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Therapy Dogs And Snack Packs

May 13, 2020

Riverbank Elementary is closed but that hasn’t stopped school nurse Ruth Neese.

Her mission is helping others.

The Lexington 2 school nurse  has taken her work into the community to reach students and others.

Neese started with goody bags after schools were closed by covid-19.

“I shopped for the items to fill my first 50 bags.

“I started with drop-off yard visits, so I could see the faces of sweet children and send words of encouragement to their families.”

She later put together 350 bags for Easter, thanks to candy donations made to the Scooter Scott Project.

She delivered those bags to Riverbank Elementary  along with snack bags toto the weekday drive-thru and bus delivery meal service.

“Now, I’m collecting donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and other self-care items,” Neese said.

“I just couldn’t see a candy bag without a dental care follow-up!”

She also has 2 certified therapy dogs, Jet and Lu.

They have been working on read-alouds, drive-by visits and stops to some Lexington County Fire Service stations.

“We have been temporarily displaced from our usual pet therapy commitments, so staying in touch with our community has kept our ministry moving forward,” she said

Her dogs typically visit extended care and adult day care centers and greet Sunday travelers passing through Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

She hopes this fall to visit children at Lexington County Library’s Cayce-West Columbia branch, and return to regular commitments with Jet and Lu.

Riverbank Elementary Principal David Sims said Neese “definitely chose the right profession.

“She loves helping others and meeting their needs.

“Ruth has partnered with community resources to provide food, assistance, and comfort.

“She even took time to share her therapy dogs with first responders.”

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