Help Grieving Kids and Families this Holiday Season

EJ’s Auction & Appraisal is asking its patrons to help Glendale-based Billy’s Place

GLENDALE, Ariz. (December 19, 2019) – EJ’s Auction & Appraisal is asking the public to help grieving kids and families this holiday season by donating to Billy’s Place, a Glendale-based 501(c)3 charity that brings comfort and companionship to kids and families experiencing grief.

The full-service auction house, also based in Glendale, is accepting monetary donations through Tuesday, December 31 and will match the total up to $7,500.

Erik Hoyer, CEO of EJ’s Auction & Appraisal, said Billy’s Place is doing remarkable work in the community.

“We were surprised to learn that there is no other grief support organization like Billy’s Place in the northwest Valley,” Hoyer said. “Not only do they provide free peer support to children, teens, and adults, they also just started a Golden Grief support group for older adults.”

Kris Friedman, executive director of Billy’s Place, said the non-profit was founded in 2012 by Juli McGreal Schragel, whose husband died suddenly when her son, Billy, was just 15 months old. A few years later, Billy began acting out and McGreal Schragel finally found support through a peer group in Wisconsin which ultimately changed their lives. After relocating to the Phoenix area, Schragel realized a giant gap of services when it comes to grieving kids and families, one she set out to fill. Fast forward six years and the demand for services continues to grow and the families assisted are in the thousands.

“The death of a loved one is one of the most profound and stressful challenges we face in our lives,” Friedman said. “Grieving is a natural healing process that helps us accept the death and learn to make a new life without that person. Grief or bereavement is the expression of that loss, and while Billy’s Place does not provide clinical services, we do facilitate peer support groups and host community remembrance events and other activities throughout the year to help kids, teens, and adults process their grief. With mental health issues being on the incline, services such as Billy’s Place are literally changing lives of grieving kiddos.”

Friedman also said the need for grief support is great, and that donations from EJ’s Auction patrons will help with operational costs.

“Currently, Billy’s Place employs three part-time staff and is run by some 45 volunteers,” she said. “We’ve had a significant increase in demand for our services, including a 125 percent increase in calls in September over last year, and in October that number jumped to 144 percent. Our goal for 2020 is to hire a full-time employee to help manage the calls and other services.”

Friedman shared five tips for helping family and friends deal with grief this holiday season:

  1. Invite, but don’t push: include them, but respect their decision to decline an invitation.
  2. Be flexible: understand if they cancel plans at the last minute.
  3. Engage in a grief activity: help a grieving child or teen create a remembrance ornament, memory stocking or memory box.
  4. Listen: especially with children, acknowledge their opinions, thoughts and feelings.
  5. Be present: don’t avoid them if they seem distant. Keep reaching out, with the understanding that grief has many stages, and everyone grieves differently.

EJ’s Auction & Appraisal is located at 5880 W. Bell Road, in Glendale, Arizona on the northeast corner of 59th Avenue and Bell Road. Patrons can make donations by the Santa collection bin from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during preview days on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and during the weekly Saturday auctions. The auction house will also be open for preview on Monday and Tuesday, December 30 & 31 for EJ’s annual New Year’s Day Auction.

For more information about EJ’s Auction & Appraisal, visit or call (623) 878-2003.

For more information about Billy’s Place, visit or call (623) 203-8036.



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