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RSVP honored, needs volunteers

The search is on for senior volunteers looking to give back to their communities in the Brewton, East Brewton and the surrounding areas.
Escambia County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) director Charles Smith said the organization is in need of volunteers aged 55 or older to assist in five priority programs.
As part of Senior Corps, the RSVP program is the country’s largest volunteer network for those 55 and older. Volunteers are able to choose their own specialty areas and the amount of time they want to give, Smith said. Currently, there are 115 volunteers registered throughout the county, but more are needed.
“Right now, we are looking to fill about 25 slots in our programs,” Smith said. “The benefits of being an R.S.V.P. range from free liability and accident insurance while volunteering, opportunities for travel, community recognition, and of course, the satisfaction of knowing that you were able to contribute to those in need.”
Smith said the organize is looking to fill five volunteer instructor positions for its “Living Well in Alabama” and “A Matter of Balance” classes; four volunteers for its reading buddy program in Brewton and East Brewton; 10 volunteers or more for its disaster recovery program; two for the veteran transportation program; and two to assist the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office with the Project Lifesaver program.
“We have a group of dedicated people now who have worked for us for years, but we are hoping to get new faces in our group,” he said. “We have so many worthwhile causes that there is sure to be somewhere where a person can find a spot where they can serve.”
Smith told the county commission Monday about the organization’s local success. As part of their community efforts, volunteers work to file income tax returns for residents. Smith said this year volunteers filed 446 returns, which equated to more than $335,000 in refunds.
“When you think that a senior could have to pay around $200 to file their taxes, look at how much we were able to save residents,” he said.
Smith said Escambia County is fortunate to have a wealth of retired residents who possess a number of skills that could be beneficial to others in the community.
“These areas are perfect opportunities for seniors to give back,” he said. “It could be as simple as reading to an elementary student, transporting a deserving veteran to doctor’s appointments or for everyday errands to assisting others when a natural disaster or emergency strikes our area.”
To volunteer or for more information, contact Smith at 251.867.0256.