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Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum, Inc.

"We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. - Sir Winston Churchill
Father hugging children
"You must give sometime to your fellow man. Even if it is a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it"

- Albert Schweitzer

Unmet Needs ... A Narrative for Explanation

Have you ever thought about having to hitch a ride to see a doctor across the state, sleeping in your car overnight outside the appointment place, subsisting on crackers during a 2-day visit, using a hospital or fast food restroom to clean up, and sometimes having one or two kids endure all this with you? It happens in America. It happens here. It does not have to happen when good people know it is happening.

We applaud the dynamic efforts of University of Virginia Health System (medical, social service and chaplaincy) to schedule, treat, monitor, counsel and offer other assistance to all visitors. Yet, particularly sad situations arise for low income long-distance visitors when the Hospitality House has full occupancy or when specific criteria preclude access. Add to that predicament limited access to food assistance and lack of travel money and a harsh reality unfolds. Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum is devoted to helping meet these basic needs

Caring, loving people who are under considerable emotional stress make their way to Charlottesville, Virginia in order to support a loved one, who may be in his or her final days at the University Hospital. When a family learns of a devastating accident to a parent, child, sister, brother, mother, or father, the first reaction is to get to the hospital quickly. The priority is necessarily to be present to comfort and support their loved one. Many travel considerable distances without regard to their own needs.

Thousands of people scattered across several states also travel to the annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic at the Wise, Virginia fairground. It is quite literally their only opportunity to meet with medical professionals for evaluation and treatment without charge. Most of the medical volunteers are from the UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville.

Each year, hundreds of these remote-area, screened patients are offered a chance for follow-up appointments for thorough diagnostic procedures and treatment - if they are able to travel to Charlottesville. Nor is the Remote Area Medical Clinic the only point of referral. Many distant rural clinics, permanent and mobile, routinely refer low income, uninsured patients who cannot be properly diagnosed in their locations, or treated in smaller local hospitals, to the UVA medical facilities and physicians in Charlottesville.

The lack of a job (often due to poor health), very little food for the trip, no idea of what lodging will cost, just enough gas money for a one-way trip - these challenges can easily be overwhelming for people visiting loved ones or seeking medical care for themselves in a distant locale.

There are even situations - a growing concern to UVA Social Services - in which these same visitors or patients, many of the latter with only Medicaid, do not have funds for prescription copays. Their choice: buying gas for the trip home or using the money for prescriptions.

I have now described a small bundle of  "unmet needs" with a large impact on patients and family members who live far from a major comprehensive medical center and whose financial resources are meager. While some visitors are able to pay a portion of their away-from-home expenses for short periods, many others cannot.

How might the burdens be eased so that patients can better concentrate on healing, and family members on comforting their loved ones?

Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum is working closely with the Office of Social Work to assist with covering the costs of temporary lodging, food, co-pay, periodic emergency prescriptions, travel assistance, and assorted items for the Pediatric Clinic (infant car seats, clothes, etc.).

We are dedicated to providing assistance in the most economically efficient way. We have arrangements with several fine hotels for a reduced room rate, and we continue to seek further participation in this program from other lodging facilities. No one served by this charity is asked to pay. When a social worker calls, a commercial hotel only comes into play when UVA Hospitality House (HH) is fully occupied, or restrictions prohibit use of HH. We have expanded our assistance in the last year to also assist with the fee at HH for those visitors who simply cannot afford the smallest fee for their stay.

We are so very pleased with the development of the full day Meal Packet Program, which replaced bi-monthly delivery of frozen dinners for caregivers in the Pediatric Clinic, Cancer Center, Emergency Clinic, etc. Area support initiated through the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Charlottesville was expanded and now receives support from area Boy and Girl Scout troops, Sunday school classes, elementary school clubs, and even neighborhood groups year round. IHS still supports Hospitality House (HH) with frozen dinners, etc. as needed and requested for guests without adequate nutrition.

Our future vision for this charity, as described elsewhere in this website, is a non-profit residential facility near Charlottesville.

We cannot do this alone. Now we must turn to you, people with good hearts and a little money to share, to enable this community to move forward along its compassionate pathway

We are doing our part one day at a time. The medical and support professionals, including the members of our distinguished board of advisors, continue to lend their support and expertise. NOW is the time to ask everyone who can to reach out with a helping hand with prayers, good wishes, and whatever financial contribution they are able to make. Thank you for helping meet an acute and increasing need. Thank you ... Thomas Wade Clegg III

Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum, Inc. - PO Box 163 - Palmyra, Virginia 22963
Telephone: 434.589.4864
Website: www.interfaithhumanitariansanctum.org
Email to:ihsanctum@gmail.com

©2014 Sammc Consultants, Inc., Sam McLawhorn, Lake Monticello, VA 22963 - 434.589.6363