Tuesday evening, Dec. 11, McCall’s Bronxwood funeral home held its 21st annual Christmas Party, which is offered free to the community. The venue was the Eastwood Manor Caterers in the Bronxwood. It was attended by 300+ residents, suppliers, rival funeral services, clergy, 47th Precinct officers and community movers and shakers—absolutely free of charge. The only request was that each person bring a toy for a child and make a contribution to UNCF (contribution envelopes were at each table).

The concept of a Christmas party grew from an intimate office party for 30 to 40 people to a much-heralded community event. The owners of McCall’s Bronxwood feel the funeral homes have a special relationship with their communities and give back in many ways, but most notably through the toy drive and scholarship fundraiser.

Patricia Myers, manager of McCall’s Bronxwood, emphasized the importance of the company’s seriousness of purpose when she introduced the New York regional director and a project coordinator from UNCF for a facts and statistics presentation covering the mission and the continuing need for strong, viable HBCUs. UNCF jackets, sweatshirts and umbrellas were door prizes.

Myers also mentioned the continuation of McCall’s Bronxwood’s $50,000 college scholarship pledge to five students at their Christmas gala two years ago and introduced one of the five recipients of that award attending the party. Owner James Alston emphasized that they had just completed the second year of fulfilling their pledge to all five.

Myers emphasized that the natural role of a funeral home is educating the consumer, but McCall’s Bronxwood carries it to a whole new level with seminars at churches and nursing homes, an online course available to anyone and her book, “Embracing the Teardrops.”

A fabulous time was had by all.