BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The families of the Baltimore explosion victims need help with funeral costs.

At a press conference Monday morning, the families of Joseph Graham and Lonnie Herriott asked for help for funeral costs at the Empowerment Temple AME.

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The church said they are paying a substantial amount of the funeral costs of the 20-year-old Morgan State student Graham and 61-year-old Herriott, but that they need more donations to ensure the funerals honor them right.

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“Today we wanted to focus that it isn’t simply a loss of property, but a loss of life, and take a moment to reflect on the lives that were lost the individuals who had such a positive impact in their families in our city,” said Pastor GJ Barnes. “And we believe even through this tragedy will have an impact on the world.”

A drive-thru memorial will be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of the Empowerment Temple at 4217-4221 Primrose Avenue.

Lonnie Herriott. Photo contributed.

“As many of us know funeral expenses are not small and as a church, we have stepped up to the plate to ensure that we will be providing support. That support though that we are providing is substantial, but we want to ensure that the family has the ability to mourn the loss of their loved ones in a way to their choosing,” Barnes added, “and so we’re asking the community to help support the expenses.”

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The funds will go beyond funeral expenses and help other families in the community struggling with issues after the blast like mental health, housing and rebuilding the community.

Graham’s mother was in tears talking about the outpouring of support her family received this last week.

Joseph Graham. Courtesy: Graham family

“My family and I just want to thank you. and we love each and every one of you,” she said. “He was such a great man he deserved to be an old man.”

I just wanted to let you guys know that we do appreciate everything that you have given and donated so far. We are still working on the finances for not only the funeral but for the burial as well,” said Graham’s aunt. “My prayer, my wishes is if [my sister] has to see her baby boy in a casket she is able to see him in the fashion that we all knew he was gonna be and that is great.”

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Those who want to make a donation can also contribute online at baltimorestrong.org. Choose “Labyrinth Rd Victim Fund” as the specific fund for your donation.

Ava-joye Burnett