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diaDía de los Muertos altar on display at Hospice of Santa Barbara. (HSB photo)

By Angel Pacheco for Hospice of Santa Barbara

In recognition of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Hospice of Santa Barbara and community members have created an memorial altar that honors all those who have died.

The memorial is located within Hospice of Santa Barbara and can be visited by anyone in the community who would like to make an offering or view the memorial.

“No matter your tradition, Día de los Muertos can be a special time to remember anyone we were close to and lost,” said Hospice of Santa Barbara CEO David Selberg. “We want this altar to be available to anyone who would like to leave some mementos that remind them of a late loved one or to even just sit and remember.”

Día de los Muertos is a Latin American tradition to celebrate, remember and present special offerings in honor of those who have died.

Loved ones create altars where ofrendas (offerings) such as bread, sugar skulls, figurines, incense, yellow marigolds and photos are placed in honor of the person who has died. Offerings are often very personal such as photographs of the deceased and their favorite food items and flowers.

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Hispanic Family Services offers free counseling, support groups and education to help Spanish speaking adults, teens and children cope with the death of a loved one.

Hospice of Santa Barbara has six Spanish speaking employees, including its clinical director and several counselors, and in addition to one-on-one counseling in Spanish, Hospice of Santa Barbara offers a Spanish-speaking grief group.

From its beginnings more than 40 years ago, Hospice of Santa Barbara’s goal has been to serve all the children, teenagers and families of our community with free, compassionate and practical care.

Anyone in the community who would like to place mementos on the altar such as photos, personal items or whatever they feel best represents their loved ones, may do so during business hours. (Items should be labeled and retrieved by owners.)

Hospice of Santa Barbara is located at 2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100, in Santa Barbara and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The display will be up until Nov. 3, 2015.

Hospice of Santa Barbara volunteers its free professional counseling and care management services those who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or visit

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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