Funeral directors across the country pride themselves in how much they give back to the community. And what better time to give back than the holiday season?
Take a look at these funeral homes helping to spread the holiday cheer this year.
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Keeping Veterans Warm
A funeral home in Kettering, Ohio, helped veterans combat the cold this November by participating in the nationwide Sweaters for Veterans program to help collect and donate winter wear for VA hospitals, VA homes, and other veteran service organizations.
Twenty-eight funeral homes in Connecticut have banded together to put on the annual Operation ELF drive. Operation ELF (embracing lonely families) collects donations of toys, gift cards, and other holiday goods. The donations are distributed to National Guard families who are deployed and won’t be home for the holidays. The program is in its 11th year, and last year the funeral homes distributed more than $10,000 in gift cards to military families.
Operation Toy Soldier
Similar to Operation ELF, Operation Toy Solider assists North Carolina military/National Guard families during the holiday season. According to the Salisbury Post, more than 5,000 toys have been collected this year. More than 600 military families also were invited to a free holiday lunch hosted by one North Carolina funeral home.
A Georgia funeral home partnered with a local meat market to donate more than 50 turkeys to families in need. The Thanksgiving turkeys were hand-delivered around the county as a way of giving back to the community.
A funeral director in Syracuse, New York, has held a bike giveaway for the past 21 years. The annual event, CNY Family Bicycle Giveaway has donated an estimated 35,000 bikes to children in need. The funeral director told Syracuse.com that his inspiration for the giveaway came from his youth, where he would ride out to the orphanage to share his bike with children who didn’t have one. The CNY Family Bicycle Giveaway’s promise is that every child would be able to have their own bike.
Wreaths Across America
Funeral homes across the country are participating in the Wreaths Across America program. The National Wreaths Across America Day takes place on December 17th and is designed to make sure that even though some veterans are gone, they will never be forgotten. For just $15, families can sponsor a wreath to be placed over a veteran’s grave.
A funeral home in Troy, Michigan, is helping families this holiday season by hosting a “Coping with the Holidays” event for families. The free event will feature a psychiatrist as well as a grief and bereavement expert to help guide families through holiday loss.
How You Can Help
Is your funeral home looking to help contribute to the holiday spirit this season? Here are some ways to get involved:
- Host a remembrance program. A holiday memorial program is a great way to bring the community together and honor the lives of those we lost. For families, it’s a way for them to heal over the holidays and incorporate new traditions after their loss. (Need tips for planning the perfect program? Download our free step-by-step guide.)
- Put up a holiday display. A festive display of lights and other decorations is sure to get the holiday spirit flowing. Invite families to stop by to see the display and offer them hot chocolate to keep them warm.
- Sponsor a charity drive. Like the examples above, a charity event is a good way to give back this holiday season. You can choose a specific focus to help certain people, such as clothes for the homeless or toys for families in need.
- Have a community dinner and movie night. Invite community members out for a warm meal and a showing of a classic Christmas movie.
- Give families a meaningful remembrance gift. A memento is a small gesture that shows families you care and helps them keep the spirit of a loved one alive during the holiday season. (Looking for something unique to give? Request a free sample of our custom crystal and glass memorial ornaments!)
How is your funeral home getting into the holiday spirit? Let us know in the comments below!