The day we found out our little Hope had died, my girlfriend went right to work setting up a meal ministry for our friends to help us through. Growing up in a very old time Southern family, meals were a part of everything, including funerals. I never understood that. Who brings food when someone dies? However, once we came home, cooking was just not on the docket of things we had the emotional, physical and mental ability to do.
I never expected anything so everything we were given was a blessing. The outpouring we received was humbling and I learned firsthand the value of giving meals in time of grief.
I urge you, when someone finds themselves in the throes of grief, if you can do nothing else, please bring them a meal or order a meal to be delivered to them. It may seem little but it really is huge.
And beer too, or wine. Just make sure they are ok with that. A friend brought me a 6-pack of some fancy brewed beers and it was one of those little extras that just added to the feeling of love. We’re not “drinkers” but from time to time do enjoy a little something. And when you are barely holding it together, a little something to help you relax is very nice.
You may be wondering what kinds of food to bring. That which requires little to no preparation on the part of the family is best. We had many families bring (or had delivered) food ready to eat and as close to that meal time as possible. And some even brought disposable dishes. That was fantastic! While I was calling funeral homes and trying to finalize plans for my daughter, all I had to do (or dad) was scoop out food and that was that.
Dinner is typically the most thought of meal. However, breakfast and lunch and even snacks for the kids still have to be prepared. One friend made a large batch of waffles and another banana bread. Homemade frozen waffles or toasted banana bread with butter is a wonderful way to start the day.
Pinterest is a great place to find suggestions on foods to bring but I will share a few of my favorites that are easy to prepare and good for the weary body and soul.
***Check for food allergies before preparing meals***
Waffles- Pack with pieces of wax paper in between so that if they are frozen for later, they are easy to separate.
Banana Bread- There are tons of variations on this that can include zucchini, chocolate, pineapple, cherries and so much more. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Breakfast Casseroles- Like with Banana Bread, there are so many different ways this can be made.
French Toast / Cinnamon Bun Bake- Be sure to pack syrup and/or cream cheese to serve with this.
Pinwheels (Sandwich roll-ups)- a variation on the typical sandwich. This can be fun for kids to eat. And, there are even baked recipes that really take this up a notch.
Salad: Grilled/fried chicken, cubed cold cuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, grains like quinoa, nuts and seeds, pasta, creamy dressing or vinaigrette…a very satisfying and flavorful meal.
Sandwiches: But go above and beyond the traditional white bread, mayo, mustard, cheese and cold meat if you can. For example, croissant buns and homemade chicken salad with a hearty lettuce and sweet iced tea (because that’s how it is done in the South) . Sliders could be another play on this.
Baked Pasta- This can be spaghetti, lasagna or stuffed shells.
Enchiladas/Burritos/Taco Casserole- Just go easy on anything spicy. Don’t forget to pack salsa or other condiments that would go with this dish.
Pot Roast- This is a big meal but really says “I love you” and “You are worth it”.
Desserts and Drinks:
Easy to forget about but brings an added comfort. Sweetness in the midst of bitterness.