Compassionate Friends gains status, needs volunteers

Jul 10, 2014

Bereaved families that have experienced the death of a child now have an opportunity to meet on a regular basis with others who have endured similar tragedies.

The Compassionate Friends (TCF) of Western North Carolina, the newly-formed local chapter of a national self-help organization for families that have had a child die, holds monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month in the Dugan Classroom of Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Clyde.

“This area has needed a local bereavement organization where families can talk about their loss publicly without feeling out of place,” said John Chapman, the chapter leader. “After your child dies, no one wants to talk with you about your child probably because they are afraid of making you feel bad.  The irony is that talking about your child helps you — no one wants their child forgotten. And studies have proven that tears are an emotional release that helps you feel better.”

The Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit organization with more than 650 chapters in the United States, with locations in every state. Chapters welcome immediate family members to attend, including parents, grandparents and siblings.

The Western North Carolina chapter needs the participation and support of the entire community, especially those whom it is meant to serve.  Currently the chapter is recruiting someone to serve as treasurer, someone to help with Facebook and webpage creation and maintenance, someone to help with a monthly newsletter and individuals who will take leadership roles in this all-volunteer organization.

Members of the community who would like to support the group are encouraged to become involved by participating on the Advisory Committee that does not meet or have committees, but whose members understand the mission of TCF friends and commit to sharing information in their circles about this vital resource. Financial donations are most welcome to fund a lending library, to host community events that raise awareness and provide comfort to grieving families and to otherwise enable the group to function.

Most of all, the chapter would like to invite all individuals who have experienced the death of a child to its monthly meetings.  There is no pressure to participate but those who can often find peace, solace and understanding.

For more information about local chapter meetings, or to volunteer and make donations, call 356-6877 or email tcfofwnc@gmail.com.

The meetings at Long’s Chapel on the first Thursday of each month are held at 7 p.m.  Access to the classroom is most easily reached by parking in the rear of the church and entering the building across the elevated cement sidewalk that leads to the second floor room #210, which is the first door on the right.

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