Monday, November 29, 2010

Charlottesville's Daily Progress Newspaper highlights IHS's charitable efforts!

It is not likely that many of you have heard of or read The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Virginia; however, please turn your attention to a front page Sunday article, November 28, 2010. Here is the direct accessible link:

We were truly gratified with the front page placement of a lengthy article with a few photographs on Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum.

This recognition of the charity's objectives comes at a most appropriate time. The holiday period through the winter months was the most pressing for lodging requirements last year, and to receive notice locally has such merit. Please open the link to the newspaper and read the article.

It's never too early or too late to tell you that we are blessed to be able to participate in this totally independent, non-religious public charity which is devoted to assisting the UVA Medical Center Social Workers who are serving families and patients who travel from great distances to this marvelous University of Virginia Medical Center.

Blessings....Elisheva, T. Wade and Sam
Founding Members of Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IHS Announces our First IRS Tax Return available on line!

I know that most of you reading this short entry received some important updates on November 12, but this update needed to be added. Although it is not required, we have decided to post the 2009 Tax Return. It can now be accessed from the IHS "Home" page or directly here: IRS Form 990-EZ.

What will be evident is that all of us serving the charity are volunteers. Yes...hours are posted for the record, but those hours represent a minimum required in the initial year, and throughout 2010 we have been accessible 24/7 for social worker contact.

Beginning in 2010 we allowed all wedding couples who use our ministerial services to donate a sizable part of their wedding fee directly to IHS for a tax deduction. That allowance not only gave each wedding an added depth of meaning, it has become a prominent source of income to sustain the charity, since IHS has never received a grant or an adequate number of consistent monthly donors.

Food Support from Charlottesville's Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church has made such a difference in recent months. Their objective of 200 full day rations for caregivers at the UVA Hospital Pediatric Clinic will be realized after just one month. In fact, Teresa Bevins indicated that some of those gallon size zip lock bags, crammed with nutrition for a full day of eating for an adult, have been shared with caregivers at the Children's Cancer Center which is experiencing the same needs.

Someone asked a prominent question last week, "Are you telling me that those parents are here for weeks on end and without funds to properly eat?"

How were so many of these parents and family members who are here for weeks and months being sustained for their food needs? Isn't it evident from reading Teresa Bevins plea in the April 2010 entry? The answer is that they were going hungry most days, while their children were being treated by the most expensive and best care possible. Some were eating once a day from their own depleted funds. Some were being given money from social workers, nurses, doctors just to get by for a few days. Yes, some staff was sharing when these circumstances were noticed, since all too often these caregivers will simply allow themselves to be hungry before seeking assistance. There is already the feeling that their children are receiving excellent medical treatment, and to relate that they are going hungry is not acceptable. Pride can and has left far too many malnourished.

Someone else asked, "Where did those late night arrivals to the Medical Center sleep before you guys got involved?"

That question has been answered from the day this charity started.
Two nights ago at midnight, we received a call for an overnight social worker. A family had arrived with their child from southern Virginia. He was checked and released for a NEXT morning appointment in the medical center. Not entered as expected, and with inadequate funds for a hotel room, and a policy of no children in UVA Hospitality House, and too late for check-in at Ronald McDonald House, the social worker had only one place to call. He called IHS. Problem solved.

This was the third late night call for similar situations in two weeks with children. In the past a social worker was placed in the most awkward of positions. Please consider the strain on a social worker who has to tell a parent there is nothing he or she can do.

This was the past...and these situations must remain a thing of the past. They simply must!
It's that time of year when we are told that giving is most prominent. We are hopeful that a wind is headed into your life and the spirit of giving will allow you to share some of it with us. We have some pressing lodging needs at this time and winter brings a renewed sense of urgency.

I am only asking for each of you to seek to provide a few dollars a month.
If more is possible, we will keep the pantry filled with food in Pediatrics, and the co-pay fund prepared and ready.

Please review what is possible. We will continue to perform full-time and allow our ministerial fees to sustain to the extent possible, but truthfully, we need your assistance now.

Blessings…T. Wade and Elisheva Clegg

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Notes for November - an Update for Friends

It seems hard to believe, but we are now at that 2 YEAR MARK AS A CHARITY. Yes, the actual retroactive date on our IRS notice was November 13, 2008, but we began exploration before that date, and necessarily had to wait until June 2009 to engage in activities to begin assistance. The challenges began from day one, and they have not diminished. UVA Medical Center Social Workers were often faced with too many who could not afford lodging, food, co-pays and periodic transport needs. Nothing has changed, EXCEPT that IHS provided another safety net, a "go-to responder" accessible 24 hours every day.

Please consider the numbers assisted

The figures are significant from that beginning in June 2009 when the phone line was opened for social workers to call and indicate specific needs. The main emphasis has been and will remain a need for TEMPORARY lodging for those who arrive from considerable distances without adequate funds.

November has started with an increased need for commercial hotel rooms, since UVA Hospitality House (HH) becomes fully booked weekly. This period is especially challenging since funds seem to diminish at the same time as the need increases. Not counting this first two weeks in November 2010, and since the beginning activity for lodging in June 2009, this charity has provided for 356 people in 563 overnight rooms. These people, often with children, would simply not have had a place to sleep had this challenge not begun.

The original lodging objective has continued and expanded

Two methods of assistance were established: (1) When UVA Hospitality House (HH) is full, or a family with a child under 18 arrives and cannot be accommodated at HH, then this charity will place those who have been fully screened and approved by a social worker in selected commercial hotels for temporary stays, and (2) When HH has a room available and a visitor simply cannot afford that extremely reasonable and often flexible fee, then IHS will assist.

Since those initial months, IHS has expanded assistance to the extent possible and paid for many visitors to Ronald McDonald House (RMH). This occurs when a family arrives prematurely or RMH has found its eighteen rooms fully booked. In addition, there are many occasions over the last year when out-patients for the Cancer Center need to stay for 4-5 weeks in HH for chemotherapy, and special rates are allowed for the patient and IHS will contribute to secure the stay.

Just this past week another problematic pregnancy resulted and the patient was not able to return home where there are no medical facilities to handle her condition. IHS placed the family in a hotel and then arranged for up to 28 days assistance as needed at HH while waiting for the new arrival. Yes, this is more than temporary, but working with the very capable Manager of Hospitality House, we have both learned to stretch to meet unusual situations.

Food Project is receiving marvelous support

Several months ago we received our first request for consistent food assistance from Clinical Social Worker Teresa Bevins in the UVA Medical Center Pediatric Clinic. Her emotional appeal is seen in the blog entry of April 27, 2010. Scroll back and read it again, since these same caregivers and others continue to arrive and now receive daily meals.

One manufacturer extended a helping hand with 500 coupons for family size frozen dinners. Pinnacle Foods, one of the nation's largest producers, has made these early months in the program so manageable; however by January 2011, those coupons will have all been used.

A New participant has come forward at just the right time

Early last month Margaret Gorman of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Charlottesville offered to engage families in her neighborhood, then the children in her church. Every two weeks Margaret's kids spend time making zip lock gallon packets filled with items for a fully nutritional day of eating. This marvelous project has now received full support from the church's Social Action Council, and is presently providing a significant impact in this monthly need at the Medical Center. In one month alone they have provided 80 full day rations for the caregivers who are waiting with their seriously ill infants in the Pediatric Clinic.

Margaret has asked to become a very active part of our local outreach program. She doesn't have an official title, but suggested that "Meal Packet Trainer" might be appropriate. Margaret has made a science out of her kid's project from procuring items to filling the packets, and all with the intent of providing a fully nutritional 1300 calorie offering. She is ready and prepared to offer guidance if a church or organization (such as girl and boy scouts) in or near Charlottesville, Virginia wishes to learn and/or share in this terrific experience of dedicated giving. Anyone who would like to know how Margaret has modeled her program, please e-mail her at

It is absolutely amazing how one small group of children with a monthly objective of a few dozen full day rations in one gallon zip lock bags every other week can impact our need. If just a few more groups can reach out monthly and join Margaret's Sunday School classes, the load can be shared and sustained in a marvelous manner.
November is our month for the "Nickels for Non-Profits" program at Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville, VA
It is so gratifying to be selected again to participate in this Whole Foods charitable opportunity. The Market is located at 300 Shoppers World Court along US 29 North in town. In case you are not aware of the program, local non-profits are featured on a collection box prominently displayed for exiting shoppers to place their wooden nickels received from the cashier at check-out. You have to ask the cashier for the nickels as you complete payment for merchandise, and upon leaving you drop the nickels into the slot which says Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum.

IHS is featured as one of the two nonprofits for the entire month of November. Customers from as far away as 30 miles of the Charlottesville store come to shop at Charlottesville's largest organically oriented food market. Please take a moment to remind a friend or family member who lives in the area to remember this opportunity throughout November. Those nickels can turn into hundreds of dollars to support lodging, co-pay and food needs.

Don't be shy! Giving has such a healing power.

It's Thanksgiving, and we are so thankful for those who remember that we depend on funds solely from friends and acquaintances who receive this monthly blog. Remember... that as little as $10 can secure a person in Hospitality House, and $50 for one night in a hotel when that is the remaining alternative.

Here is our direct donation link for your convenience:

Also remember what we said from day one:
Thank you for your support over this holiday period. It is very much needed.

Blessings....Elisheva, T. Wade and Sam
Founding Members of Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum