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More than 200 children gathered at the Naval Air Station Lemoore Chapel last week to participate in the annual Vacation Bible School (VBS). The week-long event was open to children in grades pre-k through sixth and was free of charge.

The program was held under the leadership of Chaplain Keith Ritter and his wife, Michele, who arrived in Lemoore via Oregon last winter. The couple along with Chapel staff recruited 50 volunteers to ensure the program’s success and made sure all children in attendance received plenty of attention.

“What a privilege to serve our kids at NAS Lemoore. Their energy and joy were infectious. We had an incredible team of volunteers who poured their hearts into our kids and helped make this program a success. VBS will be a week I won’t soon forget,” said Michele Ritter.

The children spent the week pretending to be shipwrecked on an unchartered island waiting to be rescued by Jesus. In addition to learning Bible stories, they learned choreographed songs, conducted science experiments and participated in outdoor games.

In previous years the Chapel’s VBS week had been held in the evening, but the decision was made to hold it in the morning this year to make use of the Chapel’s outdoor space before temperatures were too high.

The children donated nonperishable goods to the Chapel’s food pantry throughout the week, and by Friday 618 items had been collected. A friendly boys versus girls competition ensued to encourage families to donate to the vital base resource. The pantry is usually stocked with a variety of canned goods, cereals, personal health care and baby items, such as formula and diapers.

“We have people who use the pantry every week, so thank you to everyone who donated,” said Chaplain Brian Hamer to the crowd at the end of the week.

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