Program looks for volunteers 55 and older

Card sales through RSVP will help buy meals for elderly

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 12/14/17

RSVP - Retired Senior Volunteer Program - is looking for more volunteers to start the new year. One of the largest senior volunteer organizations in the U.S., RSVP works with volunteers 55 years old and older who serve the …

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Program looks for volunteers 55 and older

Card sales through RSVP will help buy meals for elderly

"Snowman," a Christmas card illustrated with a painting by the late Ray Davenport, is one of several offered by RSVP, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, to help raise money for home-delivered meals for Sumter's homebound elderly.
"Snowman," a Christmas card illustrated with a painting by the late Ray Davenport, is one of several offered by RSVP, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, to help raise money for home-delivered meals for Sumter's homebound elderly.
PHOTO PROVIDED
Posted

RSVP - Retired Senior Volunteer Program - is looking for more volunteers to start the new year. One of the largest senior volunteer organizations in the U.S., RSVP works with volunteers 55 years old and older who serve the community in a variety of ways, operating out of the Sumter Senior Services office at 119 S. Sumter St.

Rebecca Sears, director of RSVP, said the program's Sumter volunteers work primarily with seniors, delivering "meals on wheels" and providing other supportive services. She said RSVP volunteers "choose how, where and how often they want to serve," committing their time for a few hours or up to 40 hours a week.

Sears helps volunteers find community needs that best fit their talents. Sumter volunteers "tutor children, help renovate homes, assist victims of natural disasters, provide independent living services and recruit and manage other volunteers," she gave as examples.

Dana Strock, executive director of Sumter Senior Services, said RSVP has been a great asset to SSS and especially to its members who need additional resources.

"Since RSVP began in Sumter (in 1989), RSVP Volunteers, located at over 25 nonprofits throughout Sumter County, have logged upwards of 800,000 volunteer hours and counting," Strock said. "Sumter Senior Services is blessed to be able to work alongside an organization such as RSVP that shares the same philosophy in ensuring that seniors throughout the Sumter community are provided opportunities to serve others, as well as receive the services necessary to remain independent in their homes and community."

RSVP operates through donations and grants, and the grants must be matched, Sears said. The program relies mainly on its fundraisers, including the wine-tasting event Sip and Stroll, the Microbrew Festival, Backyard Jamboree and others for matching funds.

Especially appropriate at this time of year, RSVP offers Christmas cards with illustrations created by local artists, who have also volunteered their work. The keepsake cards sell for $5 each and can serve as both gifts and Christmas greetings to the recipient. Each card represents a home-delivered meal to a needy senior given in honor of the card's recipient.

This year, there are four cards to choose from, with cover illustrations by D. Brown, Mary Tuggle, the late Ray Davenport and the late Rose Metz.

To purchase one or more cards or to find out more about volunteering through RSVP, call Rebecca Sears at (803) 773-5508 or visit the Sumter Senior Services office, 119 S. Sumter St.