LDS Funeral and Meal Planning

Funeral family meal planning is something many Relief Society Presidents
may have to organize without ever actually having planned a such a gathering
before! Here is a list of items that our RS President has used
for planning funerals in our unit that may help you with planning:

Relief Society President's Family Funeral Luncheon Planning Checklist

  1. Call the family to find out the time and place of the funeral, estimated time of the luncheon, and rough estimate of how many family members will be eating.
  2. Get a phone number from the family of a family member or other person (possibly the funeral director) who would not mind getting a cell phone call in case the servers need to locate or contact the family on the day of the funeral and luncheon.
  3. Call the agent ward/branch/stake building scheduler (often the activities chairperson, but call the bishop, if unsure ) and reserve the building. Be sure to reserve enough time for set up, a leisurely meal, and clean up. Funeral preparations take precedence over other uses of the building.
  4. Call the Stake PFR (Physical Facilities Representative) to give him the date and time of the funeral and luncheon. He'll contact the FM Group (Facilities Management Group) to make sure the building will be clear of any repairs or major cleaning projects.
  5. Call the Unit PFR (Physical Facilities Representative) to ensure the building will be cleaned before the funeral (especially the location of the meal, the kitchen, and the bathrooms).
  6. Call the Activities Committee Chairperson to make sure there are enough paper products in the paper closet.
  7. Call the High Priest Group Leader with instructions to set up #_____of tables and #_____of chairs to each table by__________(time). (8 People can comfortably sit at the round or rectangular tables.)
  8. Consult the Compassionate Service Leader(s) to plan the following:
    • Decide menu and amount needed of each item. (See the Sample menu.)
    • Call people to make assignments (or if there is time you can pass around an assignment sheet in Relief Society, Primary, Nursery, Library and Young Womens) - Tell them the time and place to deliver their food. You'll need:
      • help with set up (tablecloths/paper, serving tables, food placement, beverage preparation),
      • help to receive the food (use a tape and marker to write a name on each tray),
      • help to serve the food,
      • help with clean up, and
      • help to return empty dishes after the funeral.
    • Call people that can help on the day of the luncheon:
      • Remind them of time to be there (at least 30 minutes before family arrives to avoid any distracting rushing about).
      • Remind them to label their utensils or dishes
      • Remind them of any other assignments (knives, etc).
    • Take a list of people bringing the food to the kitchen before the luncheon.
  9. Purchase and cook the meat. Unit pays for it out of the General Account.

Items Needed

  • From the Library:
    • Scissors (a myriad of uses, possibly to cut paper for tables)
    • Tape and marker to label any unmarked dishes, pans, or serving utensils
  • From the paper supply closet:
    • paper to cover the tables
    • large and small plates
    • napkins
    • plastic utensils
    • plastic cups
  • Bring from home:
    • Keys (main door, library, paper closet, Relief Society closets, and kitchen)
    • Cookie sheets (use to carry leftover food to cars)
    • Aprons
    • Dish towels, wash cloths, and dish soap
    • Unit phone directory (in case you need more help or someone forgets to show)
    • Aluminum foil, Saran Wrap, Ziplock bags (quart and gallon), disposable foil containers (to distribute any extra food)
    • Small Serving Spatulas (to scoop and serve desserts)
    • Sharp kitchen knives (since many units do not allow knives to be stored at church)

Sample Family Meal Menu

  • Meat: Ham 1 feeds 10 to 12 people/Roast/Turkey
  • Funeral Potatoes: 9x13 feeds 12 to 15 people
  • Salads:
    • Bagged Green Salad (add tomatoes and cucumbers; 2 lbs will probably feed 12-15) and Dressing (Thousand Island, Ranch, Catalina and Italian are popular)
    • Jello: 9x13 salad feeds 12-15 people
    • Pasta
  • Fruits (cut watermelon, seedless grapes, honeydew melon, strawberries, and cantaloupe in season)
  • Veggie trays and dips
  • Potato chips
  • Rolls and butter
  • Beverages:
    • Ice Water (buy bagged crushed ice)
    • Kool-aid (bring sugar and measuring cup)
  • Desserts
    • Cakes (Cut into 24 slices per 9x13 pan)
    • Cookies

Funeral Luncheon Hostess Instructions

    Estimated start time of luncheon: _____________

    Number of people expected: ____________

    Family member or Funeral Director's phone number: ___________

    Family member or Funeral Director's cell phone number: ______________

     

    Server
    Names
    Home
    Phone Number
    Cell
    Phone Number
    1. 2.     3. 4.     5. 6.     7. 8.     9. 10.    

    Setup:

  1. Turn on the heat or air conditioning if needed.
  2. As each food item is delivered - make sure to put tape and the sister's name on each tray.
  3. Cover tables with paper.
  4. Set salt and pepper shakers at the end of each table.
  5. Place empty cups at each place setting.
  6. Cut butter sticks in half and place on small paper plates. Two per table.
  7. Use plants and flowers from the funeral for center pieces if they are available.
  8. Set up two long tables for serving food and cover them with paper.
  9. Place the large paper plates at the beginning of the serving line.
  10. Set out 3 lined baskets for the utensils at the end of the serving line.
  11. Set out the napkins at the end of the serving line.
  12. Set out 1 to 2 big garbage cans with liners (near the exit to the dining area but as far from the serving area as possible).
  13. Set up one long table for desserts. Cover it with paper.
  14. Be sure you have contact numbers for the family and stake/ward/branch leaders in case of emergency.

Just Before the Family Arrives:

  1. Place ice in each pitcher, fill with water and place 2 to a table.
  2. Cut the desserts into small servings, place on small paper plates, and place onto the Dessert Table.
  3. Place food (with serving utensils) onto the table.
  4. Place the meat at the very end of the tables (next to the silverware and napkins).

During the Luncheon:

  1. Check to make sure the water pitchers are full.
  2. Refill (if have more in the kitchen) the food on the Serving and Dessert Tables.

Clean Up:

  1. Wash dishes.
  2. Put tables and chairs away.
  3. Sweep gym and kitchen floors (Wipe up any spills).
  4. Vacuum hallways.
  5. Take trash to the outside dumpsters.
  6. Ensure all lights are turned off, bathrooms are clean, and building is locked up.
  7. Return dishes and utensils to owners.

Any Comments or Suggestions please write on the back:

  • Such as was there enough food? Too much?
  • Please return this paper to the Compassionate Service Leader or the Relief Society President.

Always remember to thank everyone for their help!!!!!!!!!

Funeral Potatoes: A Mormon Tradition

If the family or the deceased are from Utah, they are probably expecting funeral potatoes to be served during the family meal. This comfort food has many variations, and here are some links to a few recipes:

Other LDS Funeral Information

  • LDS Burial Help and Funeral Planning - has sample funeral programs, obituaries, procedures, where to buy burial clothing, and much more.
  • Comforting the Grieving - has a list of things NOT TO SAY and THINGS TO SAY to those grieving. Also has some interesting information on how active listening helps those grieving relieve their suffering.

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8 Comments

Lisa Whittaker's picture

in our little branch we all

in our little branch we all pitch in and have a lovely buffet set up for the family and guests. I think we have everything listed up there plus some. A little effort from everybody adds up! We are in Ohio and we pay for it all and do it all, but it all turns out nice.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for this wonderful

Thank you for this wonderful information. We are in the process of starting a ministry the bereaved, and this is well stated, thorough and very clear. Kudos to you and your team for pulling this together, and for the work you do!

Izy Moe's picture

 

 

Something new that we did recently is something I wish I had though of before...our organ is a "self-playing" organ.  Before the visitation (if there is to be one), we turn the organ on, and start it playing softly.  We then pipe the music into the visitation room and turn the volume down a bit.  It provides soft music that can help create a spirit of reverence for the family and freinds.

Another something nice that our ward has done that has added a very nice and warm touch is to add lamps!!

If there is to be a visitation room or a viewing, we put three table-top lamps in the room (in the form of a triangle).  We usually use the RS room for this and will put a lamp on the piano, and then cover two of the small classroom tables with white cloths and place a lamp on each table.  Of course the Kleenex boxes and freshly lined trash cans are around the room.

While the family is at the internment or inurnment, we take down the RS room and move those same lamps and small tables into the cultural hall where the luncheon will be served.  Cultural halls can seem very "hollow" and somewhat austere, but the soft glow of lamp light in the corners of the room (or whevever) can add something "homey" and help soothe aching hearts.  

If possible, we gather photos of the deceased before the funeral and put them in inexpensive frames to place on the lamp tables.  Again, Kleenex and trash cans are around the room.

One last thought...we add after-dinner mints to each table in a nice candy dish (we keep those dishes in our RS closet for occassions like this).