Donation checks can be made to
"A SMALL HAND" or
"EDINBURG CHRISTIAN CHURCH" (with memo For A SMALL HAND)
"A SMALL HAND" or
"EDINBURG CHRISTIAN CHURCH" (with memo For A SMALL HAND)
A SMALL HAND, Edinburg Christian Church, 210 Center Street, Edinburg, VA 22824-0117
TAX ID [501 c 3] : 541098005
DUNS Edinburg Christian Church A Small Hand : 019254536
Feeding America Membership / Blue Ridge Area Food Bank : 1069-2
A Small Hand opened its doors on May 14th 2010 with a Week of Compassion grant of $5,000 from our national church (Christian Church - Disciples of Christ). A Small Hand is an outreach project of Edinburg Christian Church which provides us with our space, utilities and our 501 c.3 status. The work of A Small Hand, however, has absolutely no element of evangelism. We welcome people from other faiths and with no religious affiliation to volunteer and to serve on our Board. We enforce a stringent non-discrimination policy with regard to every aspect of our operations.
From the beginning, we knew that A Small Hand would only survive if it attracted support from people of goodwill across Shenandoah County. Since we opened, we have received help from a broad range of church and civic groups and from many individuals in Shenandoah County and beyond. In our first eight months, we raised just over $16,000 in monetary donations and $30,000 in donated goods. In January 2011, as we planned, we extended our age range from 24 months to 36 months.
A Small Hand is a specialist pantry serving infants in need throughout Shenandoah County. It is modeled after infant pantries in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.  We are the only pantry devoted to serving infants in Shenandoah County; and we know of no other in Virginia. In order to properly serve our infants, we must have appropriate approved formulas and foods constantly available, together with a full range of disposable diapers and baby essentials. Whilst we solicit donations of goods, and are members of the Food Bank, much of what we need has to be purchased; and this is why we seek grants and monetary donations. Specialist infant pantries elsewhere depend on Foundations, Businesses and Corporations to provide funds for Formula, Food, Diapers and expensive baby essentials. They look to individuals for donations of gently-used clothing and other baby items. This broadly is the model that we are following.
Our Mission: We believe that no infant in Shenandoah County should go hungry or lack the basic essentials to be comfortable. And so our mission is to provide formula, food, diapers and baby essentials to young infants in times of need.
To remain focused on the smallest and the most vulnerable, infants at risk for long-term harm from inadequate nutrition and hygiene, certain that they are never to blame for the crisis they are experiencing.
* To supply help at no cost, and in a manner that will encourage people to return.
* To treat everyone accessing our help with compassion, respect and without judgment.
* To do what we can to support people and connect them with other helping agencies.
* To be good stewards of the goods, time, money and help donated to us - by ensuring that those assisted are in need and by keeping our costs to the minimum required to safeguard quality and professionalism.
Being good stewards - channeling our help to those in need
We serve only infants enrolled in government supplemental feeding programs (SNAP or WIC ) and families specially referred by the Department of Social Services or the Department of Health. In this way, we channel our help to infants who have been professionally screened and identified as living in situations of poverty and economic need.
SNAP (Food Stamps)  and WIC  are vital supplemental feeding programs, but neither was designed to meet the full nutritional needs of recipients. Parents are expected to have the resources to purchase additional food. However, this is not always realistic. Sickness, high fuel bills, reduced working hours, unemployment and unplanned expenses are the sorts of events that break fragile budgets. In poor families, money for food is one of the few areas where savings can be made. Many poor families are chronically short of food towards the end of the month. Inevitably, therefore, there are times when poor families lack the money to feed their infant in an appropriate way. A study in late 2010, found that food insecurity was a problem for 1 in 5 families in Shenandoah County. Poverty is especially high for single mothers with children under 5 years of age.  Infant malnutrition - feeding inappropriate foods, watering down formula and stretching the interval between feeds, can have serious long-term consequences for infants. This is what A Small Hand is designed to prevent. A Small Hand provides infants in need with a full week of formula and age-appropriate foods.
WIC and SNAP only cover food items. It is expected that families will have money to purchase non-food essentials such as diapers, wet-wipes, feeding bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups. For reasons already discussed, this is not always realistic. A Small Hand provides families with a week's supply of disposable diapers and wet-wipes. The current national campaign 'Changing diapers, Changing Lives'  is designed to channel free diapers to low-income families, on the grounds that:
There are no government aid programs to help families buy/receive diapers.
Inadequate diaper changing increases the risk of numerous health problems including diaper rash and may be linked to an increased rate of hepatitis.
Day care centers require parents to leave disposable diapers with their child. Low-income parents cannot use or take advantage of free or subsidized childcare, if they cannot afford to leave disposable diapers at the childcare centers.
Uncomfortable babies cry and don't sleep well at night—this leads to poorly-rested and higher-stressed parents and siblings, which can contribute to illnesses, absences and reduced performance levels at work and school.
A baby crying from a soiled diaper for a prolonged period of time may be at a greater risk of physical abuse by the caregiver, as recognized in studies of patterns of abuse among low-income families.
A Small Hand addresses immediate nutritional and hygiene needs; it provides families with what infants need to grow and thrive. It also offers access to gently-used clothing and other donated items. Everything is free. In these ways, we hope to help families stretch their limited resources for the days ahead.
Being good stewards - delivering quality help at minimum cost
• Edinburg Christian Church provides the space and utilities for A Small Hand without charge.
• Our Board, Administrators and workers are all volunteers. Three or more people serve in our shop on each shift; we are open 9-11 and 5-7 each Thursday. All of our fundraising, administration, goods pick-up, packaging and organization is done at zero-cost. Many people working with A Small Hand are members of our church; but we have at least 9 people actively working with us who are not, and we are actively searching for more.
• We are members of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. To date, our experience is that formula, baby foods and other baby essentials - such as feeding bottles, shampoo/wash, lotion, toothbrushes and paste - are seldom available and never in bulk. Such items usually are the result of community goods drives. We are committed to stocking WIC-approved formulas and foods, and this typically involves purchasing such items in the local market. We buy whatever foods we can from the Food Bank, but this to date this has been a small fraction of what we need. Since February 2011, skids of diapers have become available through Good360 and the Food Bank; these have drastically cut our diaper costs. Such donations cannot be relied upon, and may not provide a full range of sizes. But we have already realized savings of well over $13,000 compared with purchasing store-brand diapers.
• We do everything we can to buy quality items at the lowest cost - taking advantage of store brands, special promotions and manufacturers' coupons whenever we can. Abbott Nutrition has supplied us with coupons for WIC formulas. On the advice of Diaper Banks, we purchase WalMart Parents' Choice diapers; their experience indicates that these are a quality diaper at minimum cost.
• We are members of Good360 International and First Book, and from time to time are able to secure goods at drastically reduced cost, and sometimes at no cost.
• The most important vehicle for cost-saving is the generosity of people, corporations and businesses donating goods to A Small Hand. Last year, we estimate that we received $30,000 worth of goods. We had major donations of goods from Mercury Paper Inc. and from Food Lion. Some Shenandoah area Boy Scout troops included A Small Hand in their Scouting for Food drive, and the FCCLA of Strasburg High School secured over $4000 worth of goods for us just before Christmas. Many women's groups have held baby showers for our children; and our clothing rails have been filled thanks to the generosity of local families.
Demand for services
Based on WIC figures for 2010, we projected 400-600 infant visits per annum, and this was realized. Given the steady increase in demand during 2010, and the fact that we have extended our age range from 24 months to 36 months at the beginning of 2011, we budgeted for 800 visits in 2011. By the end of June 2011, however, we had already served 1200 visits and now expect to serve 2500 during 2011. As a result we have increased the funds we are attempting to raise to $40,000; knowing that even this will not be sufficient unless we can continue to secure donations of diapers, and further decrease what we have to spend to secure the formula and food we need.
The latest available WIC enrollment figures for Shenandoah County (November 2010) were
327 infants [newborn-12 months] and 438 infants [13 months - 5 years].
Good nutrition, beginning in utero and continuing throughout the first years of life, is critical for ensuring optimal health, growth and development. Children and society pay a heavy price when nutrition is inadequate. Children pay with compromised development and attainment, and our society funds the ongoing services needed to deal with the resulting health, schooling and behavioral problems.
A Small Hand is designed to prevent the negative consequences associated with suboptimal nutrition and hygiene in early childhood, and play a role in ensuring that all infants in Shenandoah County realize their full potential for health and development. Our experience is that our parents are financially poor, but in no sense are they poor parents. They are doing their best to provide for their children; and delight in having access to what they know their child needs - including adequate food, diapers, toothbrushes and paste, wash and books. We try to keep a stock of books for our young infants and for their older siblings. We recently acquired a donation of 24 boxes of new children's books from Borders and will use this to encourage children to begin a home library of their own, and so foster a love of reading. Shenandoah County Library and the school system have provided us with multiple donations of books for which we are very grateful.
National statistics indicate that there is only one book per 300 children living in low-income homes in the USA. We know we can do better than this for families visiting A Small Hand!
Long-term strategies for Funding
Many new non-profits fail, and we realize that we need to prove that we can survive and grow before we can compete for grants from large national foundations - this, however, is our long-term goal.
In the near future, we will be seeking help from:
1. Church domestic relief programs - we received a grant from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Week of Compassion in 2010; and have been awarded a 2011 Domestic Hunger grant of $2500 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - through the support of the SCLA churches in Edinburg.
2. Community Grants from the WalMart Foundation. In 2010, we received a total of $1500 in grants.
We will request grants from area stores in 2011.
3. Businesses and Corporations. We received a $1000 dollar grant from United Bank in 2010, and again in 2011. We will be approaching other entities with a presence in Shenandoah County for help in 2011. We are searching for local and national businesses and corporation that have a commitment to helping infants in need.
4. The Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program distributes funds to assist Shenandoah County Food Bank Pantries, and we expect to receive some portion in 2011.
5. We are honored to have been selected to share with the Jason Long Memorial Scholarship Fund the proceeds of the Valley Foundation Music Festival in March 2011.
6. In 2010, much of our help came from local civic and church groups and individuals. We are trusting that this will persist if we are seen to be delivering help to those who need it in a cost-effective way. To this end, our web-site provides a fully transparent picture of what we do, the help we receive, and how we spend our funds.
2010 Expenses and 2011 Projections
We accept donations in two forms - money and goods. We place a conservative monetary value on all goods donated. At the end of 2010, we had received over $30,000 worth of goods. We estimate that about a third was distributed to families during 2010. We spent $6,050 by year's end, servicing 285 infant visits - an average cost of $21 per visit. To this must be added $10,000 of distributed goods. And so, on average, we estimate that families received $56 worth of help each visit. The cost of providing help varies greatly with the age of the infant. This year we are seeing many more newborn babies. Our best-estimate of average cost is $37 per visit, this is based on data from Infant Crisis Services  of Oklahoma City, a pantry that serves 18,000 visits each year and which has been in existence for nearly 30 years.
We began 2011 with $10,235.32 in the bank. We aim to keep at least $10,000 in reserve to weather interruptions in giving, and unexpected surges in demand.
When we factor in the value of the goods, time and skills donated to A SMALL HAND, we view our program as having a value of well over $123,000. Due to the generosity of all involved, however, we aim to serve 2500 infant visits for a total monetary cost of $40, 000.
2010 INCOME BREAKDOWN:
Donations of $1,000 or more
$5000 - Week of Compassion, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
$1000 - United Bank
$1000 - WalMart Foundation Community Grant - Mt. Crawford Distribution Center
$1000 - Individual Donor
$1000 - Shenandoah County Thrift Store
District 11 Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) Groups - 6 donations- $1200
Area Methodist Churches - 3 donations - $467
Area Lutheran Churches - 2 donations - $1,283
First Church, Columbia Furnace - $50
The Lords Chapel, Edinburg - $500
Woodstock Clothes Closet Thrift Store - $500
Kiwanis, Moose Clubs, Ruritan Clubs, Rotary Clubs, VFW
11 donations - $935
WalMart Foundation Community Grant, Front Royal SuperCenter - $500
 Infant Crisis Services, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK. http://www.infantcrisis.org/
Emergency Infant Services, Tulsa, OK https://emergencyinfantservices.org/
Local Infant Formula for Emergencies, Houston, TX. http://www.lifehouston.org/
 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
 Women, Infants and Children Program
 Food Research and Action Center Report January 2010. Food Hardship: A closer look at hunger. http://www.frac.org/pdf/food_hardship_report_2010.pdf