MERIDIAN — By Diana S. Glover
As director of Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Meridian and Lauderdale, I am so proud of all the success our office had in 2013.
Our volunteers have responded to the needs of this community with heart, enthusiasm and a love for their community that grows with each passing year. The holiday season was especially exciting for our volunteers, who responded to several projects to lend a helping hand.
The Salvation Army requested assistance with their Angel Tree Program at Bonita Lakes Mall, and I am proud to say that 20 volunteers served at this station to help needy children. We also responded to the WTOK Toy Drive at both local WalMart stores, and the toys were delivered to our office for disbursement to The Salvation Army, Wesley House Community Center, Cans for Kids, Care Lodge and Hope Village for Children. We wish to thank everyone who donated to this worthy cause.
of the Month
Our Volunteer of the Month for December was Barbara Wells, director of Meridian Activity Center and a member of our advisory council. She has been very helpful to our projects, especially those in December.
Our Volunteer of the Year is John Flowers. John has responded to every volunteer opportunity we have offered him throughout this year, always ready to pitch in whenever and where ever he is needed. He is also very active in his church, Newell Chapel CME)
We are actively recruiting new volunteers to meet additional needs of the community. Whether it's tutoring a child, serving food at a shelter or creating an after-school program, Americans of every generation make volunteering a priority.
Our annual Volunteering and Civic Life in America report found that one in four adults volunteered through an organization in 2012. More than 64 million Americans volunteered nearly 8 billion hours last year. The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $175 billion, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.
Make the decision today to help your community through service. If you would like to learn more about how you can be an RSVP volunteer, please call our office at (601) 482-0512 or stop by our office at 721 Front St., Ext. Suite 760 (Acme Plaza).
All for L.O.V.E.
RSVP of Meridian and Lauderdale is working with LOVE's Kitchen, which is currently adding services.
How many of you know that the "love" in LOVE’s Kitchen is an acronym for Lauderdale Outreach and Volunteer Effort? Starting in February, we will put extra focus on our own outreach efforts by offering classes at the local soup kitchen.
Free and open to the public the classes are designed not only to help those who need our basic services, but also those who do not; those who once did, and those who are getting close. Subjects will include nutritional cooking tips, menu planning and budgeting (with a focus on stretching your food dollar). We are open to suggestions and encourage community members to make recommendations on future classes. Local professionals will be volunteering their time and expertise.
"Fighting hunger will always be our priority, but we realize that individuals and families need skills and knowledge to fight some battles on their own. Knowing there is a place to get a free meal is a great feeling, but providing and preparing that meal for yourself and your family is a wonderful feeling," said Fannie M. Johnson, executive director of LOVE’s Kitchen.
"The board and I are very excited and want the community to know we are dedicated to fighting hunger and we are determined to use and make available all the resources necessary to ease the struggle that so many are facing," Johnson said.
Classes will be held at 10 a.m. for the convenience of our clients and 6 p.m for any community members who would like to attend. As an added treat, we will serve a hot bowl of delicious Olive Garden Soup, which will be donated through their Food Donation Connection/Harvest Food Program. Cocoa and desserts donated from Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club through the Feeding America Program also will be available.
Beginning in February, you can visit LOVE's Kitchen's Facebook page for information and/or to register. You may also leave a message at (601) 693-1409. Registration is required at least three days in advance. You will receive a call or message to confirm.
RSVP is partnering with The United Way and AARP with their Tax Preparation programs. We will be offering free tax assistance preparation and filing, free of charge for United Way on Monday and Wednesday of each week, and AARP on Tuesday of each week.
The United Way Tax Preparation Program will also be offered in Kemper County on Thursday of each week at the Kemper County Economic Development Authority at Highway 16 West in DeKalb. An appointment is necessary for all of these days and can be made by calling RSVP at (601) 482-0512, emailing Stephanie.email@example.com
The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program is supported locally by our sponsor The United Way of East Mississippi and a grant from the city of Meridian. We are also funded by The Corporation for National and Community Service at the federal level.
• Diana S. Glover is director of RSVP of Meridian/Lauderdale County.