LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. — For the last four years, every grave at Indiantown Gap Cemetery in Lebanon County has had a wreath placed on it for the holidays.
It's all thanks to Wreaths Across America.
“We need to thank them for their life, their service, their sacrifice," said Beth Sattizahn, volunteer location coordinator at Indiantown Gap Cemetery for Wreaths Across America.
The nonprofit collects donations and sponsorships which foot the bill for the more than 42,000 wreaths needed to cover all the grave sites at the cemetery in East Hanover Township.
But this year, that’s proving to be a harder task than normal.
“We’ve been slow this year," said Sattizahn. "Right now we have 17,000 wreaths and we need 42,500 wreaths to be able to place [one] at every headstone and the base of every columbarium.”
Volunteers were at Snitz Creek Brewery right next to the cemetery on Sunday afternoon, working to collect more donations.
Organizers believe wallets have tightened up, as the cost of pretty much everything has shot up.
“People have to decide if they want to put food on the table for their kids or fuel in their vehicles to go to work, so it’s been tough," said Sattizahn.
They're hoping people can dig deep this holiday season for something they say is so important for the fallen veterans and their families.
“This is our country," said Joel Costenbader, a volunteer with 39 With Honor, a group who raises money for a portion of Indiantown Gap Cemetery and supports Wreaths Across America. "Those ladies and gentlemen who are in that cemetery gave the ultimate sacrifice and we should honor them.”
“We need to remember those who stepped up and signed on that line," added Sattizahn.
There are only a couple more weeks left to sponsor a wreath in order to have them ready for the December wreath-laying ceremony.
“Whether or not we do have a wreath for every grave, we will say every name," said Sattizahn.
“There’s still hope," added Costenbader. "I think people do want to volunteer or give money for this kind of situation. If you can’t afford it, come out and lay some wreaths.”
It cost $15 to sponsor a wreath. The deadline is Nov. 28.
Monetary donations of all amounts are also accepted.
Wreath sponsorships can be made on the official Wreaths Across America website.
Checks can be made payable to "WAA" and can be sent to "Friends of WAA-IGNC", PO Box 51, Robesonia, PA 19551.
The wreath-laying ceremony at Indiantown Gap Cemetery will take place Dec. 17 at noon.
Wreaths will start to be laid on cemetery graves starting at 1:00 p.m.
Due to limited parking at the cemetery, parking for the ceremony will be nearby and buses will continuously shuttle guests to and from the cemetery.
Handicapped parking will be available at Memorial Lake State Park.
Questions or requests for more information can be directed to email@example.com or 717-219-7010.
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