Scott Frankel said he was discouraged that many families are losing loved ones and are unable to give them a proper burial or memorial service amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Frankel, who is the president of the Oceanside Sons of Italy chapter, said that once the ban on mass gatherings is lifted, the organization plans to offer its Rocky Marciano Lodge so that community members who lost a loved one could host ceremonies in their honor free of charge.
“One of the things that's really bothering me is all the people who are passing away and not getting a proper burial or memorial,” Frankel said. “Even if they're not a victim of Covid-19, their funerals and wakes are effected by it. Our board unanimously decided that when we get the 'all clear,' we will make the hall available for anyone who had a death in the family.”
Frankel said the plan will be to rent out the hall to families for two to three hours on Monday through Thursday once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Families will then have the opportunity to memorialize and celebrate the life of a loved one who died. Frankel noted that the person who died does not have to be a victim of the coronavirus, just someone who was unable to have a proper memorial because of the restrictions on social gatherings.
“It's just an idea I had,” he said. “It's bad enough that some of these people are just numbers, just melded into the number of victims. Let them have a proper memorial service.”
After closing for a $40,000 renovation, the lodge was re-opened in the fall of 2018 with a ribbon cutting and celebration.
Sons of Italy offers the 150-capacity event space to local schools and other community groups at little to no cost, and rents the venue for private parties, including Sweet 16s, bridal and baby showers, weddings and christenings. The organization also donates to various charities, such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. The hall had to close and cancel a lot of its events in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including sweet 16s, communions, confirmations and bar mitzvahs, Frankel said. On average, the hall costs about $700 to rent.
To book a date when the pandemic subsides, visit www.sonsofoceanside.com and click the hall rental tab to fill out a form.