Hospital Food Gift
I want to give a gift to someone who is in the hospital. This should be something that the patient can offer to guests, as well as hospital staff. Can you think of anything besides chocolates? I want it to be something small that can be grabbed and eaten (no fruit baskets). I was thinking of a combination dried fruit, nuts and candy tray, but am concerned about the items not being individually wrapped or portioned out. Thanks for all suggestions.
I'm sorry I can't help with a source, but having a mother-in-law who is in and out of the hospital frequently (and who got a MERSA infection), I wouldn't touch any unwrapped food with a ten foot pole. It's not a good environment for food. If you do bring something, for sure make it something that has individually wrapped components (I know I've seen cookie/brownie gift baskets where they are individually wrapped, or some kind of trail mix/nut/dried fruit basket where they package 1oz individual portions).
Find out what the recipient can/can't eat. My step dad has some health problems that cause a suppressed immune system. When he is in the hospital, he isn't allow any outside food and no plants or flowers in the room.
Once that's covered, check with a local bakery to see if they will package cookies or muffins individually. You could also look at a specialty foods store with gift baskets. The foods wouldn't be individually wrapped, but they would be small enough to share with 2-3 people and not leave anything sitting around open for extended periods of time.
I've worked in hospitals, and we would be deluged with sweets during the holidays--so much so that we'd put away unopened boxes of stuff to last through Valentine's! That said, if you choose a basket of wrapped items, try to have some small packs of dried fruit or nuts (only if nuts are sealed, due to allergies). Nice of you to want to include staff, too!
After you check with the nursing staff to see if your friend has any dietary restriction, how about some pound cake? Have you got a store with a good bakery, or just a good bakery proper, around? A plain and a lemon and/or a blueberry is a nice selection. Half-slices, or full, sprinkled with powedered sugar and individually-wrapped, as in by you - if you want to dress it up you could buy the colored cellophane wrap, even if it leaves the carbon footprint of a Yeti. Or, if you bake, you could make the same thing starting with a plain base and adding flavors/ingredients to diversify it a little? Best to your friend.
I was in the hospital last year and received a basket of gourmet cookies, individually wrapped. They lasted quite a while, and I gave them to nurses and visitors now and then.