When your grandparents pass away, it can often be overwhelming for your parents to deal with the practicalities of organising food for the shiva. If this is your first shiva and you are looking for some tips to help manage the catering, here are some tips that might be of use.
Nominate a shiva coordinator
If not everybody can be available for the shiva, then nominate one person on the ground to be the main contact so there is no confusion over items arriving and people do not need to juggle mobile phone calls during this difficult time. This can be a family member or friend, but your synagogue may also be able to nominate a volunteer or a local service that could also supply a contact.
Find a shiva catering company
The sharing of food is an important aspect of shiva in the Australian Jewish culture. While you can expect most visitors to bring some food, in order to have a balanced selection of food on offer, and not need to spend all day cooking, a shiva catering company can be ideal. They can ensure that you have a range of food available through the day which can be left out for people to eat, such as sandwiches, cookies and nuts. Using paper plates and cups can cut down on washing, but the catering company may also organise hired crockery they can take away dirty so you don't have to clean for days after.
When you contact the company, it can help to let them know how long you will be sitting shiva, how many people you may be expecting and whether the entire meal services needs to be kosher or simply a few kosher options on offer.
It can be nice for the family to also have some of your grandparent's favourite food on offer -- so if Grandma loved her rugelach you could offer a plate of rugelach for people to share while they swap memories.
Don't forget the drinks
If you are having a lot of visitors, especially in the Australia summer, you'll need to have range of drinks on hand. The catering company may be able to order a coffee urn or similar so you can offer hot drinks to people, and a selection of juice boxes can be useful if there will also be children visiting.
Having an experienced catering company, such as Bookacook Mobile Catering, can lower the stress on the mourning family during this tricky time.