Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Very Personal Letter from Margaret Gorman

Dear Friends of IHS,

In the past I have written for the IHS blog from my volunteer position as a person who introduces the IHS meal packet program to churches, schools, charities and scout groups who make so many of the meal packets for the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center. This is a very rewarding activity.

A new viewpoint

Today, however, I am writing from the viewpoint of a patient at the UVA Medical Center, where I will be receiving treatment for the next several months. I would like to tell you some stories about what I've heard at the hospital about IHS and what people I encounter there say about the Reverends Clegg and their wonderful work.

So gratifying ... the stories I've  heard

The first story is from when I chatted with a medical resident in plastic surgery/cancer after she took notes on my case. I asked her if she ever saw one gallon zippered bags with meals in them. She said, "IHS? Oh Yes. I don't know what we would do without them." She then expounded at some length about the desperate situations of people who receive IHS assistance. She was urgent in her desire that I understand just how important this charity is to the medical center. We returned to our business, but before she left to fetch the surgeon, she turned back and said a very heart-felt "Thank you."

The next story comes from the Pre-admissions Department where people go to have medical tests done before they enter the hospital for treatment. The EKG technician knew immediately what a meal packet is. She spoke about how far patients travel to come to UVA for their care and how terribly sick many people are by the time they arrive at UVA for care. Many arrive with nothing. The meals, hotel rooms, car seats, co-pays and other services that the IHS provide are essential and not available any other way. This technician, too, expressed profound appreciation to the Reverends Clegg and the unique assistance of the IHS.

My final story is about a conversation with a social worker in the cancer center. Her reaction when I told her I help with meal packets was dramatic: She cried. Like the two others, her account of the work of the IHS was about the urgency of the need and about how the Cleggs are available at all times to do whatever they can to relieve suffering and support patients and their families who have no one else to help at such critical and unhappy times.

My own story is different

I'm local. I have friends and family here to help and I have good insurance. It's difficult to imagine how much harder it would be to be sick if I did not have this kind of support in my life. I am, once again, amazed and proud to be part of the Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum. If you are considering making a donation of meal packets or funds to go toward hotel rooms, co-pays, car seats or other critical items that IHS provides, you should know that this operation is very effective and very much appreciated by the UVA Medical Center community.

Sincerely ... Margaret Gorman

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) Kick-off October 1st

IHS enters second year in CVC ... same code 3648

UVA Medical Center is a state hospital, and CVC is the tool that facilitates State Employee workplace giving. More than 1,300 charities participate in this annual campaign. Employees may designate their gift to a specific charity or multiple charities within the program by giving a one-time donation or through payroll deduction.  Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum (IHS)  began with twenty (20) contributors last year, and needs a considerable increase this year and into the future.

Official 2012 Commonwealth of VA Campaign Logo Exposure to IHS is heavily dependent on UVA Medical Center Personnel Sharing

As most friends of this charity know, the indigent population which we serve come from all over Virginia and West Virginia to be treated at UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville.  Last week a patient in Virginia was assisted with lodging after a call from a social worker indicated that all rooms were filled in Hospitality House. That patient's one way journey was 320 miles.  Our involvement with assistance is of course centered in Charlottesville, but most patients and families served with temporary lodging, food, prescriptions, co-pays and Pediatric Clinic needs, such as infant car seats, are coming from well beyond 60 miles, most averaging 176 miles one-way for treatment which is available to them nowhere else. IHS was created to meet the needs of those who were and still are not being served by any other sources to the degree absolutely needed, and we are doing it by making ourselves available 24/7 when a social worker calls.

Opportunities for Newer Charity Exposure to State Employees in Charlottesville Area is practically non-existent

This charity knew that CVC Charity Fairs were vital for exposure as a new entry in strengthening the safety net; however, that link with state workers at an agency, the University, or within the Medical Center for a day of exposure via table display and handouts is no longer available in this part of Virginia.  We have urged CVC to consider how limiting this is for new charities with little exposure to this very important region; however,  there appears to be a reluctance for making this opportunity available in Charlottesville and surrounding counties.  THE ONLY WAY that will re-invigorate charity exposure through CVC Fairs  in Central Virginia is for state employees to ASK for annual days of exposure in their agency or institution, and promote attention to such events.

Richmond area is actively involved with promotion of CVC Fairs for Annual Exposure

There is a broad vitality in areas like Richmond, where multiple agencies provide state employees an opportunity to get to know who is devoted to making a difference. That opportunity does not exist in central Virginia. If an institution, hospital branch, or agency decides that a CVC Fair opportunity can serve to enlighten staff as to ALL  CVC approved charities serving their community, that needs to be projected to the CVC Director, Anne Dinterman at

Ms. Dinterman said that "CVC is run by employees for employees." Then it is time for employees to communicate with CVC and express an interest in allowing for exposure for all those new charities who are seeking to strengthen the safety net, and perhaps allow EVERY CVC eligible charity a chance to provide state employees a chance to get to know them.

Ms. Dinterman also said that "25% of all CVC donations come from the Charlottesville area of the state, and that employees are passionate about workplace giving, and employees are informed about workplace giving."  We are aware of the passion expressed by those who know of our participation, but there is an absolute limitation on state employees being fully informed. Perhaps with an invigoration of CVC Fairs in Charlottesville, being FULLY INFORMED WILL BECOME A REALITY.   If any state employee would like to see that opportunity extended to ALL charities, including IHS, there is no time like now to express that interest.

The new CVC website for exploration of workplace giving is IHS encourages state employee involvement in this marvelous workplace program, and we will continue to encourage expanding all opportunities for total exposure.

Blessings ... T. Wade

Friday, September 7, 2012

Following a Long Summer, IHS Friends are Back to Assist

The Group that initiated the IHS Meal Packet Program

Thomas  Jefferson Memorial Church, Unitarian Universalist (TJM-UU) of Charlottesville, Virginia prepares for another year of assisting the IHS Meal Packet Program. On Sunday August 19 the Church dedicated their monthly "Social Action Collection" to collect funds that will allow them to buy foods and supplies that will be turned into meal packets for the people we serve.

Audience listening to Margaret Gorman
Margaret Gorman speaks to TJM UU Church
Congregation responds

Church member and IHS Board member Margaret Gorman spoke to the congregation during morning worship service, and they responded generously. The church now has $2,131.00 to apply toward meal packets supplies. This should provide about 300-350 full-day meal packets; perhaps more if church shoppers  are able to find special sale prices for the items that they need. The church children, youth, and adults will all have opportunities to assemble meal packets and create the greeting cards that are enclosed for recipients.

What Began in June 2009 is only growing

Rain or shine, summer or winter, 200-250 full-day meal packets are delivered monthly to the Office of Social Work at UVA Medical Center for access by social workers to provide to long distance caregivers (mostly indigent situations), seeking to exist on minimum nutritional needs while supporting a loved one in the hospital. The TJM UU Church has been the anchor group for  sustaining  the program, as other church classes, scouts, schools, and families pitch in annually with assembling  parties to fulfill this vital need.

Listen to Margaret's Presentation to the Church via the link below
Click Microphone
Charlottesville Key Club working
16 people with Division 5A, Capital District of Key Club made a difference
Key Club Group Responded Quickly in August

IHS received an e-mail from Danielle Horridge, Key Club International, Capital District Lieutenant Governor, on the evening of August 11.  Danielle announced that Division 5A of the Capital District of Key Club will have 16 participants (11 Key Clubbers from Albemarle HS, Charlottesville HS, Fluvanna County HS, Monticello HS, and Western Albemarle HS as well as 5 members of the Charlottesville Kiwanis Club) at their President's Council Meeting/ Service Project on August 12. After the meeting the group was to make 50 meal packets from items donated by the members as well as Kroger. Her only question:  "Where do I deliver?"

From First Notice to Delivery in 12 hours ... What a Pleasant Surprise

Danielle Horridge unloading at IHS HQ
Danielle Horridge delivers a trunk load of meals
Danielle arrived at the IHS Office at Crofton Plaza at Lake Monticello Sunday afternoon right on schedule.  She delivered 52 full-day meal packets, each with a very personal note enclosed. In addition there were some extra items for IHS stocking supplies for making further packets.

Danielle said that she had been in contact with Margaret Gorman, and learned of the IHS Program from members of the Western Albemarle High School Key Club. That group bought, assembled, boxed and provided meal packets earlier in the year. Danielle explained that her division does not personally have a website, but the district does. The link is  

Thanks to everyone who participated in the event. That's enough meals for a week and will feed fifty people with so very few funds to sustain while waiting in the UVA Medical Center.

An Important Reminder

There are two parts to the IHS Food Program which serves patients and families so far from home.  These visitors are either in out-patient treatment and staying in UVA Hospitality House (which is supplied by IHS with food for guests every other week) or they are family caregivers, mostly parents staying with their children in Pediatrics for weeks, even months, as a child waits for a transplant or is fighting for life from an accident or disease.  The list is long for why someone has traveled to this healthcare center, but the need is absolute and often the only place for the indigent population of Virginia. Not eating should never be a part of the suffering which is already occupying someone's life.

How Easy to make a difference in the lives of so many

If  your church group, club, troop or civic organization is looking for an easy, important and fun volunteer project, or if you and some friends would like to get together to do an activity that has an impact on other people's lives, please look at the "Food Program" section of the IHS website for instructions on how to create meal packets, or how to donate funds designated for the charity to make meals.  What a terrific opportunity to be involved with children in shopping, selecting, making personal notes and filling gallon size plastic bags with a full day's nutrition, and teaching generosity all at the same time.  Click on the above hyperlink for details...

Blessings ... T. Wade