By Diana S. Glover
The Meridian Star
Over the past nine months, volunteers with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Meridian/Lauderdale County has served our community in several capacities:
• Preparing, serving, delivering nutritious food and meals to help meet the nutrition needs of the community through LOVE’s Kitchen, Feed by Faith, Salvation Army, Baptist Crisis Center and Meals on Wheels. Donated hours: 4,155
• Providing disaster assistance at The Red Cross, Key Chapter. Donated hours: 3,357
• Community outreach, including telephone contact with homebound (at-risk) population, visiting extended care facilities, the Lauderdale County Welcome Center, MCC Art Gallery, East Mississippi Angels and Meridian Activities Center. Donated hours: 17,461
• Working with children or organizations who serve children, including Youth Excitement Team (YET) and Boy Scouts. Donated hours: 509
• Assisting families of Anderson Regional Medical Center and Anderson Cancer Center. Donated hours: 1,100
Total hours devoted to the Meridian community by local RSVP volunteers in the past nine months: 25,563.
Every 7 seconds, someone in America turns 55 years old. Although many of them still hold down professional positions, many others are becoming volunteers in their community.
RSVP is the largest volunteer network in the nation – more than 500,000 strong are making a difference every day in the communities in which they live.
Locally, RSVP has 217 volunteers who serve in a wide array of organizations and services, making their community stronger, and helping other non-profits meet their goals.
Our RSVP assists with the following additional programs:
• Provides free notary service and assists individuals with preparing and notarizing wills, living wills, and Power of Attorney documents.
• Assists AARP with their tax preparation for the senior/low income population every Tuesday throughout tax season.
• Hosts AARP Driver’s Safety classes to help seniors save money on auto insurance.
• Assists The United Way with their Supply our Students initiative.
If you would like to know more about the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program please call (601) 482-0512 or stop by our office at 721 Front Street Ext. Suite 760, (Acme Plaza) in Meridian, or check us out at unitedforunitedway.org
In addition to our column published the second Sunday of each month in The Star, a column will also be published in The Meridian Impact each month. Also, on the first Monday of each month, I will do a live interview with Al Brown on WMOX Talk Radio at 3 p.m. You might also listen to WALT talk radio with Roger Burke and Billy Jack for updates on our activities locally as well on The Radio Group of Meridian.
Ms. Nora Lee Irby, who has served in many capacities here at RSVP for 20 years, will retire at the end of the month. Although we will miss her, we are thrilled that she will be spending some special time with her family.
Nora was hired as a senior aide at RSVP in March 1993, and most recently has been an administrative assistant to me.
"I feel blessed and my life has been enriched by all the wonderful people I have met and all the friends I have made through my contacts at RSVP," Nora said. "I will cherish a lot of wonderful memories of my activities at RSVP."
We wish her well in her new adventures. Nora has earned the respect of all the volunteers she has worked with, and staff members of United Way and RSVP, and every organization that we serve.
A reception will be held for Nora at the RSVP office on March 28, beginning at 1 p.m.
Volunteer of the Month
Our Volunteer of the Month for March is Ms. Willie Mae Brown.
Willie Mae became a volunteer for The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program in 1999 and has served on the Advisory Council as a member of good standing. Willie Mae is a good example of how to turn your life skills and talents into volunteer service. A seamstress by trade, she loves sewing for people, even if they cannot afford her services. She also visits shut-ins, and takes care of their needs as she can. Willie Mae attends Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church and loves to garden, which allows her to take fresh flowers to extended care facilities when she visits.
Thank you, Ms. Brown for your thoughtfulness and hard work.
Willie Mae’s skills were used most recently when she made chef’s coats for the staff at LOVE’s Kitchen.
“Volunteers are a large and very important part of our mission," said Fannie Johnson, director of kitchen operations at LOVE's Kitchen. "They are in a way the corner part of a puzzle that you can start with, the part that makes putting the puzzle together easier and more complete.”
Ms. Johnson also said she feels fortunate to have members of The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) as part of her volunteer team. Our volunteers serve as cooks, pick up donations, and help with all the other day to day operations of her mission.Volunteers bring years of experience in various fields, but more importantly, they bring a spirit of caring and giving to their community.
LOVE’s Kitchen’s board and staff, expresses their thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers who have helped them, and the individuals and businesses who have made donations to their mission, and to The United Way for their continued support.
• Diana S. Glover is director of RSVP of Meridian/Lauderdale County.