Memory Boxes Program
Hospice Northwest’s Memory Box Program was born from a desire to help lessen the grief of bereaved family members as they leave the hospital or long term care facility with their loved one's belongings. Often, the deceased person’s clothing and personal items are placed in garbage bags before being handed over to the family by the facilities’ staff. This practice can feel particularly hurtful to people already overcome with emotion, and in recognition of this, a program was started at Hospice Northwest to create and offer decorated boxes as an alternative.
Hospice Northwest began the program in 2009, modeling it after a similar program at the Hospice Palliative Care Unit in St. Joseph’s Hospital, with the aim to provide boxes to all the long term care facilities and the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital. Several of the Regional offices decided to become involved in the program as well.
The Memory Boxes are tastefully covered in fabric or wallpaper and have a poem and some grief counseling information inside the lid. The boxes are meant as a small gesture of kindness, and a way to show respect to the memory of the deceased person. They are prepared entirely from donated materials, and created through collaboration with several other community organizations such as church groups, craft groups and adult day programs. Thanks especially to the Catholic Women’s League and the Anglican Church Women for their ongoing support of this worthwhile program.
If you are interested in donating materials or helping with the creation of the boxes, please contact Terri Kannegiesser, Volunteer Coordinator at (807) 626-5572 or email her at terri(at)hospicenorthwest(dot)ca
Our Memory Boxes are also available to the general public. Please feel free to drop in to our office to pick one up at no charge.