EDITORIAL: Celebration Village

By NEMS Daily Journal

Tonight, the ninth annual Celebration Village holiday shopping market – the principal annual fundraiser for Sanctuary Hospice House – opens its three-day run with a gala preview party at Tupelo Furniture Market’s Building V.
The families and friends of almost 1,400 people who have found closure in life at Sanctuary Hospice in Tupelo or in its home hospice service praise the not-for-profit, ecumenical Christian ministry for providing dignified, sensitive and palliative care since its opening in 2005.
Celebration Village, a Christmas bazaar, started raising funds for Sanctuary before the first brick was laid, and in total has provided $2 million for the on-going work of the facility where care is provided without expectation of payment for all who seek its services.
Sanctuary accepts per-diem payment from various insurance plans like Medicare and Medicaid, private insurance plans held by individuals, and donations, but no one is turned away for lack of ability to pay.
Executive Director Linda Gholston said clients from 35 Mississippi counties, and from western Alabama and southern Tennessee, have come to Sanctuary. They have been referred by more than 250 physicians, an impressive measure of confidence in the doctors and nurses and other staff who have worked for Sanctuary, plus its large and supportive volunteer auxiliary.
Some doubted the need for a hospice like Sanctuary when planning started and a proposal was put forward to the community. The need and effectiveness are proven beyond doubt. Every day has a waiting list. The daily average census is 16 – every bed filled.
Demand for the service is so great that Sanctuary’s board has formed a building committee to plan an eight-bed addition, bringing to 24 the on-site beds. A capital campaign is anticipated. Additional expansion of the home hospice program is a certainty.
Sanctuary has a budget of about $1.8 million per year, and while it manages to operate in the black, it has no sizable reserves.
Fifty percent of its income comes from Celebration Village, the Jack Riley Memorial Golf Tournament and Sanctuary Village Shop, and critically various forms of philanthropy, including individual donations. Sanctuary cannot make it without the generosity shown through Celebration Village and the direct gifts of those who know and appreciate the Sanctuary story.
The Daily Journal is among Sanctuary’s supporters, as are many of our employees.
Consider Celebration Village for the cause it supports and the compassion Sanctuary provides.