By Leader Editor Kara Apel

As many funeral directors are working tirelessly to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new initiative is promising to help “last responders” get the personal protective equipment that they need.

The Last Responders Awareness Initiative, a joint venture between Funeral Advocates of America and #GetUsPPE, promises to inform the public about just how vital it is for deathcare industry professionals to have access to PPE.

The initiative, which was launched at the beginning of May, aims to raise $250,000 to provide resources and equipment to funeral service companies nationwide.

“It is essential for the health care and death care industries to unify,” said Dr. Hari P. Close II, one of the co-founders of the initiative, in a news release. “Essentially, this is the first time that the death care industry has aligned with the medical industry to bring national attention to bridge the gap for all health care workers nationally, to provide the necessary protective equipment to help protect and save our dedicated professionals and colleagues’ lives.”

Funeral homes in need of PPE are encouraged to submit a request through the #GetUsPPE website.

How to Help Your Colleagues

If you are a funeral director, embalmer, or apprentice who is interested in volunteering within the areas most impacted by the pandemic, the National Funeral Directors Association will help connect you with a placement that matches both your experience level and the lengths you are willing to travel. The organization says that they are in constant contact with state associations and government agencies to provide them with the names of volunteers. So far, many of these agencies are preferring to reach out to volunteers directly.

NFDA noted in a news release that if your name is shared with an association or government agency, there could be a delay for the following reasons:

  • Your name was shared with a funeral home, but the owner has been so busy that they have not been able to reach out yet.
  • The state association or government agency managing volunteers may still be working through their lists and determining placements.
  • The government agency is gathering names in anticipation of an actual need.

The Funeral Service Foundation’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund is helping to reimburse volunteers for the additional expenses that are not covered by the agency they are working with.

If you are interested in volunteering, click here for more information. Questions about volunteering can be sent to

Those who are unable to volunteer are encouraged to donate to the Funeral Service Foundation’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund. Click here for more information.

Have any COVID-19-related information you’d like to share? Want to let others in the industry know how they can help you? Email us at

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