MESA, AZ — Funeral home workers are considered essential workers, but they say not only do they feel exhausted but also forgotten.
A Mesa woman is trying to deliver some hope to these COVID-19 ‘last responders’ by collecting donations for care packages and showing them their work matters.
“My very good friend works in the funeral home community, she’s an embalmer and she was telling me how busy she was, and I said, ‘let me help,’” said Adrienne Trianno.
Trianno says after speaking to her friend she realized funeral home workers don’t usually have time for breaks and they sometimes must eat on the go, so she decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to make sure they have a snack or an energy drink with them.
“The only time they’re getting breaks is driving these bodies around when they’re in the hearse eating because they’re so extremely busy right now,” Trianno said.
However, Adrienne never expected to receive the large amount of support she’s been receiving from the community.
“I got energy drinks, vitamin water, water, vitamin C, just things that are really easy to eat on the go, protein packs, rice cakes,” Trianno said.
There’s no time for breaks when the number of deaths continues rising daily
Working in a funeral home has never been a 9 to 5 job, says Miguel Legaspi who owns a funeral home in Avondale.
But lately, workers have been spending more time at the funeral home than at their own homes, said Legaspi.
“You have staff members that are on call at night to pick up the deceased when someone passes away. They work so hard, you have no idea of the hours they’re putting in,” expressed Legaspi.
He says the climate is just unreal.
“I would say about 60 to 65% is COVID.”
According to Legaspi, their funeral home usually helps about 60 people a month, but now there are over 100. Mainly victims of the coronavirus.
“They barely sleep, they work late hours until 8 or 9 then they come early at 7. We do our best for lunch.”
Trianno hopes to deliver care packages soon to Legaspi’s funeral home. She says her goal is to deliver as many care packages as possible around the Valley, but also to remind the community why these workers matter.
“Because when we lose our loved ones, we want to give them a proper goodbye, to preserve their bodies to make them look the way we remember them, to be remembered in a special way and they’re getting forgotten about,” said Trianno.
If you would like to help this mission CLICK HERE.