AmeriCorps Seniors Clallam/Jefferson Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) honored dozens of community members representing thousands of hours of service at a volunteer appreciation event April 1 in Sequim.
“This annual gathering of people 55 and older participating in national service work for local communities is always anticipated by our volunteers,” said Jane Covella, RSVP program manager with Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP).
“It is especially welcome after a year of very little social interactions.”
The celebration, held just outside KSQM 91.5 FM — the nonprofit radio station where many of the people honored volunteer — included a “vintage” radio program hosted over the airwaves through public broadcasting, with announcements throughout to volunteers who listened from within vehicles. Attendees — about 86 in all, with some attending virtually from home — received appreciation items to take home and were served boxed lunches.
Community sponsors for other drawing items were: Sequim Safeway, David Family Taqueria and Full Moon Candle Company in Sequim, and Aldrich’s Market in Port Townsend.
Volunteers by the numbers
Volunteers averaging 75 years, served hours through one of the toughest years on record for public service with AmeriCorps, Covella said.
“Many service activities moved outdoors, volunteers masked up, they worked with far fewer volunteers because many became in-active to protect either their health or that of family members with vulnerable conditions.”
Under these extreme circumstances, Covella said, RSVP volunteers met the challenge to distribute food from food banks, deliver meals to isolated seniors, delivered emergency COVID-19 supplies to people in isolation and quarantine during the pandemic, provided transportation to elderly and chronically sick patients for essential medical appointments, and continued to serve military veterans and family members.
In all, 222 RSVP volunteers from Clallam and Jefferson County — through the nonprofit OlyCAP organization — contributed 42,059 hours in national service program sites in 2020. Covella said the value of those volunteer hours in the previous year is estimated at more than $1.38 million.
The program is funded by AmeriCorps and the Department of Commerce.
For more about the Washington Association of Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Directors, visit warsvpd.org.
Another OlyCAP program, North Olympic Volunteer Corps (NOVC), invites people under the age of 55 to support the same job sites in communities throughout both counties. NOVC volunteers served 18,573 hours with a total of 116 volunteers.
Together, both programs provided 60,632 hours of support to community partners or a total value of more than $2 million, Covella noted.
KSQM radio, local food banks, and Clallam County Law Library are beneficiaries of support by NOVC volunteers, she said.
New tutoring opportunities will return once volunteers return to school campuses and can once again support students with reading, Covella said. Senior Nutrition program’s congregate meals will need additional volunteers when they re-open and drivers are needed to deliver food boxes, she said.
Volunteer Services is always in need of volunteers in Clallam County to install wheelchair ramps and grab bars and are needed to serve in Forks, she said.
ECHHO is seeking more drivers to transport clients to medical appointments in Port Townsend and Seattle and to take people to vaccination appointments, Covella noted.
How, where to serve
RSVP sites include:
• Clallam County Office of Emergency Management Center; serving COVID hotline and vaccination clinics
• ECHHO; providing transportation to appointments and vaccination clinics
• Food banks in Brinnon, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Quilcene and the Tri-Area; distributing food
• Head Start; mentoring preschool children
• OlyCAP services; housing services support
• Senior Nutrition programs in Sequim, Port Angeles, Brinnon, Port Townsend and Tri-Area; delivering meals to seniors
• VetConnect; supporting veterans and family members
• Volunteer Services; transportation to medical appointments, delivery of meals and supplies
NOVC sites are:
• Clallam County Law Library; reception service.
• KSQM Radio; reception and radio programming.
To volunteer or for more information about RSVP/NOVC or OlyCAP-specific services, contact Covella at 360-477-2574 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Port Angeles residents should contact RSVP volunteer coordinator Becky Acevedo at 360-460-2458 or email@example.com.
Or, go online at olycap.org and click on “Get Involved” and “AmeriCorps Seniors.”
Volunteer application packets are available online.