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Elgin Street Mission to hold memorial service for victims of opioid crisis


As vehicles drive through the busy Paris/Brady streets intersection, the Crosses for Change is a stark reminder of the community’s drug crisis.

The more than 270 crosses represent individuals who died of an opioid overdose in the past several years.

Because of the great loss throughout the community, the Elgin Street Mission is holding its first memorial service to honour and remember those who’ve died of opioid overdoses.

“There’s more and more crosses every week and so I think that, especially with our community, there is a lot of loss,” said director/chaplain Amanda Robichaud.

“Because of the challenges that our guests face, there is a lot of collective loss.”

The service will be held in the public space at Tom Davies Square on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Robichaud said everyone is welcome.

To honour and remember the many lives lost to the opioid crisis, the Elgin Street Mission is planning its first memorial service this Friday at Sudbury city hall. (Angela Gemmill/CTV News)

Guest speakers will include local funeral director and motivational speaker Gerry Lougheed Jr., as well as Denise Sandul, who started the Cross for Change in 2020 after her son, Myles Keaney, died of an overdose.

“We’re going to be able to give physical hugs to one another, and they’ll know that they’re not alone – which I think is most important to people especially at a bereaved or blue Christmas,” Lougheed said.

“And then, perhaps most important, we’re going to identify that these people were loved and that they’re not forgotten. If there’s one thing that moms and dads have told me through my work is that they want to make sure that name, that relationship, is maintained.”

Robichaud said many within the Elgin Street Mission community have experienced a great deal of loss.

“We wanted to do something special for our guests. It’s especially hard for them at Christmas and so we acknowledge that with them,” Robichaud said.

“We want to celebrate and do something a little more somber, and just honour those who have kind of gone before us.”

 “We see those white crosses on a daily basis and they represent people. They represent sons and daughters, family members,” Lougheed said.

“So we thought it would be very important at this time – advent season, Christmas season – that we as a community gather to remember those people and to support their families.” Top Stories

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