes. Also, those who remembered that we had another child that was stressed at this time and included him in what they brought was thoughtful too. (He was 5) I really do hope in this day and age that this doesn’t get forgotten. We have since moved to a different state and the church we attended did not even so much as call when I was in a car accident last fall when my Honda was totaled by a semi. Thank you so much for this reminder for all of us.

  54. Kim says

    This is lengthy and I do apologize for that, but I have a few things I’d like to share. It’s my hope they are able to help someone. :)

    In January we lost a good friend and her son in a tragic car wreck. They were much loved by many, including our family and her son was my son’s best friend. As fellow homeschoolers our homeschool group sprang to action to minister to her husband and daughter. I organized a chart so I could keep track of who would bring meals- the skills I’d learned as a pastor’s wife kicked into gear here ;o). I lined up several weeks worth of meals. People also signed up to bring paper plates, napkins, disposable cups, etc so the family wouldn’t have to worry about dishes during that time. In addition to hot meals, I arranged a sign up list for freezer meals so they would have those to eat after the hot meals were over. I would like to share a few suggestions below:

    1. Please remember to consider how many people will be eating the meal. Especially after a death, there are usually relatives staying at the home of the widow or widower. As meal coordinator, I would get a head count of how many would be sharing in the meal so I could notify the people who signed up. If there is to be a large group of guests present, then often it’s good to see if two or more people want to go in together to bring a larger amount of food; that way the burden isn’t on one person. Likewise, if there are only one or two people eating the meal, please don’t send enough to feed an army. One issue we had in the above situation occurred after the relatives left and it was just the widower and his daughter. Many people still cooked large amounts of food. I’m sure they were trying to give them leftovers, which is nice, but when you have someone signed up to bring a meal every day, really all that’s needed is enough for the supper you are bringing and maybe leftovers for lunch the next day. A few breakfast or snack items are always welcome too if you wish to bring something extra. I actually had to send out emails asking people to bring a bit less because the widower was getting overwhelmed with the amount of food (although he definitely appreciated the thought).

    2. Please try to package the food in disposable containers so the recipients don’t have to keep track of returning containers. That can become burdensome, especially during times grief, illness, or a new baby.

    3. It’s always good to have a meal coordinator if there will be a large group of people bringing meals (such as from church, homeschool group, work, etc). Get the word out that if someone wishes to bring food, they can contact that person to sign up for a particular day. As coordinator you not only coordinate the day but also the time that the meal will be delivered. In addition, you note down what meal will be brought so the family doesn’t recieve 6 straight days of lasagna, etc. It is also the coordinator’s job to convey information regarding food preferences and allergies the family may have. As coordinator you notify the family who will be bringing them food on which nights and what time it will arrive. That way the family isn’t recieving a constant barrage of phone calls from people trying to coordinate details with them. During times of illness, grief, or a new baby it’s difficult to have the phone ringing off the hook all the time and have to engage in what many times will become lengthy conversations. If you know of someone who needs meals and there is no coordinator for those meals, I urge you to step up and fill the need. It does make for quite the commitment on your part, but it’s a wonderful ministry and a nice way to show someone you care. Also, as coordinator, at the end of the meals, it’s nice to give the family a list of who brought meals along with the food that they brought. That way the family can use the list to make thank you cards (for example, they can then send a thank you to the Jones family for the wonderful spaghetti meal they brought). It’s hard for the family to remember who brought what so it’s nice to have a list when they wish to show their appreciation.

    4. Consider freezer meals for those who would prefer helping in a different way. In the case I shared with you regarding our friends, I organized several volunteers to bring freezer meals. These are simply homemade meals that are frozen and can be reheated in the oven or microwave. It can be as simple as homemade spaghetti sauce so all the family has to do is heat the sauce to place over pasta. Homemade frozen pizza seemed to be a favorite freezer meal for our friends. Someone also made them homemade individually wrapped burritos that could be pulled out and reheated for a snack or a meal- they loved that. In this case since it was only two people remaining in the home I had volunteers freeze items in small portions which worked nicely. I also told volunteers to include the cooking instructions on the item. I told them to place the item in a dish that could easily go from freezer to oven or microwave (or could at least be dumped out into another container easily such as a freezer bag). Many covered the dish in foil and wrote on the foil with a permanant marker. Some included an index card. Some wrote on a freezer bag or microwaveable container. The freezer meals were particularly nice in this situation because the widower doesn’t really know how to cook. He commented many times how valuable it was to have a home cooked meal on hand. One word of caution here. Although it’s tempting to take store bought frozen tv dinners, etc, it’s not always best, so evaluate the situation. In this case, the thought behind the action was to provide healthy, homemade meals. He was perfectly capable of picking up a tv dinner at the store, so the homemade meals were special to him. Another word of advice- make sure the family has space for these items. Sometimes others will volunteer to keep some items in their deep freezer for the family and then you can slowly take them over as the family needs them. In our friends’ situation, they had several freezer meals filling up their freezer and we put many in our freezer. I would take them over as they were ready for more. It’s been almost 6 months since we lost our friends and I must tell you that this week I will be taking the last of the freezer meals from my freezer and putting them in the family’s freezer while they are out of town so they are there when they return. Yep, 6 months of freezer meals!

    5. Consider another ministry if the circumstances are necessary. A lady in our homeschool group coordinated with me concerning another ministry idea. My friend who died was on the committee for our weekly homeschool co-op classes and served it faithfully. Those who participated in the co-op classes wished to help the family in another way. Since money was tight and the family was so grief stricken. The co-op families coordinated to bring a hot meal once a week for months after the other hot meals had ended. They also coordinated a rotation schedule to bring necessity items- toothpaste, toilet paper, deoderant, shaving cream,laundry detergent, dish soap, body soap, etc. I took down a list of what brands the family used and gave it to the other lady who was coordinating this. A schedule was established so that those needs were covered every month for several months. Don’t forget to look at the situation through empathetic eyes and do what you’d wish done for your family. In this case, I realized that the young daughter (who is friends with my daughter) would probably not feel comfortable asking her father for pads for her period. That’s something a girl usually goes to her mom for and now she no longer had her mother. So I decided that I would see to this detail so she never had to ask. It touched my heart that many other women in our group approached me with the same concern. We mommies were so burdened for our friend’s daughter. Often when a death or illness strikes there are details that may seem small but are really huge. Look for those details; God will show you ways to minister that might otherwise get overlooked. Maybe you are unable to take a meal but you could take a container of laundry detergent or even offer to do laundry for the family. That’s another ministry that you may not think of. An example can be found in the situation I’ve shared- since the death was sudden that meant the widower had in his clothes hamper clothing that belonged to his wife and son awaiting laundering at the time of their deaths. You can imagine how difficult it would have been on him to launder those clothes- such a reminder of how their lives were suddenly ended. Thankfully his sister thought of this and tended to it before she had to leave town to return home.

    6. Condsider location- In our case, the widower and his daughter live about 20 minutes from our home and we live about 30 minutes from the nearest big town. So that means that he and his daughter live almost an hour from most of the people in our homeschool group (so almost 2 hours roundtrip for some people). We did find this to be a difficult situation for some. A few families wanted to make a meal but were unable to drive the hour to deliver it due to restraints on their time or gas. So we pulled together and figured out a way for meal pick ups. Often myself or another lady who lives out this direction would coordinate to pick up the meal on a day we’d be in town running errands then our family would deliver the meal on behalf of another family. When we all pull together it makes it work!

    7. A final tip before I forget- Please remember to include vegetables if you’re able. And if there are a lot of meals being taken, some people should consider taking fruit for a dessert instead of cake, cookies, brownies, pies, etc. In our case, the widower and his daughter grew weary of having so many sweets around. Pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, etc can be a nice touch but day after day can lead to overload. It was always such a blessing to them when someone would make a fruit salad, fresh cut fruit, or at least a less sweet dessert.

    I must say that although I’d been a pastor’s wife for many many years this was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. Our homeschool community pulled together in such a beautiful way. People were so giving and selfless. The family would often receive a card with money along with their meal which was a blessed touch. I want to mention that there were several people who also ministered to us. Many people made meals for my family since we were busy tending to the grieving family so much and we were so very close to them. One family even gave us a gas card to help defray our gas expenses that were related to helping that family. I never expected any of that but I was so thankful. I just can’t tell you how much it touched me when I’d go to pick up a meal for the family and someone would have a meal for my family too. I pray that I’m able to grow old with my family but it does comfort me to know that should anything ever happen to me, so many people would pull together to care for my husband and children. It was an honor and a privilege to see the body of Christ work precisely how it’s supposed to work. I’ve seen wonderful glimpses of it before but it was amazing to see it on such a grand scale. I feel so sad for those areas of our country where it no longer seems to function like that. If you live in a place like that, I encourage you to be an instrument of change. I assure you, you’ll be blessed in the process. This shouldn’t be an “old fashioned” concept it should just be the way it is.

    Thanks for putting up with my rambling. As you can see, this topic is near to my heart ;0)

    Blessings,
    Kim

    • says

      Kim you bring up a good point. There are so many other ways that needs need to be meant besides meals for those who can’t do meals. I know my best friend lost her husband on Christmas Eve. She said she couldn’t bring herself to take down the Christmas decorations and here one day some people from her church showed up and said we are here to take down your decorations for you. It was such a relief for her.

      My parents are the type of people who always know just the right thing to do and help someone. I thought how can they do that. Years later I found out if I prayed and asked God to start showing me needs to be meant He did. Things I would have never dreamed to do came to mine. But like you say if nothing else put yourself in their place think what would help them the most then do it.

  55. Emily says

    Thanks for a great post! I’ve been coordinating meals for families with new babies at our church and it’s always so appreciated! Two websites that can help simplify the coordination process are mealbaby.com and takethemameal.com. These sites allow you to put in how many people need food and what allergies or preferences they have, and allow participants to sign up for a date and time and put in what meal they’re taking. It can help take some of the burden off the coordinator.

  56. chandra says

    i have taken many meals to people, and i love doing it!! i feel so good helping others. then, back in may, my mother in law passed away, and for the first time ever, someone brought us a meal. it was wonderful, and they put it in disposable containers, included the plastic silverware, salad dressing packets to go with the salad, and even a cake for dessert. talk about being blessed, it was so wonderful. i love this, and i hope that people reading will consider it for others:)

  57. Linda DeWitt says

    I love your newsletter, however I am odds with you about the environment and being “green.” In today’s newsletter you stated, “There is a time and place to save the environment and this is not it.” The “time and place to save the environment” is everyday in everything we do, always keep in mind that the earth is on loan to us, and we need to do our part to preserve and care for it. It is a gift from God and NOT just something to be used because it will “pass away.” You do many things, so you say in your newsletter, that is environmentally friendly, e.g., recycling (anytime you reuse something), buying at thrift stores and yard sales, etc. So, why not advocate good environment practices in every aspect of our lives? If we don’t, who will?

    • says

      The point I was making was if I just buried my beloved child that day or my husband is laying dying in the hospital, washing dishes and saving the environment will not be at the top of my list of priorities that day and other people shouldn’t expect it from me either. There really is a time and place for certain things.

  58. Amy says

    When we moved to a new house 2 miles down the road, we had a widow lady in our church bring by some Hardees hamburgers and a 2 liter of soda for our family. It was really appreciated not to have to cook and pack.

  59. Bea says

    GOD gave us dominion over the environment. That doesn’t mean we get careless and destroy it, but PEOPLE come first! There will be a new Heaven and a new earth, but people are immortal.

  60. Mil says

    It seems there are a variety of eco-friendly items to use:
    http://www.staples.com/office/supplies/StaplesSearch?searchkey=sustainable+earth+spoons&storeId=10001&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&fromUrl=home
    and check out the list of “eco” stuff, or google for it.
    These things might work.
    I like the concept of making things effortless on the recipient
    (not have to worry about returning dishes, thanking people,
    etc) Also is not the time to have recipient worry about “entertaining” or even
    have people in. Those who wish to use re-useable containers,
    do they want to provide a lidded plastic box the recipient can put stuff in
    for pickup? Or, better, leave the details to someone else who is
    in the home.

  61. Katie says

    Speaking of leftovers….it is possible to buy small square plastic containters (Glad containers) for leftovers. They come in varying sizes and stack nicely in the fridge.

  62. Kathy Conto says

    This was one of the very best “Living on a Dime” newletter received. What a wonderful reminder of something that like you said can be a real God Sent. I really liked your ideas on what to do and not what to do. I plan on taking this to the bulletin board at church, we do have a committee who makes and takes food for all the reasons you mention, but these are the best guidelines I have ever seen printed. This will be a blessing to the person recieving as well as the person preparing. Thanks ever so much. Kathy

  63. Katie says

    I know this is about food, but sometimes there are other things one can do for a family that have nothing to do with food.

    Maybe the family has a new baby, and Mom needs some rest (and who will keep an eye on the other children?).
    Perhaps there is an ill neighbor who needs his lawn cared for. Things like that–they have nothing to do with food, but they are other ways to show people you care.

    • says

      Katie this is so true that is why I closed the article with the comment that there is so much more to say but didn’t have room to say it all there. I remember reading a story a woman wrote one time how she found out her brother and his whole family had been killed in a car wreck in the middle of her church service. She couldn’t think straight on what to pack or to make arrangements hardly but shortly after they arrived home from church an elderly man from church showed up and said I have come to polish your shoes.

      Now a day that may seem a silly thing to do for somebody but it had been raining bad and the man knew that the family had worn their good shoes to church that morning and were covered in mud. Since most people years ago only had 1 good pair of shoes he knew they would need to pack and take them with them.

      The woman said that one small act of kindness and practicality meant more to her and helped her more then the gentleman would ever know. It stabilized her world for a moment.

      You don’t have to be the smartest, most skilled or talented to do something. You don’t have to do something great big either. You just have to care.

  64. Angie says

    When I was a teenager, the pastor of our small church was injured and unable to work. He and his family never talked about it but they were struggling. Someone in our church suggested what they called ‘a pounding’. Basically, all of our church members grocery shopped for the pastor and his family. It was November, and I remember a lot of people bought thing for Holiday meals and baking. We boxed everything up nicely and left it on their screened in porch when the family was out. Arranged in a nice basket in the center of all the boxed groceries were one pound bags of coffee, tea, cocoa, and assorted candies. We included a card that read: Pounding you with love and signed by our church. The pastor and his family were so touched and appreciative. I hope caring for others never falls away. It’s sad that some people are too busy or selfish to help a friend or neighbor out.

  65. Dixie Bell says

    Around The Hollidays when others share cookies and sweets I have a practice of making a meal that can be frozen like Gumbo or Chicken with homemade egg noodles or cajuin rice with extra “dressing”. I make these meals for my close friends. Sugar treats are always available but a healthy cooked meal has always been well received.

  66. Kendra Burnett says

    The church I belonged to about 15 years ago had ” Bereavement Boxes”… We bought plastic totes, and filled them with paper goods,ie paper plates, napkins, Kleenex, coffee cups, disposable utensils, etc, as well as coffee filters, cans of coffee, sugar and creamer, etc. when someone in the community passed away , the church secretary made arrangements to have a bereavement box dropped off to the family. As a family tends to have numerous visitors in a situation like this, it was helpful to not only receive food from caring friends/family, but to have the plates, coffee, etc necessary to accommodate the large numbers of visitors without constantly running out or dropping everything to make a run to town/grocery store. We just kept a running stockpile to replenish these boxes as they were returned to the church….

  67. mellie says

    I know what you mean about sometimes needing help. I lost my house last year due to the fact that the financial company I had my money with was negligent with my money and most of it evaporated, so I was forced to give up my house. Now I must to live on s.s. and talk about money being tight, it’s so tight it squeaks. My best friend (God bless her) comes over, takes me out to lunch, and provides me with as much frozen food as will fit in the freezer, which tides me over till the next payment. God has certainly provided!

  68. JAMES R. says

    These are all great ideas Ladies, Thank you for sharing!!

    I used to have a farm but live in the city now…

    One time, a neighbor had gotten hurt at work & was laid up for about 6 months.
    To help the family out, I butchered a hog & gave it to them so they would always have food…then a group of us “attacked” his fields & finished the planting, cultivating, & harvesting of the corn, soybeans, wheat & oats he had.

    They offered to pay us, but we all refused. Told them that this is what friends do…

    They still have their farm but on a much smaller scale than before.

    I can not think of a better way to say “I care” or “I love you” than to give of oneself.

  69. Liz says

    I typically take a roast or meatloaf with potatoes, carrots, green beans, rolls and a dessert to people needing meals that we know. Several times when I arrived with the food, the husband, in particular, thanked me for bringing “real” meat. They apparently had had lots of casseroles, and were glad to have plain foods for a change. The roast is an easy meal to make as I just toss in a roast, baby peeled carrots, onions, and potatoes in the crockpot and cook all day. The most labor intensive part is peeling the potatoes. I also make double of everything, so I have my meal cooked, too. Of course, meatloaf takes a little more time, but not much. I also put everything in disposable containers.

    I love the idea of the brevement boxes! I usually send cash to friends or relatives who have lost family members instead of flowers. I send a card saying if they need to get out, and/or don’t feel like cooking, to use the money for a meal out. Or, I tell them that I know they will have lots of relaitives and friends stopping by, and io use it to help cover expenses related to having extra people in their household. One of my cousins said she really appreciated the money as she had extra food she had to buy for visiting relatives when her loved one died. She loved the idea so much she said she was going to start sending cash for the extra expenses, instead of flowers for the funeral.

    • says

      Super good ideas Liz. I agree with the meat thing 100%. Roasts and roasted chickens are really easy like you say. One thing Tawra does is she tosses the potatoes in without peeling or cutting them and they turn out so good. Saves a little work peeling too.

  70. Tommie Ellis says

    I enjoyed all of the sharing articles and have done many meals for those who need help for whatever reason. It is truly a good and loving tradition. When a friend lost her husband, I knew she had several young people who would be staying in her home during the funeral. Since we were moving from California to Texas and busy packing. I decided to to buy deli meats to fill a large disposable platter (several kinds) and loaves of bread. I also took mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. My friend said she truly appreciated the ease of having fast meals (or a snack) for her family during this hard time. I felt good that it was easy for me and very helpful for her and her family. LOVE——DOES!!!!! Tommie in Abilene, TX

  71. Magdalen says

    This isn’t something that happens where I live but it’s lovely to read about such kindness and generosity.

  72. Mary Jane says

    Great post, and comments. I don’t have much to add, except to say that when I bring a casserole or mixed food dish, it is something that can be frozen and simply reheated. I always put a slip of paper or a card on top of the dish listing the ingredients, to avoid problems with food allergies, etc., and I cook with good basic ingredients. We usually have an indication of anything that we might have to avoid, but this little precaution helps. Jill is right, in that it is the thought that counts. One neighbour told me about the time when she was very ill, with small children, and another neighbour came over, dropped off supper, and then took the time to sweep her kitchen floor. The sweeping is what stands out in her mind. Years ago, when we went on holidays, I always dreaded coming home to a quickly overgrown garden. I would clean my garden out thoroughly before we left, but we had a major chickweed problem.
    The ‘catch up’ part of all the work when we got home, would do me in. The worst part was when my neighbours would wander over and stand around while I weeded and causally discuss ‘how many weeds’ I had, and then go home. I hated the interruption while I was trying to catch up. One summer I came home to find that a teenage neighbour girl took it upon herself to attempt to get some of the weeds out before I came home. I had a large garden, and she only got through a small section on one side, but I was so touched by her consideration and effort. No one had asked her or suggested to her that she should do it. That small consideration has stood out in my mind as one of the kindest acts anyone has ever done for me.

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