Meaningful Items During a Difficult Time
Meaningful Items During a Difficult Time

A friend of our site, Ruth Newquist, shared the following with us:

"My husband died 6 years ago. I appreciated everything people did for me. But..... I had lots of paper products and lots of fried chicken. Someone in my husband's office lost her husband two years earlier, so she brought what helped her- stamps. I used the stamps for thank you notes."

We thought giving stamps was such a thoughtful idea that it made us curious as to what other meaningful items people have received during difficult times. Here are some inspiring suggestions from our users:

Food items you can take along:

  • Uncooked pasta
  • Teabags/coffee
  • Breakfast items (bagels/cream cheese, yogurt, granola)
  • Lunch items for children
  • Special drinks (i.e. apple cider, juice, etc.)
  • Basket of healthy snacks
  • Breakfast bars
  • Mints

Non-food items you can take along:

  • Toiletries (hand soaps, lotions, lip gloss/chapstick etc.)
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Ziploc bags
  • Paper plates
  • Disposable containers (to transfer meals and send dishes home with meal provider)
  • Garbage bags
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Tissues
  • Treats for family pets

Services you can offer:

  • Send an encouraging note
  • Mow their lawn *
  • Maid service/cleaning *
  • Rake their yard
  • Snow removal
  • Pet sitting
  • Rides
  • Extra freezer space for food gifts
  • Clean up after dinner, clean kitchen
  • House sit during funeral and clean while family is out of the house
  • Greet visitors
  • Plan a birthday party if a child in the family has a birthday during the difficult time *
  • Laundry (pick it up and deliver it clean/folded)
  • Childcare
  • Take a packed lunch to the hospital for loved ones who do not want to leave
  • Time for anything that's needed

Gifts you can deliver or send

  • Stamps
  • Blank cards
  • Gift cards for Target
  • Gift cards for Lowes
  • Gas gift cards *
  • Gift card to hospital parking garage
  • Gift certificates for restaurants near to home or hospital
  • Toys for the children that travel well (coloring books, crayons, etc.)
  • Soothing candle
  • Magazines
  • Rolls of coins (for vending machines at hospital)
  • Gift card to local nursery
  • Plant to remind family of loved one
  • Order a shipped meal through

Gifts for later

  • In the weeks and months that follow: visit, sit and listen
  • Let them know you haven't forgotten
  • Send encouraging notes
  • Give hugs

* These ways to help were a favorite of many of our users

If you have additional items for the list, please send them to us through a comment on this post or post it on our Facebook page. We will add them to the list.

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Scott & Adina
Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.
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