SHAMOKIN, Pa. — One business that has remained constant during the COVID-19 pandemic is funeral homes. But with limits on gatherings, the grieving process has been much different over the past year.
"Bringing family and friends together is a big part of the grieving process, and it's been obviously cut and very difficult for families," said Andre Roupp, owner of Roupp Funeral Home in Mifflinburg.
Recently Roupp and his staff started offering ways for people to still have a presence at funeral services without being there in person. If family members want to, Roupp will stream the service live online.
"Family members, loved ones can watch live and also go back to our website and watch at a recorded time later," Roupp said.
Another new program is called "Hugs From Home." Loved ones who cannot attend are asked to go to Roupp's website and write condolences.
"What we will do is we handwrite those onto cards and place them on a table around a personalized candle so that the family can see these condolences and these people who are virtually supporting them and helping them with their grieving process," Hannah Troy said.
The family of the deceased is then able to take home the cards and candle.
"Have a picture of them there and light it and maybe have some personal time to grieve and remember their loved one," Troy said.
These services are free, and Roupp says they plan to continue them even after the pandemic.