How can my ministry group prevent this from happening again?
Our group makes, among other items, burial gowns for babies. (I know it sounds morbid, but there's a need). We give the gowns to funeral homes, with the understanding the gowns will be GIVEN to the bereaved parents if they want to dress their baby in it. Clothes for preemies are hard to find and these gowns are lovingly made with all kinds of little frills and things. Now we've found one funeral home has been charging for the burial gown we supplied for free.
We're a Christian group, so we're not going to sue or gossip about this funeral home. But short of not giving the homes these gowns any more, is there a way to keep this from happening again? Or accept it as a risk we have to take?
Yes, we thought of a contract, but if they break it, our only recourse would be to sue, and that's out of the question for us.
(((Kychick))) (((joe c))) My friends!
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
I honestly think hospitals are the best idea. Virtually all baby deaths end up at a hospital, but not all end up at funeral homes. There's a lot of options regarding how to handle a child who's already died, but a death certificate has to be written up, and death can only be officially proclaimed by a doctor. Also, cause of death has to be taken into consideration. Hospitals are almost exclusively the end result for deaths at any age.
Hospitals also virtually always have social workers and volunteers. Probably best person to talk to in person is the front desk person for the regular hospital entrance, Not the ER. Also, there's likely a general purpose line for the hospital if you want to call, ask for "Social services."
The vast majority of the time, the hospital attempts to help the family deal with death, particularly in case of the death of a young child. If you offer your gowns to the social services department of the hospital, you can be virtually guaranteed they'll be given away for free (hospitals also do a LOT of free services, such as volunteers, free medication provided from patient assistance programs, and various services from within the social services department).
You may want to just give the gowns to the hospital, or you may want to give your number. If just the number, clarify you're giving the gowns away completely for free, with no strings attached, and the only reason you're not giving them the gowns is you'd like the parents to have the chance to customize the child's clothing (like request a specific color or somesuch). Reason for that is hospitals are usually very suspicious of people trying to take advantage of a distraught family. Sadly, that sort of thing is fairly common.
I worked in a patient assistance program, as a customer service rep, so I've spent Many hours speaking with the social workers for the hospitals and larger doctor's offices. Sometimes they share stories, and some people have pulled nasty things. Hospitals usually are good about referring people to charity things, but often don't mention things that cost money. If they get even the faintest idea that you'll charge for the gowns in some fashion, there's a good chance they'll ignore you if you just give your number.
That is my full, complete, unabridged suggestion :P
- Middle ManLv 51 decade ago
I'd get a contract that spells out that they cannot charge for them.
Edit: Okay, thinking a little more, I don't know how opposed you really are to the concept of charging something for the clothes - I mean, it's not like the clothes aren't already being sold, it's just that you don't get any of the money. What I might try is this: sell them (get contracts, at least you would want to get a feel for what they funeral home is charging), give the profits (or revenues) to whatever other cause you see fit. Meanwhile, sew your labels in there and put a phone number on it. If somebody contacts you, you can be pretty sure they're just trying to get a better price and just give them the gowns directly (and you might want to keep that...from the funeral homes. In fact, you may actually want to GIVE a different style or color from the gowns you sell to the funeral homes, that way the homes won't get angry that you're undercutting them (but you kind of are and they will see the kid in the gown)). Good luck.
Also, don't go in thinking you can't sue, go in thinking you probably won't have to - but that you want some control over the distribution.
- 1 decade ago
The contract ideas are good ones, even if you don't have any intention of suing. Also, definitely contact your state funeral association, as another poster suggested. At the very least, this is an obviously unethical practice.
In regards to giving the gowns to the hospital instead of the funeral home, definitely give a call to the Pastoral Care departments of any or all of your local hospitals. Someone there will be happy to help you! They may be very willing to accept the gowns on behalf of parents ans see that they reach their intended recipients for free, and they'll probably also be able to get the word out to many local clergy people that your group is offering this service.
Many blessings...Source(s): Pastoral Care volunteer.
- Orpheus RisingLv 51 decade ago
What about printing tags to go with the gowns? Something like:
"This gown has been made available at no cost by ________
If you have been charged for this garment please call ______"
I don't know. It could also be a means to make contact with grieving families who might be looking for support in time of need. The group I used to be in made a special point of arranging meals for new parents or families that had recently had a death or disability. It's amazing how people respond to the idea of having a free meal dropped off once a day or a couple times a week - no pressure, just "here you go, hope you're doing ok."
Of course nothing keeps the funeral home from discarding the tag, but it's a thought.
Peace to you.
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- KyLoveChickLv 71 decade ago
Oh wow, ecterbob! My blood is boiling after reading your post!
Wish I was there to be your spokeswoman. I would visit the funeral home and speak to the owner. Adamantly explain to them the purpose of making and donating the gowns was done out of Christian love and charity for grieving parents. NOT as a means of profit for them. There is a time when Christians have to take a stand for what is right. Then say you hope to never hear of them selling your gifts again. There would be no need for an actual threat. I think they would get the message.
Another means may be to contact the local hospital Chaplins. Let them know about the gowns. Possibly you could give the gowns directly to the parents.
What a beautiful gift your group is creating. Breaks my heart to think it would be abused so terribly.
EDIT: After reading Dr. Tommy Skelton's answer, I feel he probably has the best solution. You see sweetie, Kychick has a bit of a temper. :(
- Anonymous1 decade ago
what a loving ministry... i can't imagine what the parents must feel like recieving such a special gift. all that love in their time of need. you group must have hearts of gold.
as for the funeral home, i would have a sit down with their manager/president, etc and your group president and pastor/preacher.
explain to them the situation and that these were a donation. perhaps you are mistaken and they really aren't charging for the gowns... but if they are then you may need to stop providing them the gowns
but chances are... even if they have been charging for the gowns and they stop, then they will make up another charge to recoup that money. i know that sounds horrible, but if they were charging money for something that was free... then how good of people are they to begin with.
- just meLv 71 decade ago
Since you have found out then the word has already gotten around, you do not have to spread gossip; to let people know what has happened is not gossip. You can write to the families involved expressing your grief at what has happened and offer to reimburse them.My guess is anyone affected will not take you up on this. As for the funeral home do not provide anymore clothes. See if there is way for you to give it directly to the ones who need it.
- tskelton155Lv 51 decade ago
Every state has a funeral home association that governs the conduct and ethics of each funeral home and its director and employees. Contact the state representative and address your concerns. It is unethical to obtain commercial gain from a charitable gift and may have criminal overtures (possible fraud). In the mean time, you might also try stamping (in indelliable ink that cannot be removed) "This gown is a charitabe gift from the _______________ with our blessings." or a message along those lines.
Dr. Tommy Skelton
- MarilynLv 44 years ago
The average age of the commencement of sexual activity in the EU is 15 years and 8 months. The very lowest age of consent, is 14 years. In Islam a girl is considered a woman as soon as she has her first period, and ready to have sex with her husband. Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha when, in solar terms, she was 8 years and 9 months old. Teenage sex =/= child marriage Mohamed B, if you don't like the way things are done in Europe where the kuffar have taken you into their homes and given you a house and a job and a standard of living that is greater than anything you could have dreamed off in the Shariah paradise you came from, feel free to leave. And by the way, we all know that non-Muslim foreign workers in Saudi Arabia are allowed purely for economic reasons. They are isolated from the general population in their own compounds and they have no political representation whatsoever. Saudi Arabia has 5 million expatriates, and still quotes itself as 100% Muslim. Religious apartheid at its finest - even Israel calls itself only 76% Jewish.
- salvationLv 51 decade ago
I would put an add in the paper to let people know that you are making these gowns for the babies, and that they are free. God knows your heart, and it is so wrong for people to take advantage of gifts that God has bless you with for the talent. Talk to them, and share your heart with them. Ask them for a donation towards the buying the clothes since they took advantage of your gift. Ask them if you could leave a brochure for the people if they need one for a small child.