Thursday, November 24, 2011

Every Day Allows for Giving Thanks

It's good to have a dedicated holiday to gather with friends and family.  All of us need a set-aside day to sit across the table and renew the bonds which bind. Sometimes it is that set-aside day which allows people to have time to travel. Sometimes people find themselves traveling away from home with far too few funds to support themselves, but their duty to themselves or a loved one must take priority.
Students push meal packets boxes up ramp, but one slipped off. Student shouted "Drop Zone!"
Those people being served by Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum, Inc. have come to Charlottesville, Virginia with an abundance of hope. They are being treated for a very serious medical problem, or they are here as the closest  family member or caregiver,  waiting and hoping for a loved one's recovery.  Our purpose is dedicated to making sure that to the degree it is possible to offer temporary assistance as they establish a plan forward to balance their further need for lodging, food, co-pays and travel. 

There are many in this community, inside and outside the UVA Medical Center, who are passionately dedicated to the welfare of these patients and families. To all of you who are among that Fraternal Order of Giving, we are so very thankful to be blessed with this opportunity to help secure these patients and families, mostly indigent, in a time of desperation. For those who have donated to IHS and other charities, YOU ARE THAT CRITICAL DIFFERENCE IN OUR ABILITY TO FUNCTION AND  FULFILL  OUR PURPOSE.  Thank you for Giving.

A Very Special Class of Donors visited UVA Medical  Center last week

Waiting for elevators up to UVA Social Office
On November 15th a middle size yellow school  bus arrived at 12:15 PM at the UVA Medical Center's rear loading dock.  A space was  reserved  next to the rear entrance ramp for parking. The Henley Middle School Functional Skills Class, their teacher Amy Hovis, and several aids had arrived with the final boxes of full day meal packets from the past month's project at Henley Middle School in Crozet. That project and photos of their grocery store shopping spree is featured in IHS blog entry on October 28, 2011.

The Skills Class has been instrumental in raising funds, purchasing food items and then assembling with other  students in a school project which produced more than 322 full day meal packets. The final 49 meals were delivered personally during the class's visit to the Medical Center Social Office. Clinical Social Worker Teresa Bevins lead the group to the special storage area  where the meals are maintained for access to all social workers for caregivers in their sections, especially in Pediatrics.  Ms. Bevins also
Everyone gathered for a photo before leaving Social Office
spent time explaining the procedures and benefits of the program , and how the class's donations are immediately available and used daily.  She indicated that no less than 100-150 meals are needed every two weeks.

UVA Medical Center has been a special part of the lives of these particular students, and many saw professional staff whom they recognized just during the trip up and back to the Social Office.  To these marvelously giving students who understand the value of medical professionals, as former patients, and wanted to experience the completion of their  purchases and assembly sessions, right to the source where the need is fulfilled,  this visit was truly meaningful.

Blessings ...  from all of us at IHS and our supporters

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Terrific November ... thanks to so many!

It is so gratifying to know that we are able to be a part of the safety net for UVA Medical Center patients and families who come from such distances, often not knowing where they will sleep or eat. As you know, we can't be specific with details for privacy reasons. Perhaps it helps to know that one situation, which tends to happen frequently, provides an example of IHS being the only source available to assist.

A mother and baby are transferred from another hospital at a great distance to UVA Medical Center where the baby is entered into the NICU (Neo-intensive Care Unit).  Both Mother and baby arrive in a medical vehicle.
Parents are not allowed to remain in the NICU with their babies, and upon arrival the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) was completely full.  It so happened that UVA Hospitality House was also full.  When social worker MT called in mid-afternoon, it was evident that neither facility would have an opening that night, and this very stressed out mother had no funds to cover her needs while in Charlottesville.  IHS places this mother in a commercial hotel within a short walk to the hospital and she is told of the full day meal packets available to her through her social worker. A room in Hospitality House opens within one day, and the day after she is placed in Ronald McDonald House. Problem solved ...thanks to friends who contribute to strengthening the safety net.

Speaking of full day meals ... IHS received lots of help from a lot of kids this past month

Louisa County Cub Scout Pack 183, led by Jim Snider, organized and completed an assembly of 60 full-day meal packets (and a couple of boxes of extra items for use in further IHS assembly sessions) which were delivered  on October 30th.  Pack 183 is made up of 1st-5th grade boys. Den responsibilities are rotating, with Shonda Brooks, Webelos 1 Den leader, and Tina Schweikart, Bears Den 5 leader, organizing this go-around. Also invited  to participate this past month was Louisa Boy Scout Troop 183, lead by Jim Harlow. This troop is all high school age boys. The older group supplied all paper products, ziplock bags, utensils and a large box of oat meal for delivery to UVA Hospitality House. They also joined the pack meeting to help assemble the total packets.  Tina related that it's a wonderful way for the older boys to help mentor the young boys, especially the Tiger age group, plus contribute to a wonderful community service project. Thanks Louisa!

Thanks also to Brownie Troop 1234 of Charlottesville area for their November 2nd donation of 25 full-day meal packets and 24 snack packs. The leaders reported that they were happy to give true service with no reward or prizes other than the good feeling one has when doing something for others.

When these combined scout sessions were completed, and all items combined, IHS will be able to secure two more weeks for food supplies for social worker needs in November and December.  THANKS TO ALL!

Thanksgiving and IHS participation!

Thanksgiving at the Table
Thanksgiving around the Table with Family
Elisheva and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with our son and his wife and the expected baby to arrive on Thanksgiving Day.  It is our first trip in many years,  but an important family event.  Just sharing, since Sam McLawhorn will be monitoring the phones and e-mails, and making a meal delivery to the hospital when called.  

However, before leaving this Sunday, please know that we stopped by Kroger Market in Barracks Road Shopping Center and secured a large turkey and ham to be prepared for delivery to UVA Hospitality House for those patients and families who must remain for further treatment over the holidays.

For friends of the charity within the Charlottesville area, please know that Mary Jackson and her staff do marvelous things for their guests, and IHS is so pleased to make it more enjoyable.


Hold the presses -  another assembly party just last night, November 15th. Here is the note from Adult Leader Scott Sims.

 "17 Young Men and Young Women from the Rivanna Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a very uplifting experience compiling 100 meal packets for IHS.  Several months of planning and purchasing food for these packets resulted in a fun-filled, inspiring activity where these youth were able to provide this great service to our Charlottesville community. Thanks to Youth leaders Brandon Mantell and Brianna Ashby for leading the charge, and adult leaders Forrest Johnson, Johanna Johnson, Miquelle Crosland, and Scott Sims. The church website is   The Rivanna Ward Youth thanks IHS for all you do and for providing this opportunity to serve. "

Blessings to all of you and yours ... T. Wade and Elisheva Clegg