At one point in our life, all of us have been “there”. Whether you have been ill and been on the receiving end of kindess and hospitality from your neighbors or your church, or you have been the giver- we all have experienced people pulling together to help care for one another.
This post is dedicated to those of us who are the givers and here are some suggestions I would like to share. After discussing with many “receivers” and their families how much they appreciate the generousity people share by bringing meals during a difficult time, there are a few common items that seem to get over looked.
Honestly, a lot of this stuff would not have crossed my mind prior to having these discussions. It makes perfect sense, because when someone is in need, your first thought is to get a meal to them- and quickly!
- Call ahead and ask before you bring food. It’s hard to know what is going on with the family in a tough situation. Also check to see if the ill person has any dietary restrictions.
- Use a disposable dish. This is probably the most important. As you can imagine or have experienced, when there has been an illness or a passing in the family, lots and lots and lots of food is delivered! The family appreciates it so much, but…imagine if you are deeply grieving or terminally ill and you are worrying about washing all of those dishes?
- Label, label, label! Label what the food is, even is you use masking tape and a sharpie. This makes it easy for a loved one to reach in the fridge and to know what is in there to feed those around them.
- If you do use a non-disposable dish, be sure to write your name on the bottom of it! And please, please don’t use an expensive or irreplaceable dish. If it were to get accidentally broken, the family you are helping would be so upset.
- Offer to be dish patrol! There are always going to be occasions where disposable dishes can’t or aren’t used. Be a sweetheart and check in with the family and see if you can take them off their hands, wash them and return them to their owners. A family in a sensitive situation has enough on their minds and any extra help we can give them is so appreciated! Call them a few days later to see if you can offer a hand. While cleaning someone else’s dish might be yucky, I would rather the family focus their time on their loved one who is ailing, not washing dishes. :o)
It took me some prodding to get out of her if there was anything she wished could be done differently. After much persistence on my part, she hesitantly said,”Well, washing and keeping track of what belongs to who and worrying about getting the dish back to them is almost a nightmare for people who can’t care for themselves to begin with.”
She is absolutely right. When I reflect on all the funerals I have attended and all of the dishes that have been brought, and left, I can’t imagine trying to wash and return all of them, especially when I would probably rather be spending time with my family.
Do you have anything you would like to add to this list? I would be happy to hear your suggestions as well!
Edited to add your suggestions:
Kim added: “I like to try to include some items along with my meal that are good for “on the go” If you take a new mom or a family in need of a meal, include a box of healthy granola bars, some bananas, some yogurt cups or mini muffins. That way they have something small that can be brought along as they out the door to the next doctor’s appointment or as they try keep up with back to back feedings and diaperings of a newborn.”
Thank you so much for sharing, Kim!
Jessica suggests: “One thing I think is really thoughtful for small families is to freeze half of the meal for them. If you only have one or two people in your family and you are getting loads of food everyday there’s no way they can eat all of it! It’s really great to be able to stick it in the freezer and keep it for later.”
Great insight, Jessica!
P.S. Linking up at all my favorite party place listed on my link party page, as well as a new place to kick up my heels —The Stewart Estate!