Some of the hundreds of volunteers and staff for OlyCAP’s RSVP program stand together during a special luncheon on March 12 recognizing their efforts last year of volunteering more than 56,000 hours. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Some of the hundreds of volunteers and staff for OlyCAP’s RSVP program stand together during a special luncheon on March 12 recognizing their efforts last year of volunteering more than 56,000 hours. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Seniors help serve community as RSVPs

OlyCAP efforts provided more than 56,000 hours of volunteer support

Prior to cancellations and postponements pouring in across the peninsula due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) took some time to safely honor its dedicated Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) members in Clallam and Jefferson Counties.

About 50 people gathered on March 12 in the Sequim Prairie Grange for soup and salad, a gardening program and prize raffles as part of the celebration.

RSVP program manager Jane Covella said this was the fifth year recognizing volunteers in the program ages 55 and older.

She said there are 307 enrolled RSVP volunteers who volunteered more than 56,880 hours in 2019. Their volunteer opportunities range from student tutoring to meal delivery to connecting veterans with support services.

With combined efforts with younger volunteers through the North Olympic Volunteer Corps such as at KSQM, they worked nearly 85,000 hours last year.

Jo Royal, a Port Ludlow volunteer, said she’s delivered food to home-bound people with her wife Terri Toennessen for more than a year on the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month to multiple homes.

“They’re thankful and get what they need,” she said, “Everyone’s got to eat!”

Royal is an RSVP Advisory Board member with several volunteers including Mike Barton of Sequim, a volunteer school tutor.

Barton said RSVP continues to seek new volunteers and groups to partner with in Sequim, which he feels houses the perfect demographic to help.

“People come here and want to volunteer and don’t know how to get involved,” he said.

“You can help anyone from veterans to kids to those in need of food. It’s a great organization to connect your skills to a group.”

Barton said RSVP is looking to partner with Sequim Community Aid in some capacity in the future too.

RSVP started in the Clallam and Jefferson counties in 1972 to connect seniors to local organizations. It’s sponsored by OlyCAP and receives funding from Washington’s Department of Commerce and through Senior Corps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, service and civic engagement.

Those interested in volunteering with RSVP can call OlyCAP at 360-385-2571 or Covella at jcovella@olycap.org.

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