Union Cemetery offering direct cremation as low-cost option

    A grave at Union Cemetery is adorned with a cross, pinwheel, and flowers. (Photo by Jeff Platt)<p>{/p}

    Many people are unprepared for the loss of a loved one; especially when it comes to the cost. That problem is obvious here in Bakersfield where on any given weekend you can find at least one family hosting a car wash, panhandling, or promoting a GoFundMe to raise money for burial costs.

    It's an issue Union Historic Cemetery recognized and wanted to create a solution for.

    "In the community we're in not a lot of families have the funds to provide for an entire service; for a full body service," Griselda Hurtado, a spokesperson for the cemetery, said.

    Funeral and burial costs have continuously gone up in recent years. A burial can cost as much as $5,000 and a funeral can, too. That cost isn't for anything over-the-top, just a regular everyday service and burial.

    Union's solution to this issue is a "direct cremation." The cemetery has had the proper equipment on-site to perform cremations since 1966, but now that they have a funeral home license they can do it for customers and not just as a third-party contractor.

    The service costs $775 and includes transport of the body, storage, cremation, and a basic plastic urn for the ashes. It also covers the various state and local paperwork fees for body disposal.

    Since starting direct cremations in November the cemetery has already done 24 of them, demonstrating the need in the community.

    As a non-profit cemetery, Hurtado said they were driven to create an option for the community that would allow people take care of their loved ones without breaking the bank.

    "We see the families in need and we want to reach out and help them. we want ot make sure that every family knows we are here to help them in their time of grieving," she said.

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