Comforting helps your population in four ways:
Blessing: Costs gold, but will increase your food supply. Success in escaping a disaster might lead to one additional Blessing.
Disaster Relief: Costs food, but will increase Loyalty by 5 and reduce Public Grievance by15.
Population Raising: Costs food but increase population, however the total amount will not exceed the population limit.
Praying: Costs gold and increases Loyalty by 25 and decreases Public Grievance by 5. Only praying gives the most meaningful prestige.