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Clinic gets big donation from vacation Bible school

The Western Tidewater Free Clinic is well stocked for a while, thanks to the generosity of some local vacation Bible school attendees.

About 50 children from the Oakland Christian Church vacation Bible school collected piles of office supplies, snacks, paper products and cleaning supplies for the free clinic.

Among the donations — 15 reams of paper, 5,000 staples, 14 boxes of tissues, 72 bottles of water, seven containers of disinfectant wipes, 330 single servings of various snacks, and 31 rolls of toilet paper.

“I was just astounded,” said Wanda Gerard, the VBS project coordinator. “That was pretty phenomenal.”

In addition to the more tangible supplies, the children also raised more than $600 for the clinic’s coffers.

The church’s VBS chooses a service project each year to benefit from contributed items and money. This year, the free clinic won out over other areas of need because it is local, Gerard said.

“They wanted to do something local,” she said. “It’s something the kids can sort of relate to, and they can feel they contributed.”

Some of the Bible school attendees agreed that helping people feels good.

“It was fun to go out and buy the stuff and bring it back and put it in the box,” Sonora Curliss said.

Sister Kimmy Curliss agreed.

“I was helping some people because it feels good,” she said.

Gerard explained to the children how they were helping the free clinic during the VBS, she said.

“I talked a little bit about what we were doing,” she said. “The products we bring in help them to stretch their budget money to buy things they really need.”

Learning to care for their neighbors is a critical portion of vacation Bible school, Gerard said.

“I think our goal is for the children to realize the importance of giving not only with money, but also giving items they know will be useful to somebody,” she said.