Trudy Hofer, Administrative Assistant and Grief Services Coordinator at Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston, MN, completed a thoughtful service project on behalf of the funeral home. She and Bonnie Christians, along with help from Trudy’s three daughters, spent a few weeks volunteering their time and sewing skills to create 28 lap size quilts. They donated a quilt to each resident at the Center for Human Environment, a facility that provides housing and support for those with chronic alcoholism, mental illness, or developmental disabilities.
Trudy has had a spirit for giving particularly since her family was shown great kindness and compassion during her father’s difficult journey with prostate cancer. After his death, Trudy and her daughters began a goodwill operation of baking and selling cupcakes, called Cupcakes for Corky, in memory of her father, and they donate the proceeds to the Altru Cancer Center and Camp Good Mourning. Undoubtedly, Trudy’s benevolence positively affects Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home and the surrounding community. Trudy says, “I am always trying to think of new things to do on behalf of the funeral home for the community and the families we serve. I recently starting quilting for myself, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to work on my sewing skills and give something homemade to those in need.”
Mattson Funeral Home & Cremation Service has a special kind of tree outside their building this winter: a Warming Tree. Community members can stop by the tree and grab a bag that contains a hat and pair of gloves or mittens. The items were knitted by the members of the funeral home’s Busy Hands for Love knitting group, which meets at the funeral home once a month. The group is facilitated by Kelly Haus, Aftercare Coordinator at Mattson, and they have been meeting for over 15 years.
The funeral home posted information about the Warming Tree on their Facebook page, and they have replenished the tree several times in the past month. A local church donated “need” bags containing granola bars, socks, toothbrushes, etc. to put on the tree as well.
Jessica Dukich, one of the funeral directors at Mattson, got the idea while on a family vacation in Wisconsin, and she knew wanted to find a way to bring it to her own community. The staff at Mattson is always looking for ways to reach those in need and show they care. Funeral director Susan Hutchison says, “Not just as a funeral home, but more so as human beings, we feel it is our responsibility to look out for and care for others. Our community knows our hearts are genuine, and thus they willingly and lovingly entrust their loved ones to us.”
Since March 21, the individuals at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home & Cremation Services have been busy sewing protective masks for the current pandemic. They have received several requests from nursing homes, fire departments, and county emergency response teams, just to name a few. In addition, people often stop in to request a few masks for their families.
Karen Holte is the Office Manager at Glende-Nilson. She and Diane Grout, Office Manager at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home & Cremation Service, spearheaded this endeavor, but everyone at Glende-Nilson is getting involved in the mask production. Volunteers from the community have also joined, providing generous assistance during various steps of the process. Karen and Diane have already received over 345 yards of donated fabric, and contributions of fabric, thread, elastic, and other materials continue to pour in. Some community members have donated money for supplies as well.
Everyone has been incredibly grateful for the masks and appreciative of their work. So far, their efforts have resulted in over 3,000 masks produced and donated across the state. May 2020