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The Mecklenburg Co. group helped people in need pay for funeral costs

By on September 29, 2021 0

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Death isn’t something we really talk about with our loved ones.

It’s not something none of us can really prepare for, but many people have been affected by it during this pandemic.

So many people have died from COVID that it has actually reduced the average life expectancy of Americans. In fact, it is the biggest drop in life expectancy since World War II.

But beyond the numbers, it’s emotional. With COVID, it’s frustrating. It can be shocking.

And while you are in mourning and in pain, you also receive a big bill.

The average cost of a funeral is $ 7,000 to $ 12,000.

So, it puts a lot of families in a tough spot, especially when they lose someone so unexpectedly.

That’s why a local charity stepped in to help. Catholic Charities helps pay for funeral services for residents of Mecklenburg County. They don’t have to be Catholics. They just need to be a resident of Mecklenburg County.

And unfortunately, they have been busy. In the past year, they have served nearly double the number of families due to deaths from COVID.

They could use your help to meet the demand.

On Your Side Tonight shows the difference their work makes.

Sandy Buck 0:00 “Most people have lost loved ones,” said Sandy Buck of Catholic Charities Dioceses of Charlotte. “It’s a very stressful time. You are in mourning.

If you have the added stress of not being able to afford a funeral that can cost you $ 10,000 or more, that only adds to the pressure and stress you are feeling at a very difficult time.

The Funeral Assistance Program is a service offered to families who cannot afford a full burial in the event of the loss of a loved one.

“So this is really a collaboration between Catholic Charities, a group of area funeral homes and the Charlotte City Cemetery, where we provide burial and cremation assistance services at a greatly discounted rate.” Buck said.

So far this year, Catholic Charities Dioceses of Charlotte has collaborated with approximately 70 funeral services.

“I think we’ve seen a slight increase,” Buck said. “We believe this is due to COVID. (It) could be that there have been more losses due to COVID or that the financial impact of COVID has drawn more people to services because they are in financial difficulty right now. “

Buck says the majority of the people they have served are not Catholics.

“We do this work because we are Catholics,” Buck said. “And it is a fundamental work of mercy in the Catholic Church to give a dignified burial to the dead. This is important because we believe in the inherent dignity of every human being as God’s creation, and it includes a dignified burial after someone’s death.

Sylvia Sekle says the Catholic Dioceses of Charlotte’s funeral assistance program is fulfilling and brings her peace. Sekle started with the Catholic Charitable Dioceses of Charlotte a few years ago as an intern.

She is now the Direct Assistance Coordinator, manages the pantry and works with other direct assistance programs.

And she’s also above the burial assistance program.

“I love doing it,” Sekle said. “And let people know, just know that we can provide their loved ones with a dignified funeral. That’s what we’re here to do.

“She is very compassionate and understands that when people come in they mourn the loss of a loved one,” Buck said. “And a lot of people find it hard to ask for help. And she makes them feel very comfortable when they come in.

Sekle says she understands the financial struggle.

She was a refugee. She came to America from Liberia.

“I know even these people say this is the land of opportunity, but not everyone has had it,” Sekle said. “So when they sit down in front of me, the first thing I see for myself is that I’ve been there. I have been on a road in an error, or something may happen. It can put someone in a position that the person is in.

Sekle says the main reason for the program is that grieving families can say goodbye to loved ones in a dignified manner.

“It gives my clients the opportunity to provide a dignified funeral for their loved ones,” Sekle said. “It gives me peace.”

This program relies on donations from people like you.

If you want to know more or do, visit the site here.

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