The Primavera Foundation is hosting an annual National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on Friday at the county’s section for the poor at Evergreen Cemetery.
The Dec. 21 service is open to the public and will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the west end of the cemetery at 3015 N. Oracle Road.
The nonprofit foundation works to provide jobs and affordable housing to the poor, and it supports projects to revitalize neighborhoods.
It is joining more than 150 cities and counties across the country to commemorate those who have died on the streets, organizers said.
“We will honor those who have died this year while experiencing poverty and homelessness, and we will recognize that to prevent such deaths in the future we must work to ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable housing, which is a basic human right,” said Peggy Hutchison, chief executive officer of the foundation.
The service will include live music, reflections, readings and presentations by religious leaders, people who were once homeless, government officials and homeless advocates.
The county’s cemetery for the indigent includes homeless people who die in the streets and illegal immigrants who die crossing the desert. In 2013, granite headstones or crosses marked about 4,000 graves that are defined neatly in rows. In 1955, the county first purchased land from Evergreen Cemetery and has acquired property over the years for indigent burials and cremations.
Organizers said they welcome donations of backpacks and “Winter Survival Kits” for the homeless. The kits — 1-gallon zipped plastic bags — can contain socks, a winter hat, gloves, lotion, sunscreen, lip balm, snacks, a water bottle and a $5 gift card to a grocery store or restaurant.
The items will be accepted at the memorial service or can be dropped off at the Primavera Foundation Jim & Vicki Click Training Center, 151 W. 40th St. Call 882-5383 for information about the center’s hours.