By Diana S. Glover
The Meridian Star
Individuals 55 and older who have free time to help their community – we need you.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Meridian and Lauderdale County's volunteer numbers have been dropping recently, as some are moving away to be closer to family or to assisted living facilities. We are in the process of committing our assistance to other worthwhile programs in Meridian, including The Salvation Army, Feed by Faith, and LOVE's Kitchen. More volunteers are needed.
We also need individuals who would like to be trained as tax preparers for the upcoming tax season to assist low-income individuals and families with their returns. We provide the training here at our office and you will be trained at the advanced level as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. Basic computer knowledge is helpful.
We are accepting names now, and the training will begin in December. Individuals of any age can be included by calling (601) 482-0512 and adding your name to the list. We will also host the AARP tax assistance program in our office one day a week beginning the new filing season.
If you are not comfortable doing taxes, are at least 55 years of age and have free time, you can register to be a greeter/intake person.
RSVP offers individuals 55 and older opportunities to keep active in your community with one of the largest volunteer efforts in the nation for this age group. You can determine your own hours, days and place where you wish to volunteer. The benefits of volunteering for RSVP include:
• You gain valuable experience in a variety of settings.
• You meet new and interesting people.
• Personal rewards including public recognition.
• Mileage reimbursement.
• Limited liability insurance.
• You strengthen your community.
• Volunteers live longer.
We have a list of possibilities for you at our office located in Acme Plaza. Stop by and visit us at 721 Front Street Ext., Suite 760, or call (601) 482-0512.
Volunteer of the Month
Our Volunteer of the Month for November is Arkie Sims, who has been with our organization since February 2012.
Mrs. Sims currently volunteers at the Excel After-school Program through the Youth Excitement Team (YET) and has also volunteered at Anderson Regional Medical Center and Anderson Regional Cancer Center. Mrs. Sims has a passion for people, especially children, and enjoys her current assignment for The Youth Excitement Team.
In addition to her volunteer work, Mrs. Sims loves to help her family of three children, 15 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Mrs. Sims is a member of First Assembly of God Church on Highway 19 North.
Coming up ...
Late this month and in early December, our volunteers will assist the Salvation Army with their Angel Tree campaign at Bonita Lakes Mall and ring bells at the Salvation Army kettles at the Bonita WalMart.
On Dec. 7, you can spot RSVP volunteers at The United Way of East Mississippi's Annual Jingle Bell Run in downtown Meridian. Come and join in the fun and make this a family event. For more information about the Jingle Bell Run, call The United Way office at (601)693-2732.
As always, we recognize our sponsor, The United Way of East Mississippi, and ask you to consider a donation to their efforts to help others. One donation to United Way helps 14 different partner agencies throughout this community, as well as several community impact programs, including The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program. The United Way is an organized effort to assist a wide variety of community organizations that do not have the time, staff, or finances to raise money for them.
We can all be a hero in this community by supporting our local United Way. If we all give a little, it can mean a lot.
• Diana S. Glover is director of RSVP of Meridian/Lauderdale County.