Prohibition on food at funeral homes could end under measure

Lawmakers in New Jersey could soon end a prohibition on food and beverages in funeral homes.

Prohibition on food at funeral homes could end under measure

Prohibition on food at funeral homes could end under measure (8/15/16)

WAYNE - Lawmakers in New Jersey could soon end a prohibition on food and beverages in funeral homes.

Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin is sponsoring a bill that would update a variety of funeral practices in the state. Under the measure, the food prohibition would be taken off the books so refreshments could be served or catered for friends and family of the deceased.

The state is among a handful that forbids refreshments at funeral homes. The legislation comes after New York officials decided to repeal their law prohibiting food.

Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home Director Cliff Vander May says he supports the change and says that a food station would be set up separate from the service area.

"I think most funeral homes you're going to see, you're going to offer a cup of coffee, maybe a drink and some food.  Just that quiet dignity is what we're trying to help a family with,” he says.

Vander May says that the current trend sees people holding wakes in four-hour blocks, which sometimes goes straight through dinner time.

"Perhaps someone is diabetic, maybe needs a little something.  It would be against the law for us to provide something,” Vander May says

But Louis Stellato Jr., president of several northern New Jersey funeral homes, worries that accommodating food would distract funeral directors from celebrating life.

"Our job is to memorialize the dead and to recognize that a life has been lived,” he says. "If eventually food becomes important, then it's important.  But right now, I don't see food as an integral cog in the grieving process."

The law was originally put into place due to sanitary concerns.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

A bacterial infection known as leptospirosis is affecting 1 Bacterial infection affecting dogs in New Jersey
One of those accused is Eric Seaberg, who 2 5 accused of stealing Superstorm Sandy relief funds
A scuffle broke out following the hearing of 3 Scuffle breaks out following hearing of 2 accused in Paterson murder
Hundreds were on hand to honor an FDNY 4 Family, friends say final goodbye to fallen FDNY EMT
VIDEO: Sneak peek at new Seaside Heights roller 5 VIDEO: Sneak peek of new Seaside Heights roller coaster

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE