Charity helps bury the poor

Good News Notes:

When she took a job at a cemetery near Toledo, Dorene Sherman knew little about pre-planning for death.

‘I saw so many people coming in thinking the grave site was all they needed,’ she said, explaining that there are often overlooked fees for opening up and closing the grave. ‘I quickly learned how expensive it was.’

One of her more vivid memories is of a 2-year-old child buried without a tombstone or marker, which the child’s grandmother could not afford.

When the lifelong mental health advocate moved with her son to Akron a few years ago, she brought with her a passion for helping poor, grieving families. In 2017, she founded the Final Farewell Project, which has since helped 24 indigent people ‘leave this life with dignity and respect.’

The organization provides each family with $700 to $800 to help cover the cost of a cremation or burial.

‘It’s my way of ensuring that something is out there so that people do not have to sit on a shelf in a morgue somewhere because there was no family or next of kin to claim their remains,’ she said.

Her charitable organization has doubled its budget to $10,000 while adding prominent board members over the past three years, including funeral home directors, the mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, local judges, community advocates, an Akron school board member and the head of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Board.

On Friday, the group launched a one-week online auction to raise money this year in lieu of an annual dinner. Items can be bid on at with a livestreamed announcement of winning bids scheduled for Aug. 20.”

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