How can I help these families without looking commercial.

Last night a tragic motor vehicle collision took the lives of five young men who were on the local high school football team. The driver of the other vehicle fled the scene and an investigation is underway.

I would like to provide a meal for each of the families but really do not want them to think of this as an advertising gimmick to get their business. How should I approach them?

Buy them a meal from another place - or even a competitor.

We’ve done this in the past and had no unintended fall-out. I simply sent a card with a handwritten note offering them a XX.XX credit to be used whenever they needed a break from meal planning.

We had no fan-fare over it, sought no publicity as that isn’t the message we were sending, instead it’s simply a way to let the family know that as part of the public, as a family ourselves, we share a very small part of the pain they are experiencing.

We don’t normally deliver, but did with this order as the family simply wasn’t ready for “public” yet.

I think it’s important to let them know that there is no expiration on the offer. We all know families in this situation will be covered under by food for weeks. Our particular family didn’t seek to use the offer for months.

You’re a good person for even thinking of doing it…don’t let the uncertainty of “how” stop you.

We have also done similar to deaconvolker. Several years ago one of my regulars went through a tragedy where the adopted son killed the mother. They were also good friends and neighbors of one of our start employees. We sent a gift certificate and card through a third party to avoid the appearance of trying to get positive attention out of the tragedy. They knew we cared and that was all that mattered.


Daddio I was thinking maybe the route of something like a Visa debit card from your bank that they could use anywhere…but the more I thought I think Deacon is right on here. Just send a note and explain that in these circumstances people start to forget themselves and eating is a big thing to keep up during this extremely hard time. You would like to offer them lunch or dinner to help with this all. Just call or stop by when they like. Also, the school is probably having something for the students and such. Maybe get together with other in town vendors to donate food and drink for that happening?

Just make the meals, take your shop garb off, get in an unmarked vehicle, put the pizza in your car, and take it to them. While you’re there, express your condolences, tell them who you are, and let them know you know that trying to figure out what’s for dinner that night is something they don’t have to think about tonight.

Just throwing this in too, leave the door hangars, coupons, box tops, menus, or any of that sort back at the shop.

Quite often in circumstances such as this, families get so much food they do not know what to do with it…Years ago when one of our neighbours kids was killed, the whole neighbourhood ate the food…

This is why the idea of a gift certificate with no expiry date is best. When the food is gone and everyone else has moved on with their lives it will be there. It may even be wise to wait to send the gift certificates so they don’t get lost in the ciaos.

I thought I read an article in PMQ years ago that interviewed a place in NY that provided food through local churches.If you know if they belong to a church or other group you might be able to approach them to pass the benefit along to the families.


I have decided the best way to go about this is to go through the football coach. He is a family friend and also the principal of the high school. I plan to give a gift certificate to each family with a hand written note. There will be no expiry date.

Thank you all for the input. When something like this strikes your community it is hard to think straight.