INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana man is helping people who have to unexpectedly pay for the funeral of a loved one, including those who lost someone to COVID-19.
More than 600,000 Americans have died from COVID complications during the pandemic. The federal government offers reimbursement funds for burial costs, but now, there is also some relief coming from local nonprofit, I Got This Inc.
Jeffrey Mullis lost his wife to COVID-19 in May of 2020. He says the nonprofit is his way to honor her legacy.
“The reason why I chose, ‘I Got This,’ — not only was it her motto, it was her last words to me.”
Mullis says his wife went into the hospital the day after Easter and died of COVID in the hospital. He says while the death was unexpected, he was able to afford her funeral service — but he realized that may not be the case for everyone.
“I got to think of the what ifs. What if i wasn’t able to pay for this?”
So about a year later, Mullis started the nonprofit, I Got This, to honor her. It helps families pay for funeral expenses upfront, bills and to be there for people during these difficult times.
“We’re here to help those families because those are the people who are left behind. And some people are not prepared for it,” explained Mullis.
Carol Applegate is an attorney with Applegate & Dillman Elder Law. She applauds Mullis’ efforts.
“That would be very helpful, to be able to have the money upfront so they don’t have to come up with the money overnight,” said Applegate.
She’s helped clients apply for the FEMA funeral reimbursement but says it’s not a perfect system.
“The downside to the FEMA [funds] I think has been the amount of time that it has taken to get reimbursed for those funeral expenses. So families have had to pay that upfront.”
One of Applegate’s clients, Albert Koeske, was able to get reimbursed by FEMA after his wife passed away from COVID.
“It was greatly appreciated. These have become very difficult times. Costs are rising. And every little bit helps a lot,” said Koeske.
But he says the idea of I Got This may be a better fit for more families.
“I would say it would be very helpful, rather than having to put out the funds, to have them in your hand when you go to make the arrangements.”
I Got This can cover any sudden death situation, not just COVID.
Mullis says they plan on working with the families and the funeral homes directly and to stay involved with them even after the funeral.
One of the big objectives of the nonprofit will be offering healing sessions to give emotional support while they grieve.
I Got This fundraiser
I Got This is holding a bowling fundraiser on Saturday, August 14 at Western Bowl on W. Washington Street from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It costs $100 for a team of four to register. If you do not have a team, you can register individually for $25 and be placed with a team.