My mom was giving directions to my nephew Daniel who was going to visit for the first time in her new home.

“You come to the front door of the apartment. I am in apartment 301. There is a big panel at the front door. With your elbow, push button 301. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow, push 3. When you get out, I’m on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell.”

“Grandma, that sounds easy, but, why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?”

“What…you’re coming empty handed?”

It is nice to open the front door and welcome guests bearing gifts, isn’t it? Perhaps they’ve brought wine, or flowers, or a culinary creation for an upcoming meal, or maybe they have chocolates that they don’t expect you to share.

No, wait – best of all is when visitors come bearing food PERIOD.

I’m talking about those kind friends, family, and neighbours who genuinely want to offer their support when you’re coping with some of life’s daunting challenges like grief or a serious illness.

(You know those times when showering, dressing, sitting up, and talking feel like an Olympic sport; those times when you’re just too exhausted and overwhelmed to figure out what to do next?)

These are the wonderful visitors that call about a visit and warm your heart with words such as, “And I’ll bring the treats – we’ll make tea together.” How brilliantly kind is that?

Here are a few other truly sensitive and generous lines:

  • “How about I pick you up and we go out for coffee and a short visit?”
  • “I made some soup that I’d like to bring over. Are you up for a 10 minute visit sometime today or tomorrow?”
  • “I stopped by the bakery and got you a chocolate croissant – I’m leaving it in the mailbox. I’ll call you later.”

What’s that one easy step to being a kind visitor to someone who needs encouragement, distraction, or some semblance of normality in their life right now? Take them food.


Consider taking your friend or neighbour something to eat and share, be it fruit, cheese and crackers, baked goods, sandwiches, etc. If you let them know ahead of time, they won’t spend any energy or time worrying about preparing snacks for the visit.

Some of the nicest people bring things like frozen soups or muffins that can be nuked in the microwave on those really difficult days.

It’s kind; really kind.

You certainly won’t be empty handed if you arrive for a visit with a staple such as oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They freeze well for times when a cookie is the perfect comfort food, or unexpected visitors arrive.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
¼ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup boiling water
2 cups large flake rolled oats
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Beat the first 5 ingredients until light and fluffy. Mix baking soda and boiling water together; add to mixture. Blend in rolled oats, salt, flour, and the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, and flatten slightly with a fork dipped in cold water.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Written by Wendy Kurchak B.Ed., CT, AHPCA member.

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