Appropriate gift for grieving friend?

KleinKlein Registered User regular
edited January 7 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a friend who recently lost a loved one, it's a sad situation for the family. Right now it is difficult to be there and support them because of COVID, so I am trying to come up with how to support their family. I know that after the loss of a loved one, people bring food over, but that drops off. Would it be appropriate to get a generous gift card to a nearby nice restaurant so they can get take out/delivery, along with a card? I figure that they can get meals later and the food wouldn't go to waste.

If anyone has any other gift suggestions I would appreciate it, I am kind of at a loss I can do. I would like to try and get something that could be used later as I know families get a lot of support initially, but that dries up. Is there a grocery delivery service that I could buy a gift card for?

Klein on

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    That's a tough one.

    The giving food has a couple of meaning behind it; it's something that's 'easy' to do, it shows a commitment of time by the giver, and it's one less thing the receiver had to think about.

    Unfortunately gift cards don't really do that. If you think it's a money issue, then yes go for it. But it's more about having to think about what to eat, then ordering, then dealing with a delivery person.

    Sorry for crapping all over your thoughful idea. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
    Maybe just get a couple of restaurants they like and order for them? Instacart does have gift cards. Or if you can get them AmazonFresh, maybe get an order of staples (soup, pasta/rice) together and send it over.

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  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    That's a tough one.

    The giving food has a couple of meaning behind it; it's something that's 'easy' to do, it shows a commitment of time by the giver, and it's one less thing the receiver had to think about.

    Unfortunately gift cards don't really do that. If you think it's a money issue, then yes go for it. But it's more about having to think about what to eat, then ordering, then dealing with a delivery person.

    Sorry for crapping all over your thoughful idea. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
    Maybe just get a couple of restaurants they like and order for them? Instacart does have gift cards. Or if you can get them AmazonFresh, maybe get an order of staples (soup, pasta/rice) together and send it over.

    Please don't feel bad and thank you for the suggestions. Yeah, I want to help but not come off as cold. Maybe I'll look into this service?

    https://www.spoonfulofcomfort.com/product/sympathy-soup-gift-baskets-package/

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Food is almost always welcome for this sort of thing. The less spoilable it is, the better, because sometimes you also get a huge pile of food from similar friends, so things which can be saved for next week or the week after, when things will still be stressful but there will be less well-wishers, is very good IMO.

    What is this I don't even.
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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Oh - HELLO FRESH or similar might be good. Still have to cook it, but at at least it's sorted of what to have.

    Damn ad worked on me; GETREDDIT12 gets you some free meals

    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    Oh - HELLO FRESH or similar might be good. Still have to cook it, but at at least it's sorted of what to have.

    Damn ad worked on me; GETREDDIT12 gets you some free meals

    Fair warning, yes you get the kit to make the food but it's not quick and easy. If you're not handy in the kitchen it can be fairly difficult.

    And they ship everything fresh. Say you go with the 3-meal kit, you've now given them a deadline to set aside 3 nights this week to go and make all this food.

    Personally, a bad idea in this case. I also agree a gift card is the wrong choice and could come across as impersonal or worse.

    We've had similar situations, and we've dropped off care packages of prepared foods from a local pasta place. They make frozen meals, so we'd drop off a tray of penne and sauce, a lasagna, some cannelloni's, or whatever. It's not quite the same as personally preparing food, but it does still send the message that you're thinking of them and want to lighten their cognitive load a bit.

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    You can give money and make the personal part a thoughtful card or letter.

    Things drop off, yeah - but that's sort of ok, since a really hard part about dealing with death in the family in the short term is the administrative crap you have to work on while grieving - death certificate stuff, paying for the funeral, hunting down life insurance, calling credit card companies and whatnot. Sometimes a printer/scanner/fax is a godsend.

    Cards or just a small thing well after the fact is unusual and appreciated, usually. Maybe if you send them something now, it'll get lost in the flurry, but if you send them something later too, that might be special.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    You said a loss to the family. Does the person have children? You could offer to babysit, (I know, COVID, but you could do like the zoo or something)


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  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    You said a loss to the family. Does the person have children? You could offer to babysit, (I know, COVID, but you could do like the zoo or something)

    It was their father, there are no kids or anything so I can't help with that. My friend is living with their parents right now while they do post-secondary studies. Hearing from another friend who is visiting them, the house has plenty of food right now and some family members, so I don't want to bring anything right now, but maybe a week from now.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If you're talking about generous gift cards to nice restaurants, maybe instead of that if they're having a hard time offer to take care of some small related expense. There can be tons of things ranging from tiny to much less tiny that you've never thought of until you're making arrangements after someone's death, but between time and money they add up fast. If they need to travel a lot for this you could pick up a gas card, that kind of thing. It's not something they need to go out of their way to use, but money they'll necessarily spend (probably with a card anyway) while they're already out, if that makes sense. This idea may sound silly but I know it would be a big deal for me: If you know they have a pet, and you can get an idea what that pet eats, you can get them a few weeks of repeat delivery from somewhere like Petco. This goes manyfold if they are now in charge of a pet they weren't before the person died.

    Alternatively if they don't need that or you don't feel it's appropriate and you knew anything about the person you can donate to a charity they would have found meaningful.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 8
    If it were something else, I might not advocate for it, but if it going to be a particularly generous giftcard, amazon is a good choice in that it can really stretch to different needs. They can replace things, get toiletries, and in some places it can go to groceries. You can handwrite a note, and print out the code and put it in the card, which takes the impersonal edge off it. Unless they have a stated moral objection to amazon, or you do (which, fair) its a very sustainable gift. When I was flat broke, the amazon gift cards I let accumulate in my account would sometimes really save us when something essential broke, or some expensive supply ran out. Its as close to strait cash as you can get without going for an annoying prepaid visa.

    Alternatives could be costco, or target, but with the way things are right now, I would just want stuff to come to the door.

    Other things that you can fund, are entertainment things like gift cards that can be applied to movie rentals, or nintendo/steam giftcards to provide distractions, but that's easier if you know what kind of things are relaxing downtime for them. Like a bundle of new board games is damn expensive, but if they aren't a game night family it would just be trash. If you know any indulgences, like they enjoy opening blind packs of magic cards or coloring books or knitting, that can be more personal if strait cash or food isn't what they seemingly need at the moment.

    Iruka on
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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Everyone is different, but the main thing I remember from the most direct, personal family death was feeling too tired and stressed to bother thinking about food, which was the reason having people bring food that was already ready to eat for the house to graze on was so useful. I wasn't hungry, I was sad and tired and busy. I didn't want to think about ordering take out. But there was a bunch of food sitting around and I ate it without thinking.

    What is this I don't even.
    Lucedes
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    A friend recently went through this. What I did is organized her friends to write out nice messages/cards, and donate money. We got her a gift card for Uber Eats and then the rest just in cash.

    Like Ceres mentioned, there are just a bunch of expenses that come up during this time.

  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    Thank you, everyone, for the support and suggestions. I talked with a friend and went grocery shopping for their family, I got some basic home items and some easy to eat and prepared food. I will also see if I can help out with some outdoor chores in the coming months, I'll just pop over and take care of whatever I can.

    MichaelLCceresElvenshaeBouwsTIrukaJazzL Ron Howard
  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    Excellent job! All that will doubtless be highly appreciated.

    Sorry I'm late to the thread, but I have to just add this:

    When my mum died last year, one particular very dear friend came by with tea and biscuits.

    By which I mean a catering bag of 440 tea bags (decent brand, too); four pints of milk; a bag of sugar; and one packet of every single type of biscuit the store had.

    I think it's probably the single most thoughtful gift anyone has ever got me (at least, got adult me). And it's one I have made a mental note to borrow when someone else has a hard time in the future.

    Granted you probably need a Brit's attitude towards tea for this specifically, but the concept is easily adapted for most tastes, I think.

    KleinElvenshaeJaysonFour
  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    Jazz wrote: »
    Excellent job! All that will doubtless be highly appreciated.

    Sorry I'm late to the thread, but I have to just add this:

    When my mum died last year, one particular very dear friend came by with tea and biscuits.

    By which I mean a catering bag of 440 tea bags (decent brand, too); four pints of milk; a bag of sugar; and one packet of every single type of biscuit the store had.

    I think it's probably the single most thoughtful gift anyone has ever got me (at least, got adult me). And it's one I have made a mental note to borrow when someone else has a hard time in the future.

    Granted you probably need a Brit's attitude towards tea for this specifically, but the concept is easily adapted for most tastes, I think.

    Your friend is very thoughtful! They aren't the type of people for tea, but getting having something to bring some comfort is nice. For groceries, I bought an assortment of items, some healthy fruits and vegetables, along with some more snack foods that could just be eaten, and then a few things that would not take long to prepare.

    I brought the groceries to a second friend who is visiting my grieving friend's house, (they are limiting exposure because of COVID, so I have not gone over), and they said the family appreciated the groceries. I am grateful that I could help in some small way and I still feel like it's not enough, but I don't think anything I can do will make it better.

    It is difficult right now for a lot of reasons, and COVID makes it worse as I wish I could do more to help in-person. It sounds like my grieving friend's family is over and helping out right now so I am giving them some space, but I will try and check in every few weeks. I hope I can help in some ways in the upcoming months, though I am not entirely sure how at this moment.

    Jazz
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