They volunteer 40,000 to 45,000 hours of their time every year, which equates to about $900,000 of free work. Who are they? Chaves County senior citizens.
For 35 years, Chaves County RSVP, a United Way agency, has connected seniors with non-profit organizations throughout the region.
Seniors spend their time working at other United Way agencies, in addition to places like Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Roswell Museum and Art Center.
â€œWhat the purpose is, for RSVP, is to encourage an active lifestyle for senior citizens, while meeting community needs,â€ Jess Merrit, Chaves County RSVP program director, said. â€œWe work with 40 non-profits in the community and health care agencies.Â We encourage seniors to get out of the house, and to contribute all of those wonderful life skills and things that theyâ€™ve learned, by giving back to the community â€” by volunteering in these organizations.â€
The current roster of seniors has completed about 400,000 hours (44 years) of service over the equivalent of 1,300 years.
â€œTheyâ€™ve got the years of experience and the skills and the free time on their hands,â€ Sheri Jones, Chaves County RSVP volunteer coordinator, said.Â â€œItâ€™s really good for seniors to stay both physically and mentally active.â€
Chaves County RSVP works with the National Corporation for Community Service through Ameri- Corps.
The organizationâ€™s main goal is to encourage an active life for seniors.
â€œSeniors who are actively engaged have lower rates of suicide, health problems, dementia and Alzheimers,â€ Merrit said.
The organization, like many other non-profits in the area, is absorbing the impact of the recession. In spite of budget crunches stemming from cuts in state funding, Chaves County RSVP maintains a positive attitude.
â€œWeâ€™re going forward,â€ Merrit said.Â â€œWeâ€™re still trying to get as many volunteers and help out as many of the non-profits as we can.â€
For more information about donations or volunteering, contact Chaves County RSVP at 623-3960, or by email at rsvp@dfn. com.