Midlothian group volunteers to help Virginians in need - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Midlothian group volunteers to help Virginians in need

Lou Markwith, coordinator of Virginians for RAM, has traveled with volunteers to Wise Co. every year for the last 17 years,  providing three days of free dental, vision, primary medical care, clothing, and anything else a person may need. (Source: NBC12) Lou Markwith, coordinator of Virginians for RAM, has traveled with volunteers to Wise Co. every year for the last 17 years, providing three days of free dental, vision, primary medical care, clothing, and anything else a person may need. (Source: NBC12)
MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) -

There are people in need all over the world, including right here in Virginia. In fact, some of the poorest families live in southwest Virginia.

One Midlothian group works hard every year to meet those families' needs, and this year, the group asks for your help.

Clothes hanging on racks, folded in bags, and sorted by size, make the hallways and rooms of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer look less like a place of worship and more like a fashion warehouse.

However, Lou Markwith says this is not about receiving.

"It's a way for us to give back," said Markwith.

It is about giving. Everything they have will benefit those who need them most, through an organization called RAM, or Remote Area Medical.

"It's an international program providing support to indigent people who don't have health insurance," said Markwith.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, including the Virginians for RAM, which Markwith coordinates, the organization holds clinics in some of the poorest areas of the world.

Every July, for the last 17 years, it has set up shop in Wise County, Virginia, providing three days of free dental, vision, primary medical care, clothing, and anything else a person may need.

"This area is so economically depressed," said Markwith. "So many of the coal mines have closed and continue to close. These people spend up to four nights in their cars in order to get their services because it is all free. Most of these people, it's the only medical care they get the entire year."

Last year, volunteers helped more than 2,400 people. Virginians for RAM donated more than 40,000 pounds of clothing.

This year, they expect to serve even more, and they are asking for your help.

"We try to provide them with everything because we know that they will be able to use these things," said Markwith.

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, located at 2341 Winterfield Rd in Midlothian, will be accepting donations every Saturday in June at the church between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Donations include everything from gently used clothing to new socks and underwear and even toys for children.

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