The Advisory Board for Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Barbour County met in Eufaula at the RSVP office at the end of May to get an update on what is going on with the organization.
RSVP Executive Director Sheila Hammond called the meeting to order and welcomed all the advisory board members before going into her informative report for the meeting.
“RSVP has a total of 146 volunteers, of which 110 actively turn in time sheets. These volunteers have 39 Volunteer Stations to choose from to volunteer at, with all but four of these stations having volunteers actively participating in them,” Hammond commented. “We are in a continuous search for both new volunteers and Volunteer Stations.”
RSVP receives funds from Corporation for National and Community Service (Federal), State, United Way, and City of Eufaula. They are not a city, county, state, or federal program. The program receives funds for two paid employees and cost of operations with some of their funding coming from the county commission, the Macon County Racing Commission and from other donations and contributions. Some of the funding the program relies upon from the United Way for operating costs has been drastically cut this year, so the program will be relying heavily on fund raisers to help support the program.
“We have our annual Bake Sale in November, the Friday before Thanksgiving. We also try to incorporate a Craft Sale with it which helps to increase the funds we raise. There are a couple other things we do through the year to try to bring in some money so we can do things for our volunteers. We try to recognize our volunteers as much as we can by holding birthday parties and doing other things for them,” Hammond said, explaining what grants the program has received and which ones they will be applying for in the coming months. “Funding is our biggest challenge and I am in need of some funding.”
As a way to raise funds later this year, the organization would like to raffle off a grill or smoker sometime before Christmas. They hope to be able to find a retailer who would donate one of the items for the fundraiser.
The staff of the local RSVP is in the process of renovating part of the building which houses the program. Years ago the majority of the kitchen in the building was removed, rendering it useless. Hammond, Zola Denson, Administrative Assistant to Hammond, and volunteers have been working hard to restore functionality to the kitchen area by getting a stove and cabinetry installed. A new stove was donated to the program by J.J. White at Tyson-Keystone Foods.
“We are getting it back in shape with help,” Hammond said. “We want the volunteers to be able to bake and prepare for birthday parties and board meetings so we do not have to spend money out of our pockets for these things.” She noted that the program had received a grant from WRC & D to cover some of the expenses of having the kitchen area renovated.
Hammond explained about how anyone can become Volunteer Friend through RSVP, donating time and experience to the community, and help the local office boost their volunteer numbers in the process, saying, “RSVP is not only for those that are 55 years and older. You can become a Volunteer Friend of RSVP. In order to be considered a Volunteer Friend of RSVP you can be less than 55. We have Volunteer opportunities in areas such as, The Chamber of Commerce, Fendall Hall, Southern Souls Animal League Thrift Store and Animal Shelter, Shorter Mansion, Jaxon Life Center, Resource Pregnancy Center, Barbour County Pageant, and the Alabama Co-op Extension 4-H, just to name a few. All you need to do is come by or office at 803 West Washington Street or give us a call (334) 687-6055 and we will get you signed up and you can start volunteering. We are always searching for those that want to reach out and share the knowledge, skills, and experiences you are willing to share. I know a lot of high school students need community service hours and this is a great way to get them by becoming a Friend of RSVP. Come join our team.”