Sympathy Food: How to Plan & Deliver Meals for a Grieving Friend

Sympathy food should be just as popular (if not more so) than flowers. There’s something so wonderful and comforting about a home-cooked meal. It shows how much you care. It meets a very practical and present need, but it also be remembered for years to come. A delicious and carefully prepared meal is more than nourishment, it represents love and support.

For the bereaved, the daily tasks of cooking and caring for themselves is not only difficult, but it can feel wrong to focus on themselves. Many grieving people do not care if they eat or not. That’s why they need caring people, like you, to help them out.

Easy Sympathy Food Ideas

If you know that delicious dinners would be a great way to comfort a bereaved friend, relative or co-worker, but you just don’t have the time you should consider sending them a meal through an online gourmet food shop or meal delivery service.

Sympathy food gift baskets are also a popular option. Just about all the major online florists carry gift baskets and there are also many online stores specializing in sympathy gift baskets. There are fruit gift baskets, nuts, meats and cheeses, snacks, cookies, chocolates and wine gift baskets. These are great for grieving families who have guests from out of town.

Tips for Organizing Meals

You can make meals yourself or you can arrange among friends or co-workers to have meals brought over for a week or two. Many people want to see meals taken care of for a grieving family, but they don’t know how to head up something like this. I’ve done it a few times before and it’s really not difficult.

1. First, print out this sign-up sheet to take to work and give people an opportunity to participate.
2. Call everyone who signed up and assign them a day that works with their schedule.
3. You may want to ask people to give a general idea of what they want to bring, for example a chicken dish, Chinese take-out, pizza, soup, and salad, or a beef dish to try and avoid having the family receive the same kind of dish more than once.
4. Write their name on a calendar for the day they’ve chosen.
5. Contact the bereaved family to let them know what days they will be receiving meals and to find out if anybody in the family has any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
6. Remind everyone who signs up to bring a meal by calling or sending out reminder cards a few days in advance.

Using an Online Meal Sharing Calendar

There are several free online meal calendars that make it easy for people to sign up for specific dates, get reminders, and avoid duplicate meals. Here are a few popular ones:

  • Meal Train
  • Food Tidings
  • Take Them a Meal
  • Care Calendar

When a community of people support the bereaved it can make a big difference for them. Even though each person is only doing a small thing the combined result is wonderful.