Greensville County High School’s parking lot was full of in state and out of state cars Saturday morning.
There were some people sleeping in the front seat of vehicles while others were stretched out in the back. All were there for free medical, dental or vision care.
The first day of the annual Remote Area Medical Clinic began on Saturday and continued through Sunday offering care to the medically underserved and uninsured.
The gates opened at 5 a.m. each day with a first come first served basis. Cathy Polk, of Raleigh, N.C. said she has medical insurance but doesn’t have dental or vision insurance.
“I am so looking forward to getting my vision checked,” she said. “I didn’t know until I arrived and registered that I would walk away today with not just one pair but two pair of eyeglasses.”
Larry Hill needed many teeth extracted, he had been out in the crowd waiting since 2:30 a.m.
“I am number 192,” he said. “I came last year and it was so crowded I went back home. This year I was sure to get here earlier.”
Even though many volunteers pointed out that, it didn’t seem to be as many participants as years past. There were still hundreds that filed through the gates on Saturday while many more waited outside for their chance to be seen by a professional in the dental, vision and medical fields who volunteered their time. By 10:25 a.m. there were 566 participants signed in and registered.
The RAM clinic is much needed here in the Emporia-Greensville community said some leaders from the area who were there to volunteer there services or show support. According to census data, Greensville County, alone has a poverty rate of 23.7 percent. The county is also near the bottom in terms of health quality ranking.
FeedMore provided healthy snacks and beverages during the event for all participants. Before going home, each participate during the event was given a box of healthy foods to take home courtesy of Feed More.
Outside of the medical, dental and vision services, there were additional services including opioid/narcan training, women’s health, hearing test, local pharmacy services to name a few.
You could also find on the grounds a prayer tent set up by Grace Community Fellowship Church of Emporia. Its volunteers were handing out bibles along with faith based books and literature.
“It is our way of witnessing and helping to bring people one step closer to God,” said Terry Kasper.
Inside the gymnasium dozens sat on the bleachers, waiting for their turn in a dentist chair, some for the first time and others saying they have been to the clinic previous years and reported a positive experience.
The event was undoubtedly, overwhelming on many levels. From the experts and professionals personal time and effort, to more than 400 smiling volunteers, and the citizens that truly needed it and seemed beyond grateful for the services.