Sunday, July 24, 2011

Update - First Six Months of 2011 - and a look back over two years!

Each time a list of figures is tabulated, a stark reality affects all of us at this charity. When I am using the word "people" ... these are "individuals" who would be adversely affected if this service was not provided. 589 individuals who stayed in 1210 overnight rooms in just over two years were secured with shelter because of this charity and every one of you who assisted with your contributions.

Let's look at it together:

From January - June 2011 (6 months)     165 people were lodged in 527 overnight rooms.
For July 2011 (first 20 days) another         26 people were lodged in   15 overnight rooms.
Therefore, the total for 2011 to date:      191 people were lodged in 542 overnight rooms.

How does the first 6.5 months of 2011 compare to the entire year of 2010?

For year 2010 (Jan- Dec 12 months)        259 people were lodged in 536 overnight rooms.

Return with me to 2009, when IHS began actively backing the UVA Medical Center social work staff when no other source was available. In other words for whatever reason there was either no room or a restriction for entry into UVA Hospitality House (HH),  and a hotel room was needed for overflow traffic, or someone needed assistance for staying in a HH room. Also, there were numerous assists when Ronald McDonald House (RMH) arrivals came too early and faced a full house, and no funds for a few days as they waited for an RMH opening.

For year 2009 (from June - Dec 7 months) 139 people were lodged in 132 overnight rooms.

Notice any trends over this two year span of time?

It's easy to spot.  The number of individuals and the number of overnight rooms has increased in these cycles. The number of rooms in the first six and a half months of 2011 has already exceeded the entire year of 2010. More under-funded people are coming for health care and to provide temporary comfort for loved ones with deadly conditions.

We do not have to be creative. These individuals all have names and are personally known by social workers seeking to assist them maneuver through the system at a critical juncture in their lives or the lives of their most precious possession ... a loved one.

I stared at this page for some time and reflected on so many instances of sadness. The stories are many, and they do not disappear in our thoughts once shelter and food are provided. Some names reappear on the request list. They must return for cancer treatment, and noticeably with more frequency over time. They are coming to THE MEDICAL CENTER to secure a chance for a more abundant and healthy existence.

There must remain community efforts to insure that immediate response is available to those already plagued by life's unrelenting challenges.  This charity is one of those efforts. Thank you for whatever you are doing to make a difference to our efforts and for other routes to relieve the suffering. Remember - you do not have to know someone to be a friend.

With Love ... T. Wade

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

A Personal note from Meal Packet Coordinator, Margaret Gorman
"My nephew, Justin Erwin, a graduate student at the University of Virginia, is helping a friend empty his Charlottesville apartment as he prepares to move to San Francisco. His friend has completed his medical residency at the UVA Hospital and will now begin work as an anesthesiologist out West.

Food DriveJustin just contacted me to say he had a box of food for us. What a treasure trove of items that are perfect for our meal packets! I guess medical residents have lifestyles that require them to eat in ways that are similar to the people we help with meal packets. Justin delivered boxes of organic instant oats, high-quality protein bars, granola bars and microwave main dishes.

I have a few containers of fruit in my stock pile, as well as some of the non-food items (napkins, plastic spoons, forks, Dixie microwave paper bowls) that we need to assemble meal packets. I will pick up a few things (always in need of zip lock gallon size bags)  to fill in what we need and expect to produce 25 more meal packets this week.

I so appreciate Justin for thinking of us, and for his friend for donating the food.
I would like to join the Reverends Clegg in thanking all the groups and individuals who answered our call for meal packets and who helped us build a stockpile of meals for summer use. Our supply might not last until September, but this 25 meal gift from Justin and his friend will help us get through August.

Our meal packets are helping so many people who are going through difficult times, and I am grateful to everyone who helps us relieve them of worry or hunger."

Just a short note to add to Margaret's greeting

Indenpendence Day Holiday PicnicOver this holiday weekend the mother of an adult patient in grave condition arrived at the Medical Center with the hopes of staying in UVA Hospitality House (HH) for just one night. This very worried parent came prepared to only pay the $10 per night rate, but she also was accompanied by a teenager. The under-18 child is not allowed in HH, but fortunately IHS charity located and paid for a commercial room in this busy holiday climate. 

What was doubly gratifying in this situation was that the social worker said,
"It's so nice to have those full day meal packets handy. I will give this family a few packets to take to the hotel to get them through their short visit. They will need their extra few dollars for gas when they drive home."
Final reminder

If you need the pamphlet from Margaret Gorman as to how to make a full day zip lock meal packet, she is waiting to provide those instructions.  Even if you can't actually find a group or a child to assist in preparation, we are all prepared to receive individual items in boxes and arrange a work party to assemble. Remember us each time you go grocery shopping and pick up a few items which will allow us to stay ahead.  If the bounty is large enough, we will drive considerable distances to pick up your contribution. 

 Blessings ... OH ... and may every day forward be cause to celebrate!