Annual Celebration of HOPE set for Nov. 2

Written by Tami Scott | Submitted by HOPE for Bereaved

HOPE for Bereaved (HFB) is celebrating “40 Years of HOPE” at its annual Celebration of HOPE dinner set for Friday, Nov. 2 in the Nicholas J. Pirro OnCenter Ballroom. This year’s event is being held in loving memory of Mary T. Schoeneck, daughter of the not-for-profit’s founder Therese Schoeneck, and in honor of Wegmans. The evening kicks off a year of celebrating the 40th anniversary of providing comfort, compassion, and services to the bereaved of our local community and beyond.

Headquartered in Syracuse, HFB is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping grieving children, teens, and adults by providing core services such as support groups, counseling, and monthly newsletters — all free-of-charge. Proceeds from the annual dinner help provide these services; the organization does not receive annual institutional funding from any source.

“We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the Celebration,” wrote a 2017 attendee in a note to HFB. “It was a wonderful time with awesome silent and live auctions and dinner. What a great way to support HOPE and the much needed services they provide.”

HOPE’s mission

Like every mom who has grieved the death of their child, so has Therese Schoeneck.

Forty-one years ago on Aug. 21, her daughter Mary was killed in a car accident. She was just 21 years old.

“I didn’t think we would survive or ever be happy again,” said Schoeneck, recounting the past. “If there had been a support group anywhere in the state. I would have attended.”

But there were none.

She, her husband, David, and Mary’s brothers and sisters were forced to enter a new season, one of tragic loss, alone. And though the months ahead were rife with holiday cheer, the Schoenecks were struggling to find ways to cope with grief and carry on.

They did survive.

The following year, Schoeneck recalled the very difficult emotions and challenges she and her family faced as the holiday season approached. She decided to hold a meeting for other parents grieving the deaths of their children. The parents asked to meet again and HOPE was born.

“It is heartwarming to hear the bereaved reflect ‘how helpful, even life-saving,’ HOPE is,” Schoeneck said.

HFB’s goal this year is to expand its support, services and outreach to the bereaved with emphasis on helping grieving youth, and to financially solidify HOPE for decades to come.

Community chairs Jeffrey and Dorothy Booher and the Celebration of HOPE committee members have planned a special, fun-filled evening complete with a live and silent auction. Among the items to be auctioned live include seven days in Acapulco, an overnight stay at Mirbeau Inn & Spa, and a composite ruby and diamond pendant.

HOPE will continue to accept donated items or themed baskets for the silent auction. These items may be donated in honor or in memory of a loved one, and may include a short write-up and or photo. Items or baskets should be at least a $40 value, gift certificates a minimum of $25. Ideas include art, children’s items, home decor, holiday decorations, jewelry, sports and gift certificates for golf, hotels and restaurants.

For more information; to learn about sponsorship, table hosting, or advertising opportunities; or to join HOPE in celebration that evening, call (315) 475-4673 or visit to pay online.    

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