The sudden loss of child is always difficult, but rarely has it weighed so heavily on the country as it did in 2012 in great part because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in .
For 13 years, The Unforgettables Foundation has honored the hundreds of children lost throughout the previous year during the annual Lights for Little Lives event held on New Year’s Eve.
While the main focus of the event is to honor the local children whose families have received help from the foundation, anyone feeling the loss of a child or those who want to honor and remember a child who had died is invited to attend.
Lights for Little Lives features a dove release, a candlelight vigil and a walk. The names of the children are read aloud, especially by those whose families are helped by the foundation.
“This is the truest thing to our mission,” said Tim Evans, the foundation’s founder “This is for the families who are left behind. This event is very meaningful.”
Every year, dozens of families in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties must to struggle with the cost of burial services for a youngster. Evans, a former chaplain at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said he has seen families grief compounded by the inability to afford proper burial services.
No one is ever prepared to bury a child, Evans has said.
Through a network of local volunteers and funeral homes, these families are referred to The Unforgettables Foundation. The organization will provide money to cover a portion, if not all, of the cost, organizers said.
Two Lights for Little Lives events are planned.
The first is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The event is presented by the Coachella Valley chapter, based in Palm Desert. It begins at the Palm Desert Civic Center. In past years, the group has walked to Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
The second, and older event, is scheduled in Loma Linda also at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, New Year's Eve. That event begins at the Ronald McDonald House. After a brief ceremony, participants walk to Campus Hill Church near the Loma Linda University campus.
The Unforgettables Foundation began in Loma Linda, but is now based in Redlands. For more information, call (909) 335-1600 or (760) 8370-7373 or visit the foundations website.