10 Tips For Bringing Food To A Friend
Pay attention to their needs
Here are some tips to make things go smoothly when you're bringing a meal to a friend.
Be sure to ask and record all dietary restrictions and preferences. Websites like mealtrain.com can help with this. When bringing food to people with food allergies list ingredients for each item.
Provide heating, serving and refrigeration instructions.
You will often be asked to bring food in disposable containers. While this is convenient, it often results in casserole type dishes being cooked, reheated and delivered in aluminum containers. I would never cook for my family in an aluminum container because of the chemical leaching issues. So, I definitely would not cook a meal for a friend dealing with an illness in such a container. It is not good to store leftovers in aluminum either. My recommendation is to check out your local grocery store or discount home goods store for inexpensive glass baking dishes that you can cook and deliver your dish in. Tell your recipient to keep it and pay it forward with it. Make sure they know this is part of the meal and they do not need to return it. I can find basic large baking dishes for $4 - $5 dollars and I just stock up when they are on sale.
Pack salad dressing on the side in a glass jar.
Make sure you know the best time of day to deliver the meal (again sites like mealtrain.com help with this). When you do deliver, do not overstay your welcome. No matter how good a friend it is, it just may not be a good time! Instead include a nice card or note expressing how you feel.
When packaging your meal for delivery, consider adding a few thoughtful items for your recipient that might brighten their day. I like to include items such as a couple of magazines, a bundle of flowers, a favorite box of herbal tea or even my DIY Lavender bath salts.
When delivering for a family, consider adding little items for other family members. For example, a small big brother or sister gift when a new baby has arrived or a treat for the family pet. If someone is in the hospital you may want to put together a little care package containing items like Advil, eye drops, tissues, an eye mask or an inspirational book.
When a family is dealing with out-of-town guests or multiple visitors, items that are often overlooked and needed are paper goods. Sometimes we may have to trump our environmental stewardship intentions for ease and convenience during a stressful time. Often a family in crisis does not even realize they are out of these things. Not only plates and napkins, but paper towels, tissues and toilet paper. It may feel strange bringing toilet paper, but it comes in handy and is very much appreciated!
Offer to help with other errands and tasks such as; taking the dog to the groomer, picking up children from school or activities, arranging childcare, driving to appointments, grocery shopping or watering the plants. When you offer try to be specific. For example, “I’m going to Whole Foods this afternoon, what can I pick up for you?”
Regardless of how much or what you do, your friend WILL appreciate you! Make sure they know that they do not need to write a note and you were just happy to help in a small way. Remember, a friend in need is a friend indeed!