The Ultimate List of Things to Include in Care Packages for Grieving Loved Ones

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance, Memorialization | July 8, 2021

When someone is coping with the loss of a loved one, things like getting groceries can be daunting. To give them one less thing to worry about while grieving, you can create a care package. 

Care packages can include many things, from food and toiletries to memorial gifts and thoughtful cards. Ultimately, they’re a way to show you care and are there to support them however you can.


Below, you can get some ideas for what to include in your care packages for grieving loved ones. Whether it’s for a family member, friend, coworker, neighbor, or even a stranger, this list will help you build care packages that express your support when you’re at a loss for words. 


Save Those Who Are Grieving the Added Stress of Meal Planning 

One of the main things to include in your care packages is food. When you are grieving a loss, the last thing you want to worry about is making dinner. By including some easy-to-make meals and snacks, you can save them a trip to the grocery store and the stress of cooking. 

If you know the griever’s food likes and dislikes, you could create a more customized care package to their taste. But if you don’t, that’s okay too!  

Below are some simple food ideas: 

  • Canned soup 
  • Cereal 
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables  
  • Granola bars  
  • Homemade casserole 
  • Instant oatmeal 
  • Pasta kits 
  • Sandwich supplies  
  • Trail mix 
  • Water bottles 

If you’re mailing the care package, you may want to stick to the non-perishable items on this list.  


Help Those Who Are Grieving Practice Self-Care 

In addition to groceries, you also want to include self-care items. Now more than ever, it’s important that they continue to take care of themselves. You can help make this a little easier by giving them the supplies they need. 

Below are a few toiletry suggestions: 

  • Deodorant  
  • Floss  
  • Lip balm  
  • Lotion  
  • Mouth wash  
  • Shampoo and conditioner  
  • Soap  
  • Tissues 
  • Toilet paper  
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 

Depending on how many people are in their family, you may want to include multiples of these items, like multiple toothbrushes. 


Give Those Who are Grieving Something to Remember Their Loved One By 

Along with the necessities, you can include a keepsake to help them keep their loved one close. Even the smallest gifts can mean the world to those who are grieving a loss. 

Below are a couple of simple, yet thoughtful memorial gift ideas: 

  • Candle to light when they’re missing their loved one a little extra  
  • Journal for writing down their thoughts 
  • Packet of flower seeds to plant in their loved one’s honor  
  • Photo album to preserve memories of a loved one forever  
  • Picture frame for displaying their favorite photo of their loved one 

If the grieving family has children, these are a few gift ideas for kids: 

  • Book with a meaningful message about grief  
  • Chalk to allow them to express themselves  
  • Coloring book to give them a healthy outlet for their grief  
  • Craft kit to make a memento in honor of their loved one  
  • Stuffed animal to give them some comfort 

Depending on how close you are to the family, you could make your memorial gift more personalized. Otherwise, the suggestions above are still meaningful gestures to help them honor their loved one. 


Include Other Thoughtful Items in Your Care Packages 

To express your condolences, you can include a letter or card in your care package. This can be short or sweet or a longer message. For instance, if you knew the deceased well, you could share your favorite memory you have with them. This way, they can continue to learn about their loved one even after their passing. 

A letter or card is also a great opportunity to offer your support with errands and other tasks. For example, you can offer to mow their lawn or drop their children off at school. If they don’t already have your phone number, you can include that and any other ways to contact you. 


Follow These Best Practices for Delivering Your Care Packages 

If you plan on dropping off the care package, don’t just show up unannounced. Let them know that you have something to give them and would like to drop it off sometime. You also can offer to visit for a while if they’re up for some company. If not, you can simply leave it on their front step. 

Another option is to ship the care package to them. If you live farther away, this may be the best option. Just make sure to carefully wrap anything that may be breakable. 

Remember that care packages don’t have to be a one-time thing. Grief doesn’t end with the funeral, so your support shouldn’t either. You could send a care package every few months or however often you wish. Just make sure to not go overboard, so the grievers aren’t overwhelmed.  


What other items can you include in care packages for grieving loved ones? Share your ideas in the comments!

1 Comment


Susan Petriello

September 17, 2023

Have a neighbor young man who just lost his dad with whom he lived. You gave me some good ideas to include in my gift basket. Thank you.

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