When Rural Health Services opened the Clyburn Center at 8 a.m. Thursday, and families were already lined up to take advantage of the center's free events for National Health Center Week.

The day's events included a school supplies giveaway and free haircuts for children courtesy of the Aiken School of Cosmetology.

"I like this," said Angela Crech, who brought two children to the events. "When I saw this in the paper, I thought it would be good."

Volunteer staff worked the events, and different gift bags were set up for elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Chakira Raines was one volunteer who also made gift bags for college students, including items such as laundry detergent and rolls of quarters for washing machines. She put the bags together and paid for them out of her own pocket.

Gail Diggs, director of outreach and community services, organized the events at Rural Health Services for National Health Center Week.

"This is specifically for our patients," Diggs said. "We'd love to serve the whole community, but our funds will not allow us to do that."

Diggs said the week-long series of events are a way of thanking the community for their support which has allowed Rural Health Services to grow in Aiken.

"When I started over at Margaret J. Weston, we had about 35 staff," Diggs said. "Now we have about 120 staff."

National Health Center Week will conclude at the Clyburn Center, the Margaret J. Weston Community Health Center and Family Health Care on Friday with Staff and Patient Appreciation Day. Lunch will be provided for staff and patients of Rural Health Services Inc. during the event.

Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.