Michael McBride loved Christmas. He loved the train sets and setting out food for the reindeer.
So when his family was tasked with creating a memorial basket in his honor, they decided to give it a Christmas theme. The Christmas basket is one of several memorial baskets made by families in memory of lost loved ones that will be auctioned at Hope for Bereaved’s anniversary dinner, Friday, Nov. 7, at the OnCenter.
“It helps people with their grief journey. It helps them to be able to say, ‘You know what, it’s been five years, but this person is still so important to me,’” said Margie Schoeneck Nye, the event chair for Hope for Bereaved.
Hope for Bereaved is a 36-year-old organization that provides free grief counseling and support to those who have lost a loved one. The dinner is one of the organization’s primary fundraisers.
Hope for Bereaved was founded by Nye’s mother, Therese Schoeneck, in 1978 after her other daughter, Mary, died in a car accident. Fifteen months after the accident, Schoeneck was looking for ways to cope with the holidays. She connected with other grieving families, which helped them all to face the difficulties the holidays present. It was from these interactions and this small support group, Nye said, that her mother got the idea for Hope for Bereaved.
The turnout at last year’s event was record-breaking, and Nye said she hopes they’ll have at least 400 people in attendance this year.
In addition to dinner, the event will feature live music, a money booth, a magician and live and silent auctions of more than 300 items.
Though Hope for Bereaved is an organization centered around dealing with one’s grief, the Celebration of HOPE dinner isn’t a sad occasion, Nye said.
“We are really celebrating the lives of the people that we’ve helped,” she said.