Tree of Lights event helps grieving families during holiday season

The holidays can be a difficult time for family members grieving a loved one. Essentia Health is honoring those who have passed with a Tree of Lights event, that also serves as a fundraiser to support Grief Support Services at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. The annual event will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3 in the hospital’s auditorium, located at 407 East Third Street, on the second floor.

“The Tree of Lights program is a wonderful time to reflect on loved ones, and remember, honor, or thank those that have made an impact in our lives,” says Kaci Talbot, who coordinates volunteer and hospital auxiliary services.

The event includes music, refreshments, the Tree of Lights essay winners and a message of hope for those who are grieving and the people who support them.

“My favorite part of the Tree of Lights program is the reading of the essays written by local fourth grade students,” Talbot adds. “Their essays about a loved one that they would like to remember, honor, or thank always are so insightful and emotional.”

Tree of Lights donations help provide free grief support groups for children, teens and adults. Funds are also used to provide printed grief literature, Gabriel’s Gifts for bereaved parents, person-to-person peer support, a grief resource library and crisis/educational outreach within local schools and communities. In addition, St. Mary’s Grief Support Services provides individual and family therapy for those impacted by serious illness or who are grieving the death of a loved one.

To contribute, pick up a donation card at one of the information desks in downtown Duluth campus buildings or contact Volunteer Services at (218) 786-4420 or

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