The Angel of Hope at the Maple Grove Arboretum has been a destination for 11 years as a symbol of hope for families who have suffered the loss of a child.
At 10 a.m. May 5, the community is invited to honor those that have passed on during the second annual Walk to Remember.
The event, organized by the Friends of the Angel volunteer group and sponsored by the and , starts at the includes a four-mile walk around Rice Lake and concludes with a remembrance ceremony at 1 p.m.
For those registering by 9:30 a.m. the day of the walk, the cost is $25 per person, $15 per child (11 and under). Walk to Remember registration forms are available by clicking here. For those that would like to purchase a photo remembrance sign for your loved one, click the link here. Additional information about the event can be found on the Friends of the Angel website here.
Proceeds from the walk will be used for future improvements at the Angel of Hope, such a handicap accessible rail, extending the brick patio or improving lighting. Last year, the event brought more than 200 people to Maple Grove Arboretum. Organizers believe it will be larger this year.
Other contributors to the event, according to volunteer Sarah Kerbeshian, include food provided by , the Maple Grove Women of Today as well as additional volunteer efforts.
Angel of Hope and the Friends of the Angel
The Maple Grove Christmas Box Angel of Hope statue is located in the Maple Grove Arboretum off of County Road 30 in Maple Grove. It was donated by Rosemarie Rosengren in memory of her grandson, Andrew, and dedicated on May 6, 2001 according to the city of Maple Grove website. It is considered one of several statues nationwide inspired by the book “The Christmas Box” by Richard Paul Evans.
“Since the placement of this first statue, it has become known as a place of hope and healing for anyone who has suffered the loss of a child,” according to city’s website.
Each year, a candlelight memorial is held at the Angel of Hope statue at 7 p.m. Dec. 6. It is open to the public, includes a short secular ceremony. Candles are provided and attendees are invited to leave a white flower at the base of the statue in memory of loved ones.
The volunteer group, Friends of the Angel, have dedicated their time to honoring the Angel of Hope Statue with efforts to beautify the angel and its surroundings “while honoring and remembering the children who are no longer with us,” according to the organizations website, planning gatherings and offering hope and encouragement through the “common connection of loss.” The group was initially founded in 2007 by Maple Grove resident Sue Drag and since expanded to approximately ten members.