A Place At The Table: A Cheer Box Dinner Plate For Richard McMeins

This year, EveryStep Grief & Loss Services' Amanda the Panda program delivered 557 Cheer Boxes to grieving individuals and families as they face the holidays without their loved ones.
Cheer Boxes contain 12 intentional gifts meant to help those grieving remember and honor their loved ones. One of those gifts is a simple white dinner plate and permanent marker.
A note with the plate bears this message: "It's often in little moments when we miss our loved ones the most. Please use this gift to create a special place for your loved on at the table."
Recipients are invited to decorate their plate in any manner they feel honors their loved one; or they can simply leave it plain.
The message and task hit home for Becky Brown, whose father Richard McMeins, an EveryStep Hospice patient, passed way in February. Becky and her mother Ila each received a Cheer Box this winter.
"It really meant a lot to us, to my mom," Becky, of Tingley, said. "We were just really surprised that we were though of at this time."
As for the Cheer Box contents, Becky says her mother has been especially partial to the panda bear. It sits on her bed and often receives loving hugs.
As for the plate, Becky, a crafter, took no time to use it as a piece to remember her father.
"I just liked the saying," she said. "It was plain and I knew I could paint something on there."
Using red, green and gold paint, in honor of her father's birthday on Christmas Day, Becky created an intricate flower display on the once simple plate.
The back of the plate includes her father's name and a circle of words that remind Becky of him.
"He was a Christian, he loved his country and he loved his family," Becky said. "I had the most wonderful father, and if you read the back of the plate you'll understand why."
The plate now sits in a special place at Becky's mother's dining room table.
"She's had a few nurses come in and notice, and gets a chance to talk about it," Becky said.
The experience with EveryStep Hospice and receiving a Cheer Box has made an impression on Becky and her family.
"They were there at every step, they really really helped us through that," she said. "The thoughtfulness of remembering us during this time. It was just nice."

Learn more about EveryStep Hospice and Amanda the Panda's Cheer Box program.