FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The holiday season is particularly difficult for those who have lost a loved one, especially those who have lost family members to homicides. A Fort Wayne organization is working to help families find joy this holiday.
“Death is a part of life and something that we all deal with but this is different,” said Rev. Angelo Mante, founder of Alive Community Outreach. “Having that empty seat and knowing that someone did this, that this didn’t have to happen, this shouldn’t have happened makes it extra difficult for families so we just try to help.”
Alive Community Outreach is a faith-based nonprofit focused on building direct, supportive relationships with families affected by homicide and connecting them with services and resources in the community. The group was founded by Rev. Mante whose cousin was shot and killed in Fort Wayne. Over the years the group has grown offering a wide array of programs including a monthly support group for families.
“If they want to talk, they can talk. And if they don’t, they can just listen,” said Cynthia Gardner, family support coordinator. “We want to support families and know they are not alone. I lost my son three years ago here in the city, and I just want to be able to help others, encourage them and help them take one day at a time.”
Along with the monthly support group, the organization also helps cover other needs the family might have.
This year 61 families will receive vouchers for food this holiday season and the group also gives Christmas gifts to children who have been impacted by homicide. On Dec. 19, families can come and pick up their items and have a time of “encouragement and hope.”
For those struggling with grief, both Mante and Gardner say to surround yourself with family and take it one day at a time. If you don’t have someone to be with they encourage you to reach out.
For those who want to learn more about Alive Community Outreach or would like to participate in events and support groups, reach out to the organization online or reach out to Rev. Angelo Mante at 260-305-0507.