People don’t want to think of their own death. When you see an ad for pre-planning your own funeral or the funeral of the ones you love, something in us all spaces out and we move on to the next news article, or ad, or something….anything, really….rather than consider that we will need a grave someday. It is because of
this filter in our collective minds that Calumet Park Cemetery decided a couple of years ago that we would do something dramatic to prompt people to at least look into prearranging, if only to accept a free grave.
We have put full page ads in the paper, messages on the radio, leaflets, flyers and postcards sent directly to the masses, and usually with little response. Instead of spending thousands upon thousands of dollars with little or no response, we decided to give each family, on a pre-need basis, one grave worth $900 or a credit toward any grave space in the cemetery for the same amount. Last year alone we gave away over $17,000 of prime grave space as part of this program, which is a pre-need program.
Calumet Park Cemetery owns over 400 acres of land and after 83 years, all under the same owners and operated by the same families, only 150 acres have been developed for use. Given the fact that approximately 1800 graves fit into one acre of land, we literally have land for close to 600 years. So, we are land rich which is why we can give away grave space.
It is good business from our perspective when you expect that a husband and wife who love each other will want to be together forever, so if we give one grave away, it is hoped that we will get the purchase of the second grave at some time. What we are hoping to accomplish by giving away free graves is to build heritage at Calumet Park Cemetery. Families tend to go where those in their family who died before them went, so the more people who accept a free grave, the better. It is truly a win-win situation.
Since our setting up a great veteran appreciation program last year, we expanded the free grave program to include any and all honorably discharged veterans, at-need or pre-need, in the free grave program. It is worth a call to find out all that is included in this program as it saves the average family of a veteran over $4000 if they participate in the entire program which includes graves, opening/closing, vaults, caskets and funeral services along with free installation (including granite backer) of their government marker.
Finally, the last way of getting a free grave is if you intended to be cremated and take the ashes (cremains) home or scatter them. We have learned over the years that, for many individuals, scattering sounds like a good, romantic idea until they have a need to visit a grave site and there is no place to put a flower on father’s day or a birthday, or anniversary, or just because you miss the person. And for those who take the ashes home, there have been documented cases where a break-in results in the ashes being stolen, never to be found again. How disheartening!
So, Calumet Park Cemetery will offer one free grave to all families who use Calumet Park Funeral Chapel (funeral home) for their cremation. We have lowered our price for direct cremations to be pretty much equal to cremation society pricing and then we will give you one free grave that will allow two burials of cremains at no charge to you for the grave space.