Chautauqua County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Celebrates in South County with Support from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation – United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and Community Partners

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A table seats RSVP dedicated volunteers (left to right) is: JoAnn Bennett, Marcia Rybicki, Kathy Carlson, Shirley Vandenburg, Penny Rossey, Sharon Smith, and Sonya Burkett.
A table seats RSVP dedicated volunteers (left to right) is: JoAnn Bennett, Marcia Rybicki, Kathy Carlson, Shirley Vandenburg, Penny Rossey, Sharon Smith, and Sonya Burkett.

The main dining room of Landmark Restaurant in Jamestown was filled to capacity as a multitude of members of RSVP serving in southern Chautauqua County gathered. A tasty luncheon was served by the gracious waiters and waitresses at the Landmark to the invited guests as RSVP honored and thanked all volunteers in attendance. “So much can be accomplished when an organized corps of volunteers work cooperatively to address the needs of our community,” proclaimed Debbie Basile, Project

Director for Chautauqua County RSVP. Brenda Weiler, Project Coordinator organized the event which proved to be quite a success.

The event was possible by monies from the Jack and Isabelle Kahler Memorial Fund administered by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF). Funding and support from United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and many community partners helped RSVP to host this event. Additionally, CRCF funds supported the required volunteer supplemental insurance provided to these dedicated volunteers. The Corporation for National and Community Services (our federal guidance agency) mandates each volunteers be covered with supplemental insurance while serving at their volunteer station to avoid any unnecessary “out of pocket” expenses incurred if an accident or incident occurs during serving. The coverage is not primary coverage, but is of great comfort for both the volunteers and the volunteer stations who benefit from their assistance.

RSVP volunteers enjoying their noon-time meal are: (left to right): Elaine Hodges, Evelyn Owen, David and Brenda Cole, Debbie Ceci, and Mary L. Moore.
RSVP volunteers enjoying their noon-time meal are: (left to right): Elaine Hodges, Evelyn Owen, David and Brenda Cole, Debbie Ceci, and Mary L. Moore.

Individual Honorees:
Presidential Lifetime Services Awards – awarded to individuals serving over 4,000 hours at an accredited agency within their lifetime. The 4,000 hours is equivalent to two years working full-time.
Brenda Cole
Grace Kent
Ann Letgers
Diana Purtell
Marsha Scott

The following have reached milestones in service:

20 Years
Margaret R. Johnson
Jim Lucey
Mary L. Moore

15 Years
Dianne G. Brown
Sandra Fletcher
Robert V. Gray
Nancy Hitchcock
Jill Jarrett
Jack Kachermeyer

10 Years
Desmond Harper
Kathryn Harper
Sue Hinsdale
Paul Holthouse
Nancy Jones
Lucille Marzalen
Joanne E. Nelson
William Race
Penny Rossey
Diane Shaw
Barb Slumsky

Before closing the celebration, Debbie Basile reminded the volunteers of some of the incredible things they collectively accomplished. Fondly, RSVP called them the TOP TEN ENDEAVORS:

44 students were mentored and 43 of them reported improved academics
558 participants took part in “Healthy Bones” classes
203 folks in our county reported “increased social support” offered by volunteers serving as companions
5 miles of trails were maintained with the help of volunteers at Audubon Nature Community Center
Over 200 tax returns were prepared “free of charge” to individuals over the age of 60 and low-to-moderate income families
An estimated 3,178 meals were served at Soup Kitchens or Food Distribution sites preventing them from hunger
Volunteer drivers transported 534 clients to medical appointments outside of our county
1,240 individuals received food from area Food Pantries
A voluntary workforce served at four Thrift Stores, congregate meals sites, supported disaster relief, guide social activities within our many healthcare facilities, usher at theaters and museums, as well as clerical support to many non-profit agencies
330 daily nutritional balanced meals were served weekly to homebound individuals or those recovering from a hospital stay

Quite an impressive list …

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans aged 55 and older in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. RSVP covers the entire region of Chautauqua County with the support and guidance of our Local sponsor, Lutheran. Lutheran has been a legacy sponsor since 1975. For more information, on local initiatives, please call (716 ) 665-3038.