Millie Rothrock Wytheville Corporate
WYTHEVILLE — What started as a $20 gift exchange with a white elephant among a group of medical students has turned into a toy and clothing drive that has raised more than $4,000 in items for children in Wythe and Bland counties.
The 10 third-year students, who attend Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, are completing their clinical rotations in Wytheville. Meredith J. Summers, clinical site coordinator, said the idea to raise funds and toys for the kids came as the students were planning a vacation reunion.
“I mentioned to the medical students that there are children in our community who could benefit from support this holiday season,” she said. “They jumped at the chance to help and raised over $4,000 to support the children of Wytheville and Bland. One student, Richard “Richie” Cannella, took to social media to get donations from friends and family. »
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Originally, the group planned to sponsor just one child, but as donations increased, so did the number of children they could help. In all, they helped 35 children: 24 children in Bland County, five children at Spiller Elementary School, and six children through the Salvation Army. Donations totaled $4,560.05 from 73 donors. The group received $1,000 worth of donated items, including clothing, games and toys. Students purchased 342 items for children.
Cannella said people take Christmas gifts for granted when many kids just want something to keep them warm. He said his parents, Rich and Natalie Cannella, and their family and friends at Poquoson, did make donations, including a violin and bow, and an Xbox with a bag of games. Her parents also kept all donations and finances in order, Cannella said.
He described his hometown as “Wytheville on the Chesapeake Bay”.
“It has four red lights, 10,000 people; it’s quite small,” he said. “There was an outpouring of support. We got way more than expected.
None of the medical students are from Wythe or Bland County, but the area has been very welcoming to students, Summers said.
“We want it to be like a home away from home,” she said. “We hope they like it so much that they become doctors again.”
Cannella was particularly impressed with the local Walmart. When a Walmart package was stolen before he could bring it inside, the local store apologized, replaced the contents and threw away a gift card – all within two hours of learn to fly.
Each child helped by the group received all the items on their wish list, as well as pants, shirts, coats and shoes. Students ensured that children who only asked for clothes also received toys.
Spiller Elementary School Principal Scott Hoagland said the school appreciates all holiday donations.
“The old adage is true: it really does take a whole village to raise and educate a child. So many students and families in our community are in need, and those needs are heightened during the holiday season,” Hoagland said. “We are so grateful for the generosity of VCOM students, our local churches, Shop-With-A-Cop, the Angel Tree program and other community partners. Their willingness to give allows children to experience the magic and wonder of the holiday season.
Bland Ministry Center Director Dee Dee Hoosier also appreciated student donations.
“Our mission this Christmas has been to spread joy. We are so grateful to everyone who has partnered with us to accomplish this mission, whether they have adopted an angel, collected canned food, or sent monetary donations,” a- “VCOM students at Wythe County Community Hospital have gone above and beyond, making thoughtful purchases for over 15 local families,” she said. When we talk to families during registration, we hear a wish from the child or a favorite character or even something they particularly need. It’s so exciting to sort through the gifts that come in and see that someone has picked out a cute pink winter coat or found that City Lego set a kid’s been dreaming of. We know how hard the VCOM team works all year round, and for them, including “our” children in their Christmas gifts is very important to us. »