For Immediate Release: April 11, 2020
Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has called up its first volunteers to lend on-the-ground assistance in some of the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus far, more than 600 members of the funeral profession, from licensed funeral directors to students and apprentices, have expressed a willingness to help their colleagues in need. NFDA has called up the following:
- On April 8, the names of eight licensed funeral directors from the state of New York were provided to the New York State Funeral Directors Association (NYSFDA), which is managing requests for assistance from funeral homes in the New York City area.
- On April 9, the names of 115 students and apprentices were sent to the New York City Office of Emergency Management to help hospitals ensure decedents in their custody are treated respectfully until funeral homes conduct transfers.
- On April 10, the names of 23 volunteers – 16 licensed funeral directors from New Jersey and 7 students and apprentices – were forwarded to the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, which is managing requests for assistance from funeral homes.
- On April 10, NFDA sent the names of 15 volunteers from the state of Michigan to the Michigan Funeral Directors Association, which is managing requests for help from funeral homes.
On April 9, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted temporary license reciprocity to out-of-state funeral directors, paving the way for NFDA to send the names of 100 additional volunteers to NYSFDA in the coming days.
NFDA continues to work with the National Governors Association on a comprehensive license reciprocity solution, which will enable it to quickly respond to requests for assistance from state funeral associations in the days and weeks to come.
NFDA is grateful to the Funeral Service Foundation and its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, which is reimbursing expenses incurred during their service (e.g., transportation, lodging and meals) that are not covered by any other funder or agency
“Those who care for the dead in hot spots – funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories – have been stretched to their limits,” said NFDA President R. Bryant Hightower Jr., CFSP. “They are facing an unprecedented situation – caring for the many people who are dying due to coronavirus in addition to all of the deaths from other causes. I am grateful to the funeral professionals who are able to leave their funeral homes to help colleagues in need. If you are like me and unable to serve as a volunteer, I ask you to join me in keeping our volunteers in your thoughts and prayers.”
He continued, “Regardless of whether you have cared for victims of the pandemic, we are all facing challenges. From limiting attendance at funeral services to taking extra precautions to ensure we’re keeping families, our staff and our communities safe – we’ve all had to make significant adjustments in a very short period of time. As someone in the trenches with you, I am very appreciative of your efforts during this difficult time.”
NFDA is still adding names to its roster of volunteers in anticipation of other hot spots emerging in the days and weeks to come. Funeral service professionals willing to volunteer can fill out a form on the NFDA website, https://www.nfda.org/covid-19/help-needed. The form asks potential volunteers to be as specific as possible with the kind of assistance and expertise they can offer. (Funeral service professionals who have already submitted their name do not need to provide their information again.) Questions about volunteering can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Funeral Service Foundation created a fund to respond to the COVID-19 situation. The COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund has two pillars of support: emergency assistance and grief support. Designed to be flexible, the fund will provide grants for immediate needs within funeral service including emergency response to significant loss of life; grants to organizations providing services and resources to families with unresolved and complicated grief due to loss during this crisis; and grants for other important needs as funeral service continues to serve families during this rapidly evolving crisis. For more information or to make a contribution to this Fund, visit www.funeralservicefoundation.org.
NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.
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Contact: Jessica Koth, 262-814-1536, email@example.com