Monday, December 16, 2013

Special Treatment Center for Children needs IHS Help. It is Wish List we wanted to share ...

IHS has been asked to consider a method whereby Virginia's only  comprehensive 48-bed psychiatric facility for children and Adolescents, located in Staunton, Virginia, can be extended a separate "umbrella" status for temporary needs unique to their client's situations.

IHS was formed to serve underfunded (indigent) patients and caregivers who travel for treatment at UVA Medical Center, the state's premier teaching hospital. It is a totally non-religious, ALL volunteer, independent public charity which seeks to meet specific unmet needs through a close working relationship with Hospital Social Workers.

Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum's incorporation charter allows for extending a helping hand for the underfunded population being treated in another state hospital; however, no funds for support at UVA Medical Center through grants or private donors will be mixed for support of CCCA.  A separate bank account for CCCA donations is being established, and in the forthcoming year IHS will explore grants which relate to mental health support for CCCA.

The new Director of Community Services at the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents (CCCA) is Noel Dianas-Hughes, formerly Manager of Social Work at UVA Medical Center.  Noel visited IHS staff in mid-October and discussed her concerns, with the hope that IHS could work with CCCA's Community Service Office to stimulate more statewide awareness, especially in and around the home of CCCA in Staunton. She also came with a Wish List.   

CCCA  serves the entire Commonwealth as the only state facility for acutely mentally/behaviorally ill children between ages 4 through 17 who require acute inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.  These inpatients admitted to the Center are in crisis in their current environment. CCCA did not have an independent public charity to reach out to potential donors or serve as a conduit for donations for specific "unmet" needs.

Our objective of weaving a stronger safety net for immediate emergency situations can encompass this assistance to CCCA, as  described.  Whether short or extended affiliation is needed will be determined in cooperation with CCCA Office of Community Service, including which areas of support need a charity's participation. 

Thank you from ALL of us who rally behind each other ... AND SHARE.  

  Review CCCA's  Wish List below:  
  1. Two-four recliners for the CCCA lobby for parents who get stuck and motels in Staunton are full.  Recliners must be in leather or faux leather, new or used, for ease of cleaning.  
  2. 48 single bed size comforters, preferably in solid colors, would be so helpful for each child's bed.  Comforters should be new, washable. Can be lightweight.  
  3. IHS staff has ordered/ paid a wholesale manufacturer for delivery to CCCA a total of 40 teddy bears (11"-12" high).  This item was obtained for immediate use for seasonal presentation to the very young children being placed at CCCA.  IHS can generally negotiate price consideration, buy wholesale without tax and seek free shipping.  

  4. New or gently used toddler to teen clothing. The range of children sizes for items for this request is ages 4-17, including gently new/used shoes, and packets of "fuzzy socks." 
  5. New games, cards, crafts, toys, reading materials are always helpful.  One can always call the CCCA Community Services Office for advice. Call (540) 332-2111.      

  6. For underfunded families to sustain for a few days after leaving a child at CCCA, there is a need for no less than $500 in gas cards monthly. Denominations of $10 and $25 for Sheetz, Shell, Texaco, and Wilco Hess. Keep in mind that family treatment meetings and discharge of children require travel from all over the state and can be totally unaffordable for so many families.

  7. Also about 20 meal cards are needed monthly. Denominations of $5, $10, $20 for Subway, Sheetz, McDonald's, Chili's and Cracker Barrel. These businesses are all cited since they are nearest to CCCA location.

  8. CCCA has experienced a need for lodging for about 10 families for 1-2 nights monthly. 

Delivery information for CCCA and IHS:

glasses-boy-blocks.jpgDeliveries are accepted at the CCCA, located at:

1355 Richmond Road 
Staunton, VA 24401
Call Noel Dianas-Hughes, Director, Community Services,  at (540) 332-2111.

Charlottesville area (and surrounding county) donations can be dropped off at  the IHS storage office (not manned) located at:

105 Crofton Place (Lake Monticello area) 
Palmyra, VA 22963.

IHS will obtain a pickup for movement of a recliner, or arrange a time for retrieving items.  Call IHS to plan a delivery at (434) 589-4864 or e-mail IHS at  

Monetary donations designated for any items on the CCCA wish list can be made out to IHS and must be clearly designated: CCCA charitable donation. IHS will send a tax receipt letter for IRS filing as a charitable donation. All mail to address below:   

P.O. Box 163
Palmyra, VA 22963

or contributions via IHS PayPal for CCCA wish list at the donation page located on the IHS website:

Thank you for this consideration. 
Blessings .... Wade & Elisheva Clegg and Sam McLawhorn

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Giving Thanks for Timely Press Coverage Locally

On Thanksgiving Day the Fluvanna Review printed a lengthy feature about Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum (IHS) .  We are so very grateful to Correspondent Christina Dameo Guseman for this timely opportunity for further exposure in Fluvanna County, Virginia.
This public charity, located in a small community outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, functions 24/7 with a small core group of no-paid volunteers dependent on consistent supporters.

The objective: To serve immediate unmet needs (lodging, food, co-pays, pediatric assistance, etc.) of  indigent patients and caregivers who must travel considerable distances for treatment at UVA Medical Center by making ourselves available to all Social Workers  when no other resource is available to them.
The Goal:  To never have to say NO when a Social Worker calls.
Your review of the article as time allows will offer a solid history of who, what, why and how this effort began in 2008.

Please click here for further reading.

Thank you ...   From All of Us at IHS

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Helpers

Thanksgiving Week has arrived, and so did several Holiday Helpers. The IHS Food Program has received needed support for both the Full-day Meal Packet Program and the Thanksgiving Day meal at UVA Hospitality House(HH).

Special Thanks   
  • to Kristen Rabourdin, Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville for the Holiday Gift Card of $250 for purchase of turkeys for this special dinner.  
  • to Desire Dawson, Hot Cakes Restaurant Manager, for pastries for the holiday week for Hospitality House.   
  • to Elisheva Clegg, who is cooking the turkeys and making German Potato Salad for 30+ guests at UVA Hospitality House for the Thanksgiving dinner.
The Next Holiday meal is Christmas Day at UVA Hospitality House

Many of you who live in the Charlottesville area and surrounding counties are certainly invited to participate in making that meal a success.  You may call Mary Jackson, Supervisor at UVA Hospitality House at (434) 924-5722, beginning December 2nd.  Ask what is needed, and then pledge to show up with your items the day before. This allows Mary to fill in the blanks for providing a complete meal. Hospitality House is located at 205 - 14th Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Deliveries are made at the rear of the building by just driving around the block.

The other alternative is to provide funds to IHS for the IHS Food Program

Your donation made out to IHS can be designated for the Food Program which allows us to purchase items needed to fulfill the holiday meals, and continue our twice monthly delivery of food to stock Hospitality House for everyday food needs for the indigent population who are guests in the facility throughout the year.  Remember - all donations sent to IHS will receive a tax receipt letter for charitable donations when filing tax forms for 2013.  Just sharing.  The mailing address is: 
 P.O. Box 163
 Palmyra, Virginia 22963.

  A Note from Margaret Gorman, Meal Packet Coordinator

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist (TJMC UU) children in the first through sixth grade took time in their Religious Education classes to assemble 237 meal packets. The church's ministry theme this month is "Gratitude and Family (family of origin, family of choice, church family, human family, global community)."

They were thrilled to learn that the church took up a social action collection in September for funds used to purchase meal packet supplies. After three (3) years of assembling the meal packets, these children and youth are very familiar and proud of their participation in this project. They now teach new children about the work of the IHS and cheer as the empty cardboard delivery boxes fill up with meal packets and cards that express their concern and good wishes for the people who will receive them.

It is very rewarding to watch the children at work and hear parents report to the adult leaders that their kids could hardly wait to get to church that day. Making meal packets is a lot of fun and an excellent opportunity to consider gratitude for what we have as well as experience the reward of knowing you have helped someone.

A Note from Dawn Cleveland,  IHS Volunteer

On November 20, 2013, the Olivet Presbyterian Church Kids Connection youth group completed 41 meal packets for IHS, with some extra supplies left over.  There were 20 kids, from preschool to 5th grade, and each child made 2 cards and 2 packets.  They really had fun making the cards and assembling the bags, and they really understood how they were helping out needy families with their efforts.  This was their final Mission project for the fall, to close out the session on a note of Thanksgiving.

Big thanks go to Betsy Dishman, Director of Music and Children's Ministries at Olivet Presbyterian in Charlottesville, VA, for making this project happen. Also, thanks to the families who contributed the food, and to the children who put their hearts into assembling the bags.

Wade & Elisheva Clegg and Sam McLawhorn

Monday, November 4, 2013

October Helpers and Activities

Louisa, Virginia Cub Scout Pack 183 teamed up with Troop 183 for second delivery in 2013!

A Note from Katrina Duff
Louisa Scouts working like a hive of bees to complete meal packets
"Our October 22nd assembly session produced 105 full-day meals. This  is the second gathering of troops this year  for making meal packets for underfunded caregivers who come to  the UVA Medical Center. The March session produced 82 meal packets for a grand total of 182 in 2013.

Pack 183 is led by Cubmaster Brad Baber, Committee Chair Elizabeth Thomas, and  Katrina Duff is the Outings Chair for the Pack. We received a lot of help with set up from Alicia Fowler, leader for Bear Den 9, and Jen Baber, assistant den leader of Webelos 2 Den 3.

We were assisted by Boy Scout Troop 183, led by Jim Harlow.  The boys that came from that troop are Ben Winslett, Tyler Snyder, Eric Clark, and Colin McCoy. They packed boxes with completed bags, helped the Cubs on their trip from each station, and graciously helped load my car afterwards!

Each den within our pack was assigned a different food group to bring in, and everyone graciously volunteered their items, and usually items from other categories as well!  Den leaders supplied the Ziploc bags, Troop 183 supplied us with bowls and spoons, and Xen McCoy (mother of a Cub and Boy Scout) brought us the transport boxes.  The boys looped around our set up room, filling their bags and writing notes of support and encouragement.  Many were glad to make second and third loops around the room, until we ran out of supplies.

We thank you for the opportunity to help our Scouts follow their oath, and "give good will!"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Youth Group adds to October Supply!

A Note from Sarah Rainey in mid-September
C'ville 2nd Ward LDS Youth Group complete their service project
"My Charlottesville Second Ward youth group  at our LDS church was interested in doing meal packets as a service project. The person who organized a project for my Key Club told me to get in touch with IHS. I'm the Laurel Class President for 16-18 year old girls, and it is our time to plan an activity. We collected donations for food items from members and stores in our area.

The night that we put the packets together was originally advertized as an "etiquette dinner," where the youth would enjoy a nice dinner. We surprised the participants with this service activity so they would get a small taste of what it means to be hungry. When they arrived at church there was no dinner for them, but they were presented with some facts about hunger in our area and told specifically about the activity. Rather than moan and complain (they were surprised) they jumped up and eagerly got to work. We had one boy racing through the line to complete as many packets as he could in our given time.  It was an opportunity to do something meaningful and think about others."

A special thanks to Sarah and the youth group for their delivery of 75 full-day meal packets.

IHS  attended two Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) Fairs in October

The first CVC Fair in many years in Albemarle County was hosted on the Campus of Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) on October 14th. The outdoor activity was provided excellent weather for staff and students to mingle and learn of charitable activities by about twenty (20) CVC listed  charities.

On October 15th we attended a very intimate CVC Fair in the Office of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Glen Allen, Virginia.

Regretfully, due to sickness, we had to cancel an October 24th visit to the CVC Fair at the Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents (CCCA) in Staunton, Virginia. The Center is the only state facility for acutely mentally/behaviorally ill children and Adolescents. The new CCCA Director of Community Services is Noel Dianas-Hughes, formerly Manager of Social Work at UVA Medical Center.

CVC Fairs are an excellent opportunity for Virginia state employees to learn of those charities who are registered with the CVC Program, and where hosted, employees are encouraged to attend and meet those who seek to make a difference in the lives of so many in the Commonwealth.

T. Wade Clegg III, Elisheva Clegg & Sam McLawhorn

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Big Question

There is a question asked on every grant application which may be answered in different ways for different groups who have received funds for projects. That question is:  How do you know if you have successfully accomplished your project or mission?

This following short story is somewhat of a composite in order to protect the privacy of a family or individual. It is one story among many over the year.  THIS IS HOW WE MEASURE SUCCESS!

One night not so long ago ...

I received a call at 3 AM on a Friday morning from a UVA Social Worker in ER.  She said, "Please forgive me for calling so late or early, but there was no one else." I said, "Talk to me."      She continued, "We just received an infant, transferred by taxi for a critical situation. Mother and Father are with their child; however, they are not alone." I asked, "How many children are with them?"   She replied, "Four additional children, several are infants, and Ronald McDonald House is full and not open at this hour.  The family is exhausted, and we can't make arrangements for this number in the hospital. They have so little, and certainly can't afford a hotel room. I will access those full-day meal packets you provide in the Social Work cabinet so they have something to eat, but I really need a room for them."
I remember saying, "I need ten minutes, and I will get back to you."  I called our closest hotel partner, and the overnight clerk recognized me immediately.  After all, how many people call from 12-3 AM with some regularity?  The overnight desk clerk said, "Good morning, you keep some funny hours. I assume you need a room NOW."  After a quick "You betcha, just til normal check-out time, or perhaps you can stretch it until noon. The guest has a lot of babies with her, and needs a place for all to rest and recover. Can you check on a crib and secure a room with two beds?"  The desk clerk simply said, "Give me a name for the registration. Here is the reservation number. I'll check on the crib. Send them on over. Just e-mail the rest."  I blew kisses into the phone; she laughed and hung up.

I was back with the  ER social worker in less than 10 minutes. The family was placed in a taxi for transport to the hotel. An immediate temporary need was accomplished.

A Reflection:

By 3:45 AM, having sent an e-mail to the hotel and social worker documenting details for the record, I closed my notebook, and just sat and focused on all those photos of my grown children and their children.  Some situations allow for an outpouring of emotions. This was one such time.
I kept thinking about this indigent family, caught in an economic downturn, transported with all those kids with no one to assist them, a distance from home,  a critically ill child, and inadequate funds for lodging and food, until the next day or two to work out a plan for them. The social worker still had her work cut out for further assistance .. BUT FOR NOW ...AN IMMEDIATE SITUATION WAS COVERED... A PLACE TO REST AND SOMETHING TO EAT.  

A Final Note:

I wish this was a rare situation, but it's not.  The size family may be less; the hours may be earlier in the day; but the stress level for anyone coming to Charlottesville with a loved one in critical condition, and no one at home to assist, and no funds to cover the costs of lodging and food immediately upon arrival is why we are involved.

The only reason we are available 24/7 for those calls is because of a group of contributors, mostly small periodic donors, who know what is happening. The least able among us are growing in numbers, and the smallest tragedy can drag them over the edge.

If you would care to make a difference, click below to make a one-time donation, or set up a monthly donation for automatic withdrawal:

To ALL of you who provide us with food packets or hotel lodging funds, emergency prescription funds and infant car seat funds for NICU indigent parents ... thank you for allowing me to be able to react so quickly. I know when that phone rings at "funny hours" ... WE are ALL being successful!

Much love from all of us ...  T. Wade Clegg III, Elisheva Clegg & Sam McLawhorn 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Who's Making a Difference for the UVA Hospital Meal Packet Program

Social Action Day at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist

On Sunday September 15th, the TJM Church in Charlottesville dedicated its "Social Action" collection to IHS. Each program which was handed to church members attending both morning services contained an envelope for a contribution which was solely dedicated to buying food items for Sunday School classes to assemble meal packets over the months ahead. Margaret Gorman spoke briefly to the congregation to acquaint new members with the charity's efforts and how the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church continues to serve as the anchor church for the program since 2010. Church members provided a collection of $1,607.21.  This consistent devotion is so appreciated.

Key Club responds again  

This recognition is a few weeks late, but once again Angela Li of the Ivy area and Key Club members met and produced 57 full-day meal packers on or about August 17.  Angela has been active for several years in promoting the meal program, beginning with her Western Albermarle High School Key Club activities.  

Gorman Family added to the August Meals

Margaret and Mike Gorman took advantage of having their sons home during late August and personally made 39 full-day meal packets, then combined their production with the Key Club for a total delivery to IHS of 96 meals. The Gormans never stand down!

Cheng Family is a regular participant at making meals

Elaine Cheng and her pre-schoolers, Alex and Kate, met the Cleggs on September 18th in front of IHS's favorite meeting place, namely Hot Cakes Restaurant in Barracks Road Shopping Center in Charlottesville. This is their third year of shopping and assembling meal packets. Their goal each year is 30 full-day packets, which is accomplished over many weeks as a part of their normal grocery shopping trips. In addition, our thanks to Elaine and David for a lovely donation with a check to provide for six(6) hotel rooms for the IHS Lodging Program. This past three months has been the highest use period for needing hotel rooms since the charity began. Thanks for this wonderful devotion by the Cheng Family.

Meal Packets from UScouts at UVA

The  UScouts at UVA took time at the start of their meeting on Tuesday, September 17 to assemble 24 meal packets and write notes to the people who will receive them. This is the second time UScouts has made meal packets for the IHS. 

UScouts UVA, a university club also registered with the Boy Scouts of America as Venture Crew 1819, was founded in 2011 to give former Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other interested college students the opportunity to provide service to Scout groups and other service organizations. They meet Tuesday evenings during the University school year at 9 pm in the Astronomy Department conference room at the University of Virginia. Check out their website (  to learn more about UScouts and see pictures of their many activities.

Another Way of Helping

Many friends of this charity realize that our second office is actually the Hot Cakes Restaurant in the Barracks Road Shopping Center in Charlottesville. It's a popular location for a lovely diversity of fine food and a comfortable setting for "tabletop conversations" with friends. Keith Rosenfeld is the owner of Hot Cakes and a dear friend of IHS. Earlier in the month Keith approached T. Wade and suggested that the charity might need  some updated handouts for upcoming events. He then proceeded to print 1,200 multi-color large cards in house and provided them for the Barracks Road wine-tasting event on September 5th and the C'ville Pride Festival hosted in Lee Park on September 14th.  This excellent show of support with the printing project saved the charity many hundreds of dollars. In addition,  the restaurant continues to donate every other week several boxes of pastries for pickup and delivery for  the guests at UVA Hospitality House.

A special thanks to Keith and the staff at Hot Cakes!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Looking for a Home

Friends Helping Friends

Unless you live in Charlottesville, Virginia area, have small children, or had small children who are now adults, then the name Molly Michie Preschool will not ring a bell.  However, for the last four years, the children at this Unitarian Cooperative Preschool, which was founded in 1967, have been a significant part of shopping with their parents and assembling full-day meal packets for the IHS Food Program. The school's present location at 717 Rugby Road will soon be needed for expansion; therefore, by next June 2014, Molly Michie Preschool must find a new home.

What a History!

The Preschool was designed as an outreach for Unitarian-Universalist social and educational values to the community and to meet community need for a semi-structured, multi-racial preschool. It was the first integrated preschool and the first parent cooperative preschool in Charlottesville.  In keeping with the Unitarian practice, no effort to proselytize Unitarian  theological concepts was intended. Children from all religious orientations have been and are welcome, and their various religious and cultural backgrounds have been and are respected. In 1994 the preschool was incorporated and the legal name became Molly Michie Preschool to meet Commonwealth of Virginia requirements.

What is needed to Meet VA Department of Social Services Guidelines/requirements for space

Sheila Currier Chroback provided the following for IHS to relate to potential "space holders." Sheila would be delighted to explore all possibilities, but the following are some absolutes for consideration. 

She said,
"The Preschool requires at least 35 square feet of indoor space per child and when we are at capacity that means 28 total children plus at least 4 adults. So, the bottom line is that we need a minimum of 1120 square feet to even consider a space. Ideally, we would have two classrooms with one classroom having at least 525 square feet and the other having at least 595 square feet to meet our classroom breakdowns. We also require at least 2 toilets and sinks within close proximity to the classrooms, outdoor space or access to a local playground/park, parking spaces for at least 4 individuals for the duration of the school day, and use of the space for meetings outside of school hours."
 The Sooner that New Space can be located ... THE BETTER

IHS friends are invited to contact Sheila and explore. Her email is or phone (434) 327-7121.  IHS is pleased to assist in some small way.

Sincerely ... T. Wade Clegg III 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Friends Reached Out to IHS in July

New Participant in Meal-Making for UVA Hospital

The Enrichment Alliance of Virginia, a non-profit serving Charlottesville,  Albemarle, and adjacent counties held a meeting of its "Hub" on Saturday, June 30, to do their first service project ever. The Hub is a monthly program serving children resettled in Charlottesville from the world's troubled spots.  Five mentors and six students shopped for meal packet supplies at a local grocery store, then used their meeting space to assemble meal packets for IHS to donate to the University of Virginia Medical Center. The young people worked quickly and wrote lovely notes for the packet recipients.

In all, with supplement items from IHS Meal Packet Coordinator, Margaret Gorman, the Hub created full-day meal packets for 24 people. Congratulations, and thanks very much! Thank you to Program Director Mary Anna Dunn, Ed.D, for thinking of the IHS and showing the Hub participants one way we can help other people.

The Board and volunteers of the Enrichment Alliance of Virginia work together to expand enrichment opportunities for all children, regardless of income, geography or cognitive/physical disabilities. To learn more, see Facebook page:

                                                                         Margaret Gorman,  IHS Meal Packet Coordinator

A Note from Jessica Kirby ... a friend of IHS in Scottsville, VA

I was so touched by the work that you do with IHS that I was thrilled to be able to help in some sort of way. IHS was the first thing to pop in my mind when we were choosing where we would donate our Vacation Bible School (VBS) funds.  Antioch Baptist Church,located at 4422 Antioch Road in Scottsville,  holds a VBS yearly in July and picks a family or charity to help support.   The boys and girls divided each night to see who could raise the most for IHS. We were able to raise $ 273.00 and a box of food for the IHS Food Program. Thank you so much for showing us that just a single person can help make such a big difference in our community.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR  for an Important Fund-raising Event September 5, 2013!

More announcements to come, but IHS has been invited as the charity to benefit from the wine-tasting event to be hosted at the fountain area in Barracks Road Shopping Center in Charlottesville  from 6-9  PM on Thursday, September 5th. The fountain is located next to Five Guys and Panera's restaurants in the shopping center.  Live music will add to this lovely outdoor gathering for a few hours of relaxing after a busy work day. There is marvelous parking  space so near.  Tickets sold for the wine-tasting purchased at the site.  Mark your  calendar ...PLEASE!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Charity's First Exposure in UVA Health System Blog

IHS is so very pleased to have been included in the June 25, 2013 blog posting. The introduction of the charity as another dedicated all-volunteer source, from which the Office of Social Work can depend, is the first exposure to other hospital staff, even though we have been a member of the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) for the last two years.

A copy of the complete blog posting follows. Or, you may click on the link below to go directly to the UVA Health System Blog site directly for viewing.

Our thanks to David Hendrick, Editor, UVA Health System Office of Marketing and Communication for his generous remarks.

                                                               T. Wade Clegg III

Food and Housing for Patients in Need
       On June 25, 2013 | At 10:29 am

It takes thousands of employees in all manner of positions to keep the UVA Health System humming. Without a small army of dedicated volunteers, however, the hospital would look like a much different place.

              A Century of Care

The UVA Hospital Auxiliary, a 105-year-old, volunteer organization, exists solely to offer aid and comfort to patients in need.

Among its volunteer service and various activities, the group raises money for various health and education programs and contributes funds to social workers and many other hospital areas to directly benefit patients and families.

Sally LeBeau, manager of volunteer services at UVA, says there are about 850 active volunteers in the Health System.

All of them are members of the auxiliary.

               Hospitality House

One popular volunteer outlet is the Hospitality House,
a 62-bed facility near the UVA Hospital
that offers a place to stay for patients and adult family members for $10 a night.

The auxiliary supports the Hospitality House - which has an annual operating cost of about $600,000 - with a yearly contribution of about $66,000.
"We have UVA volunteers that provide support there, that come and work a shift each week at the HH, doing administrative work, greeting visitors, cooking meals,"
LeBeau said.
One volunteer has been greeting guests for 15 years, LeBeau said.

A monthly donation from the Emergency Food Bank also helps keep the cupboard stocked.

Other Groups Lend a Hand

There is also a network of volunteers outside of the Health System assisting in the care of patients and their families.

Sam McLawhorn,Thomas Wade Clegg and Elisheva Clegg, for instance, formed the Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum (IHS) in 2008. Since then, the Cleggs have become experts in the various unforeseen situations people find themselves in when they travel to receive medical care.

The non-religious, nonprofit, all-volunteer charity started with the simple idea of helping with the basics: food and lodging. To that end, they provide assistance to patients and their families with:
  • Places to stay while they seek treatment, including hotel rooms and the $10 fee for the Hospitality House
  • Hundreds of full-day meal packets a month at both the UVA Hospital and Hospitality House
  • Co-pays for prescriptions and transport funds
  • Items for children such as car seats and breast pump rental for new parents
Says Wade Clegg, "Once you experience the overwhelming number of desperate situations, which social workers handle almost daily, and you know you can make a difference ... then a considerable amount of suffering can be lifted. That's something that's easy to put our arms around."

A New Mission: Helping Patients Heal

The idea for the charity came one evening when Elisheva, while serving as a volunteer chaplain at the hospital, met a young mother whose husband was receiving treatment at the hospital looking for the garage where she planned to spend the night in her car.

Elisheva instead arranged for a hotel room where the mother and her children could stay.

The incident with the young mother in the car turned out to be a moment of epiphany for Elisheva.

"We said, 'What are we going to do for the rest of our lives?'" Elishiva remembers. "We need to form a charity."

A Coordinated Effort to Care

Packets of food are available for patients in need.
The Cleggs say their criteria for who is deserving of assistance is simple. If a UVA social worker signs off on a need for assistance, it's good enough for them.

And the social workers at the hospital do not hesitate to call upon the IHS for a variety of needs.

"About three years ago I saw a need for food for my pediatric families," UVA social worker Teresa Bevins says. "I contacted the Cleggs and asked if they would be interested in developing an ongoing meal support program for caregivers. They were more than willing to start this process."

The food program quickly grew, and now all of the social workers at the hospital know that they can take meal bags from a stocked cabinet at any time. Bevins says she and her coworkers pass out about 100 full-day meal packets every 10 days.

"These people are angels," Bevins says of the IHS.

The Cleggs, meanwhile, are quick to complement their chief liaisons to the Health System.
"The social work staff may be the most underappreciated groups at the hospital," says Wade Clegg. "These are people who care, but there is a limit to where they can take it. Hopefully, we are extending their limits in a small but significant way."
Sustaining a Worthy Cause

IHS relies on money and food donations from individuals and groups and has received grants from Dave Matthews Band's Bama Works Fund, the J & E Berkley Foundation of Charlottesville and the Junior League of Charlottesville. There is no paid staff, and the comings and goings of funds are accounted for down to the dollar in tax forms posted on the IHS website.

Although the steady increase in requests keeps the organization busy-need has increased about 100% each year of the charity's existence-the Cleggs hope to put the IHS on a sustainable, permanent path. For instance, they envision a home base on a working farm, with lodging available for patients in need and a communal dining hall.

Interested in giving to the IHS?

Learn more about the work of the IHS.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Another May 2013 Surprise!

J&E Berkley Foundation's Second Assist in Two Years

The Foundation, located in Crozet,  considered the IHS grant request at their meeting held on April 30, 2013. Mr. Chris Pasmore, Executive Director, wrote,
"It is my pleasure to inform you that a grant of $3,000 was awarded to Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum, Inc. and to be used as outlined in your proposal dated March 29, 2013. Enclosed is an official check in the amount of $3,000." 
Grant is Dedicated to Medications, Co-Pays, Travel and Lodging


The J&E Berkley Foundation was made aware of this charity's growing need, specifically over the last year, regarding expanded medication, co-pay and travel  assistance for the indigent population who come from great distances.  From January 2012 - March 2013 (15 months) IHS provided over $5,000 just for this category of assistance. This was an increase from $1,007 in all of 2011 requested to assist the UVA Hospital's Office of Social Work for underfunded patients.
During this same period of time (January 2012 - March 2013) IHS paid for 129 commercial hotel rooms for 232 patients and/or family members who could not be accommodated in the UVA Hospitality House, and several overflow families for a fully-booked Ronald McDonald House. The $3,000 grant will be used for these two areas of temporary assistance during the remainder of 2013.

Truly a Delightful  Boost to 2013 Needs

On behalf of the IHS Volunteers of this totally independent public charity dedicated to the UVA Medical Center's  indigent and temporarily underfunded patients and families, and the professional staff of Social Workers in the UVA Medical Center ... THANKS goes to the J&E Berkley Foundation for this needed support.
On a final Note for May - a dear friend of this Charity will be missed

We forgot to mention that Noel Dianas-Hughes has left the position of Manager of Social Work at UVA Medical Center, although it is our understanding that she plans on remaining in the local area at this time.  Jill Laird-Sanders, Director of Care Management, UVA Health System has assumed that role at this time.

A Little Background is Worth Remembering

In 2008  we (Revs. Elisheva and T. Wade Clegg ) approached Noel and then Chief Chaplain Richard Haines (now retired) with a plan to establish a public charity to seek to meet the immediate "unmet" needs of indigent patients.  The decision to allow us to be accessed as needed by the Social Staff on a 24/7 basis was an unusual request, but recognized by Noel and Chaplain Haines as another opportunity to serve this dedicated population, all too often with no other charity or agency available or willing to respond so quickly.  Noel listened intently and monitored and offered advice,  as IHS slowly involved itself with fund-raising, and active ideas to strengthen objectives. A wonderful trust evolved, and whatever this charity has been able to accomplish and continues to accomplish is due to Noel Dianas-Hughes decision to allow another helping hand to assist  in her staff's goals of securing the well-being of the least able among us.

As We said back in 2008 to Noel and Richard ...  
"We will do what we can do for as long as we can do it!"
Never forget when someone allows a door to open to let all comers know that others care for their well-being.  Our thanks to Noel for her generosity. 

Sincerely ... T. Wade and Elisheva Clegg, Sam McLawhorn, and  IHS Volunteers

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Enduring Lesson of Caring for the Children who Assemble Meal Packets

Notes from Margaret Gorman

The children and youth of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, Unitarian Universalist in Charlottesville (TJMC UU), and the children of Children's Garden Preschool in Earlysville, Virginia have now assembled meal packets for three years. The director of Children's Garden, Maria Brown, and I (director of the meal packet project at the church) recently had an email discussion of the impact this project has on our children. We agree that while the goal is nutritional support for the caregivers and patients or outpatients at the University of Virginia Medical Center, the effect on our children and youth is profound. What follows comes from our exchange.

I wrote to Maria:
"For me it is very rewarding to watch the children and youth assemble meal packets again and again. They come into the Sunday school room, look at the stacks of food and supplies, and are eager to get to work.  They say things like, 'This is fun,' and can teach new participants how to make the meals and why we do this. I like the way they 'own' this service project and how they understand they truly help people with it. My hope is this repeated act of service helps lay a foundation for a life of caring and giving."
I then asked:
"Now that your children have made meal packets for three years, do you see any carry-over for them? Do the older children (four year-olds) remember making meals before?... The meals are beautiful and I just LOVE the way you used envelopes for the cards! If I were a child, this would mean that my message is really important. "
Maria replied:
"The children who have done this project in the past DO remember doing it from previous years, and I have two girls who even helped explain what the project is to the children who are new this year! They do take ownership, and know which item of food was  sent in by their parents, and in some cases, helped pick out the item they were bringing in! I don't know if you have the ability to do the same with your younger children, having their families sign up to bring in specific foods, in whatever quantity will work for your situation, but I found that it really did make an impression on my children."
Maria continued:
"The way I did it, with my preschoolers, was to lay out all the food, grouped by meals (dinner items), and then snacks, and each child assembled one packet, choosing food from each "group", such as either oatmeal or cereal plus either an apple or berry bar for the breakfast, etc. That way, they had some choice; they had ownership of a bag.  I also had each child help 'sign' all cards, so the cards received by  recipients  this year have all the children's names on it. I want recipients  to know that all of us care about them and we are thinking about them. This year the children signed by putting their thumbprint on the card in the color ink of their choosing... then  I made their print into a flower.  At the top of the card it said, 'Made with Love by The Children's Garden'.  I hope this helps!  We will do this project again next year, and hopefully for many years to come."
Final Comments:

Thanks to Maria Brown and Children's Garden for the 16 meal packets for 2013, and thanks to the continuing support of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist for the religious education meal packet project.  In this month of  May the sixth graders put together 156 meals.

I am looking forward to using some of Maria's tips when our youngest children make meals this summer. If you, our reader, want to know more about assembling meal packets, look at this link to the IHS Food Program.  Please contact me with your questions and ideas. Just send a note to the IHS e-mail, and it will be transferred to my attention very shortly.

Margaret Gorman
IHS Food Packet Coordinator

Friday, May 10, 2013

May Start Gets a Boost with Junior League of Charlottesville (JLC) Grant

Infant Car Seat Program a Little Closer to this Year's Goal

Junior League of Charlottesville Logo IHS was selected as a recipient of a Spring 2013 Community Grant from the Junior League of Charlottesville (JLC) in the amount of $750.00 to support our Baby Fund which is dedicated to indigent UVA Medical Center pediatric patients needs.  Specifically, these funds will be used to purchase infant car seats.

Hillary Dack, the 2012-2013 JLC Vice Chair, said in her letter to IHS, "We received a large number of excellent grant applications for this funding cycle, but your outstanding dedications to strengthening our community through the organization's efforts was evident through your application. We are proud to support your vital work in our community."

The JLC Community Celebration to highlight the Junior League's partner agencies this year was hosted on May 1, 2013 at the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia in Charlottesville. IHS Board member, Sam McLawhorn,  attended and personally received the grant  from Margaret Bolton Baudinet, JLC's Community Vice President.

Comments from Sam

SamMc with JCL Award Recipients The IHS Baby Program's primary objective is to provide the infant car seats through UVA Office of Social Work for indigent families who simply cannot afford to purchase this "must have" safety device when an infant is released from the Hospital. The car seats must be new, and three different sizes are requested based on the size of the child upon release.

IHS has been actively providing the infant car seats for two years. The first year projection was for thirty (30) seats for all UVA pediatric clinics; however, the end result was forty-four(44) seats. Our expectation over the next year is for no less than fifty (50) seats. This JLC grant will be so helpful in reaching that goal.  Thank you ... Junior League of Charlottesville!

A Note from UVA Social Worker Vikki Bravo who is retiring May 10th

Hi to the Board of the Volunteer Army of I H S,

I love you guys! I have been at U VA 15 years  and a social worker 36 years. It  has been a privilege to do this work. I see the best of the human spirit. People in very difficult circumstances find that they have strength they didn't know they had. And I H S has given them the extra help to receive medical care with dignity. It has been a joy working with you all, and I look forward to continuing in the Volunteer Army.  Love,  Vikki