How to Support Grieving Families During the Holidays

By Susan Fraser -December 09,2020

Grieving Families

Easy to Prepare Meals for Mourning Families

Regardless of the season, people want to help out friends and relatives who are mourning the loss of a loved one. In fact, providing a meal to those who are dealing with additional stress is a wonderful way to show that they are loved. 

grieving families

Everyone needs to eat. When they are struggling, making even the simplest meals may be too much. The trick is to select an option that everyone will like. These meal ideas are delicious, simple to prepare dinner recipes, and popular for a crowd.

As a general rule, families like to have the ability to decide when and how they will eat the meal. They may prefer to eat it as soon as it is delivered, hot and ready to go. They may also want to freeze and reheat it at a later time, particularly if they have already received many food gifts. 

If you want to provide a meal try choosing options that meet these requirements:


  • Easy to prepare and serve at the time of the meal
  • Simple to tuck into the freezer for later
  • Limited in complexity, e.g. soup and bread or lasagna and salad
  • Suits the dietary preferences of the family eating it


brocolli CHicken Casserole

    Within these parameters, you have quite a few options to consider. One-dish meals like casserole, chili, or soup are popular because they are easy to prepare or reheat. Families can add side dishes to them or keep them simple. Savory pot pies or shepherd’s pie are other kid-friendly choices that the whole family will appreciate.

     If the family is grieving in isolation, adding a few common grocery items. You can never go wrong with a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, bag of apples, or a gallon of milk that helps stretch the pantry until the next trip. 

    With the pandemic, you may opt for using an app delivery service for meals or groceries. It is still a kind gesture, but also a safe one during this unprecedented time.

delivery food
How to Support Grieving Families

When someone loses a loved one, other family members and friends often want to help. The trouble is that it’s hard to figure out what types of help are actually helpful. After all, most people can only find space for so many bouquets of flowers. 

On the other hand, meals can be an excellent way to support people during the worst moments of their lives. A wonderful meal offered at just the right time can help to ensure that people stay nourished so they have the energy to keep going.

1. Send a Memorial

Sending a memorial like a sympathy gift is a great, easy way to show support to grieving families. A beautiful gift to add to the holidays will shed a little light. If you’d like to send a card or keepsake, check out our Christmas Poems and Ornaments. The family will appreciate your thoughtfulness during a hard holiday season.

christmas ornaments

2. Offer Assistance

In a lot of cases, the family members may not know how to respond to offers. The death of a loved one is overwhelming, particularly in the middle of a pandemic when many families are already isolated. 

Experts recommend giving a grieving friend or relative a few choices of assistance that you are willing to provide. It may come in the form of:


  • Preparing Meals
  • Simple Chores
  • Running Errands
  • Child Care

By outlining a handful of things that you can do, it takes stress off the family in deciding what they need most.

3. Research Food Gifts

Part of the reason that food is such a popular sympathy gift is that grieving families don’t usually feel like cooking. There are only so many sandwiches that people can eat, especially when they’re exhausted by the loss of a loved one. 


Food gifts can be a perfect way to shower attention on the family without overwhelming them, as long as the meal is appropriate. For example, a family with very young children may want simple, kid-friendly meals. Someone with a lot of food allergies or sensitivities needs to have a meal that they can safely eat. Even popular snack foods, maybe a great alternative to meals when the family already has enough.


kid-friendly foods

4. Order Meal Delivery

The last thing anybody wants to do at a difficult time is figure out how to manage meals three times a day. Even getting takeout might be too much to ask. Sometimes, grieving families are delighted to hear that they don’t have to plan dinner tonight. Pizza, or another food that’s commonly delivered, is already on its way. 

If you aren’t sure when the family is going to need the meal, consider buying a gift card to the family’s favorite restaurant, or a delivery service like GrubHub or DoorDash.


ordering online
5. Send a Prepared Meal

You can also make a meal to send or drop off at the family‘s house. It may seem crucial to do this right at the beginning, but that’s not necessarily the only good time to send a meal.


Although many grieving families find themselves with casseroles to spare in the days after a loved one passes, these offers of assistance usually drop off pretty quickly. 

If you are wondering how best to help a family, consider offering a meal a few weeks later. Families are often still processing the loss, as well as going through their loved one’s belongings and other affairs. They may still need help, but they are less likely to get it after the funeral or memorial service is done.
Finding the right words to say to a grieving loved one is hard. Knowing what to make to ease the pain can be easier. Food gifts are often one of the best ways to show you care, and that someone who is struggling is not alone in their grief. Identifying the right kinds of food takes a little research and a lot of love. But in the end, everyone feels the warmth of friendship that comes with a great meal.


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