Funeral Home Continues Special Holiday Tradition

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM EDT

KENMORE, N.Y (WKBW) Fourteen years ago, the Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Homes organized a special holiday remembrance service for individuals who had lost a loved-one.

The event was so successful that it has now become an annual part of the holiday season.

"This is one program that I would never cut," added John Dengler, funeral director.

Just shortly before Thanksgiving, funeral directors and other workers spent an evening putting together special gifts that will be handed out, along with candles and poinsettia plants, during three no-cost candlelight remembrance vigils throughout December.

"It brings peace, it brings joy, it brings tears," adds Beth Gerrish, a bereavement aftercare coordinator.

The funeral home invites up to 1,200 people to attend the vigils each year and they plan to give out 500 to 800 of the special gifts.

"I know we can't take away the grief but at least we can try and lighten the load during the holidays," commented funeral director Michael Pignatora.

This year, small angel ornaments were packed with a special note inside a bag filled with holiday ribbons.

For many of the employees, the vigil and gift-giving has become a part of their own holiday tradition.

"This is better than Christmas morning," said John Dengler.

"Oh my gosh, this is my holiday," added a tearful Beth Gerrish.

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