Senior Corps Week celebrates the efforts of 340 volunteers serving northeast Iowa

Volunteers at the Allamakee County Food Shelf ... Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers prepare for distribution of food at the Allamakee County Food Shelf in Waukon. Pictured, left to right, are Joe Schorr, Ann Roed, Sharon Costello, Jane Kallevang, Marilyn Schorr, John Grampovnik, Linda Groe and Wayne Burk. Submitted photo.

Tax training ... Local volunteers Ron Snitker and Janet Steiner recently joined a group of 17 volunteers preparing to take certification tests for tax preparation. The local volunteers assist in the RSVP tax preparation program. Submitted photo.

Allamakee County volunteers are a busy bunch

Senior Corps Week is being observed May 15-19, with local efforts being celebrated. The Senior Corps program is under the Corporation of National and Community Service with over 245,000 volunteers age 55-plus serving nationwide. Senior Corps programs are federally funded with local match and include Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents and the RSVP Volunteer Program.

Locally, the Northeast Iowa RSVP Program is under the sponsorship of the Decorah Public Library and covers the counties of Allamakee, Howard and Winneshiek.  Volunteers with the RSVP program are age 55-plus and serve at local non-profit agencies. They can be found everywhere with over 340 volunteers serving at 60 non-profit agencies.

The volunteers selected where they would like to serve and how much time they would like to spend volunteering. During the past grant year, those volunteers devoted just over 28,000 hours of service to local non-profit agencies.

The RSVP program recruit’s volunteers to fill critical needs in the community; ranging from helping out in the classroom to delivering meals to the homebound, visiting residents at area nursing homes, serving as museum tour guides, distributing food to the hungry, preparing income tax returns for the low income and elderly, and assisting with emergency management needs. RSVP staff matches volunteer skills and interests to the needs of non-profit agencies in northeast Iowa.

In Allamakee County, volunteers are busy distributing food at both the Allamakee County Food Shelf and the Postville Food Bank with 36 volunteers devoting 3,752 hours of service distributing food packages to those experiencing food insecurity.  Seventeen volunteers work with students through the Community Connections After School Program, engaging them in a variety of activities, sharing hobbies and spending one-on-one time with students in Allamakee and Postville School Districts.

RSVP volunteers are also serving at local nursing homes like Thornton Manor in Lansing, Northgate Care Center in Waukon and the Good Samaritan Society in Postville. The Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging utilizes volunteers to deliver meals to the homebound, and during the past tax season, two RSVP volunteers certified through the VITA tax program filed state and federal tax returns for 193 clients at the Allamakee County Extension Service.

Volunteering is good for the community and good for the volunteers, acco. For more information about volunteering through the Northeast Iowa RSVP Volunteer Program, contact Kathy or Kim at the Decorah Public Library at 563-382-3717 or call toll free 877-806-0623.