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See Related Article > > Senior Citizens Group Dissolves, March 8, 2016

Seniors Give Back Through RSVP
April 30, 2015 By Brittany Tutt

CAPTION: RSVP volunteer, Betty Mumpower, helps senior citizens do their taxes during tax season at the Grand River Multi-Purpose Center through RSVP.


CT Photo / Brittany Tutt

Many local, retired senior citizens have found a way to use their talents and skills to not only give back to the community, but to also enrich their own lives. They have found an outlet that allows them to do so through the local Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). RSVP is a volunteer program that provides volunteer opportunities for persons age 55 and up. "RSVP encourages you to bring your talents, experiences, skills and hobbies to community projects and organizations needing volunteer assistance," RSVP Director Sally Peterson said.

A national program, RSVP is partially funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service. In joining the program, one becomes part of a "senior corps" national movement of hundreds of thousands of volunteers striving to help their communities. The local RSVP, which began in September 1973, is sponsored by Concerned Citizens for the Community, Inc., a non-profit organization through which all federal funding and local donations are received. "Any man or woman 55 and older who wants to share the benefits of their experiences and make a difference in our community, is eligible," Peterson said. There are no restrictions based on education, income, race, color, creed, sex, handicap or experience. "Anyone who wants to feel useful, needed and appreciated will profit from becoming a part of the RSVP network," Peterson said. The Chillicothe RSVP currently has 256 volunteers and, on average, each volunteer will do some sort of community service three to six hours a week. However, Peterson said she has some RSVP volunteers put in one hour a week and others put in 40.

RSVP offers 31 different stations to volunteer at, with some stations having multiple jobs available. These stations include: American Legion Post 25 and Auxiliary, Bishop Hogan Memorial School, Chillicothe Commerce Center, Chillicothe Correctional Center, Chillicothe R-2 Schools, Concerned Citizens, Grand River Multi-Purpose Center, Grand River Area Family YMCA, Grand River Historical Society, Hedrick Medical Center, Livingston County Crime Victims Advocate, Livingston County Library, Meadville R-IV School, Missouri Career Center, Mobile Meals, North Missouri Center for Youth and Families, various nursing homes, OATS, Operation Help, Rescue Mission, Serve Link Home, Threads Thrift Store and VFW Post 858 and Auxiliary. There are also volunteer opportunities within RSVP itself, such as, helping with the Joy Toy project, assisting with office work and helping with taxes. According to Peterson, RSVP volunteers are needed specifically right now at: Indian Hills - A StoneBridge Community - to answer the phone and direct visitors to residents on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. ideally (lunch is provided), Livingston Manor to play the piano any day of the week from 10:30 until 11 a.m., or to do crafts every other week at 10 a.m., and Operation Help to screen people one morning a week, every week.

Peterson said some benefits of being an RSVP volunteer are: excess liability insurance while volunteering and traveling to and from volunteer sites, paid transportation costs to and from the volunteer job within the count if requested and several stations furnish meals to volunteers. "We provide, free of charge, personal liability insurance and excess automobile insurance for volunteers coming and going to stations and while volunteering," Peterson said.

To become an RSVP volunteer, a person should meet with the RSVP director, Sally Peterson, or an assistant and complete an enrollment form which includes one's experience and areas of interests.

Volunteers Applauded
June 8, 2011 CT

CAPTION: Just moments after it was announced that the Grand River Multi-Purpose Center was announced the Station of the Year at the 2011 RSVP Banquet, Director Janet Hurtgen (mid-left, with plaque) called up all of her volunteer workers present to take part in a commemorative group photo.


C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

A pair of local volunteers, as well as a respected area senior center, were honored at Tuesday (June 7) night's annual Recognition Banquet for the Livingston County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), held at the Chillicothe Elks Lodge. This year's theme was "RSVP Safari". Velma Strange and John Meyer were awarded the 2011 prize as the female and male volunteers of the year by Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney. The Grand River Multi-Purpose Center took home the title of Station of the Year.

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
Velma Strange Female Volunteer of the Year
C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
John Meyer Male Volunteer of the Year

Since becoming an RSVP Volunteer 10 years ago, Strange has given 7,791 hours of service to the community. Strange says that she has done this service because she cares about others. She has served many hours helping the elderly to live independently in their homes, helping others get low cost foods to feed their families, providing transportation, and visiting nursing homes. She has given her time to the Grand River Multi-Purpose Center, has been a member of the Local OATS Support Committee for many years, and is currently serving as its President. She has given 4,462 hours of her time making it possible for people to get low-cost clothing and household items for themselves and their families at the Threads Thrift Store, where she works at least three 4-hour shifts a week.
"She can do anything to make the store run smoothly," said one of her nominators. "This lady is very dependable and honest," said another. "When I ask her to work for me sometimes, she never refuses and I can always depend on her," yet another nominator said of Strange. "She has a good sense of humor, which always makes the day go better for everyone."

Meyer became an RSVP Volunteer just two years ago, and, since then, has given 532 hours of service to the surrounding community. He started out volunteering at the Grand River Multi-Purpose Center. He was so good at it that, after volunteering only a few hours there, he was hired as a paid employee. The rest of his volunteering has been done with the RSVP Joy Toy Project, where he repairs bikes and empties the dehumidifiers in the basement. Quoting his nominator, Haney said: "If you need something done, all you have to do is ask him. He is an energetic and willing worker."

The Grand River Multi-Purpose Center has been a part of RSVP since 1974. During its 37 years, it has made a lot of changes to meet the needs of the people it serves. During just the past 12-month period, some big changes have been made. Volunteers at the Center work in the gift shop, answer the phone and give information and referrals at the desk, decorate tables, work on special recreation projects and programs, disinfect tables, assist in preparing meals, package home delivered meals, fill lunch trays for disabled, and deliver meals.

The Center had three (3) nominations. Nominators said of the Center:

  • "It provides the best of food at minimal cost, and it is the place where older people can see their friends daily."
  • "The volunteers at the front desk greet everyone and make them feel welcomed, while tactfully getting needed information for reports. They do a great job!"
  • The Center has "good food, good help, good administrator, and good music."

RSVP Office Relocated 
Constitution-Tribune
August 13, 2010


C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

The RSVP offices and Mobile Meals opened at their new location at 440 Locust Street (the former Senior Center) today, and Director Patty Mefford (standing) and Administrative Assistant Theresa Figg (seated) were busy getting settled into their new home.

More changes will be coming at the new RSVP center in the near future. Joy Toys, which provides toys for children in need at Christmastime and which has operated primarily out of the basement of the building, will move most of its inventory upstairs and into the south side of the building next week. The clothing store, Threads, operated through RSVP, will be moving to the north side of the building at a later date as its current lease expires at the end of October.

The Senior Citizens of Livingston County, Missouri owns the building and leased it to the sponsoring organization for RSVP for offices and its projects.

JOY TOY PROJECTS

Joy Toys Project Helps Over 400 Local Children (2015)
By Brittany Tutt
December 14, 2015

CAPTION: Joy Toys is a project through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) that helps locals in need obtain gifts for Christmas to give to their children or grandchildren. There are about 20 Joy Toy volunteers that fix up donated, used toys all year-long in preparation for the holiday season. Those volunteers distributed toys last week. 472 children were given toys.


C-T Photo / Brittany Tutt

When the doors opened Tuesday morning, December 8, 2015, for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Joy Toy Project, the toy room of the RSVP Center was filled with toys too numerous to be counted. When the doors closed after Thursday night, toys had been given to 128 families with a total of 472 children who might otherwise have had a disappointing Christmas. Joy Toys is a program of RSVP that assists local families during the holiday season in gift giving for their children and grandchildren. New and used toys are donated to Joy Toys to help families in need and are fixed up and repaired by Joy Toy volunteers all year round. There are about 20 volunteers total according to Patty Mefford, RSVP director. Mefford said the poverty level is high in Chillicothe and a lot of families struggle during the holiday season. That's where Joy Toys makes a difference. Families seeking assistance can make an appointment to shop at Joy Toys through the RSVP office located at 440 Locust Street. Individuals shop using points. Each toy is marked either one point, two points or three points. Everyone is given a certain amount of points to spend, free of charge. There is no income criteria for those wanting to shop at Joy Toys. Mefford wanted to say a big thank you on behalf of RSVP to all those people in the community who gave their time, money, batteries, bikes and toys to make this year's project such a success, including numerous businesses, schools, clubs, organizations, churches, families and individuals. The businesses Mefford knows helped out this year include: the Constitution-Tribune, Country Carpets and Furniture, Dollar General and Washington St. Food & Drink Company. Schools, churches, and organizations in which Mefford knows helped include: Boy Scout Troop 120, Braymer United Methodist Church, Chillicothe R-II Schools, Chillicothe United Methodist Pre-School, Community Options, Central School, Dewey School, Field School, Double H 4-H Club, First Baptist Church, Grand River Technical School Business Leadership Class and Career Independence Class, Tiger Den 3. Mefford also thanked all the volunteers including Joy Toys two Volunteers-in-Charge, Arolene Crowe and Jim Hinrichs; Norma Booker; Joyce Cole; Ray Cothern; Darlene Lee; John Meyer; Linda Meyers; Kay Potter; Ella Robinson; Lucille Seifert; Ruth Ann Steele; Peggy Switzer; Mary Turner; and Sarah Walker. A huge thank you goes to all the unnamed and unknown individuals, families, businesses, and groups who gave in so many ways to this year's project. The RSVP Joy Toy Project is really the whole community working together in the true spirit of Christmas.

2014 RSVP Joy Toy Project
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley
12 12 14 CT

CAPTION: Volunteers have been working hard gathering, cleaning, and preparing new and gently used bikes and toys for distribution to local families to give as gifts for their loved ones. There were 130 families with 595 children who visited the RSVP Joy Toy Project room during one of six sessions.


C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

When the doors opened Monday afternoon for the RSVP Joy Toy Project, the RSVP Joy Toy Project room of the Senior Citizens of Livingston County, Missouri, building was filled with toys too numerous to be counted. When the doors closed after Thursday morning, they had all been given to 130 families with a total of 595 children, who might otherwise have a disappointing Christmas. "A big thank you goes to all those people in our community who gave of their time, money, and toys to make this year's project such a success: numerous businesses, schools, clubs, organizations, churches, and individuals," said RSVP Director Patty Mefford. Among businesses assisting were the Constitution-Tribune, Country Carpets and Furniture, KCHI Radio, Washington Street Food & Drink Company, The Wave Radio, and Zito Media. Among the schools, churches, and organizations known to have helped were Central School, Chillicothe Middle School, Dewey School, Field School, Girl Scout Troop 953, Grand River Technical School Health Service Technology Class, Senior Citizens of Livingston County Missouri, United Methodist Pre-School, Wheeling Happy Harvesters, and family and friends in tribute of Jaylyn Marie Eckert. "Volunteers of all ages have put in many hours of service to meet this critical human need in our community," Mefford said.

The group of RSVP volunteers working on the project include: Volunteer-in-Charge of Toys: Arolene Crowe, and Volunteers-in-Charge of Bikes: William Angel and Ray Cothern; Frances Beck, Norma Booker, Joyce Cole, Alvina Fullerton, Marlys Hagen, Annabelle Horton, Louise Huston, Darlene Lee, Betty McNally, John Meyer, Linda Meyers, Kay Potter, Clara Ratliff, Susan Reeter, Ella Robinson, Lucille Seifert, Rosie Smith, Peggy Switzer, Sarah Walker, and Frances Wilson. "A huge 'thank you' goes to all the unnamed and unknown individuals, businesses, and groups who gave in so many ways to this year's project," Mefford said. "The RSVP Joy Toy Project is really the whole community working together in the true Spirit of Christmas." There were six sessions of toy distributions and this year's numbers were down slighlty from last year's 162 families with 670 children participating.

2013 RSVP Joy Toys Provides Toys for 670 Children
December 16, 2013
C-T / Calli Price

CAPTION: Joy Toy volunteers prepared to open the doors of the Community Room at the Senior Citizens of Livingston County, Missouri building Monday, Dec. 9. The Joy Toy project provided 162 local families and 670 children with toys for Christmas.


C-T Photo / Calli Price

The RSVP Joy Toy project opened Monday, Dec. 9, in the Community Room of the Senior Citizens of Livingston County, Missouri building. The room was filled to the brim with toys, but when the doors closed Thursday, December 12, the room was empty. All toys were given to 162 families with a total of 670 children who may have had a disappointing Christmas otherwise.

Patty Mefford, RSVP director, said that the RSVP Joy Toys project was a success due to the people of the community who donated their time, money and toys to the project, including businesses, schools, clubs, organizations, churches and individuals. Groups that helped include: American Postal Workers Union, Braymer Churches, Chillicothe Bunco Club, Chillicothe Correctional Center Restorative Justice Program, Chillicothe R-II Schools, Chillicothe Eagles Club, FCCLA-Trenton, Grand River Technical School Health Service Technology Class, Senior Citizens of Livingston County Missouri, United Methodist Pre-School, XI Alpha Kappa Chapter-Beta Sigma PHI, the Constitution-Tribune, Country Carpets and Furniture, KCHI Radio and Zeto Media Cable Television.

Mefford also said volunteers of all ages put in many hours of service to meet this critical human need in the community. The group of RSVP volunteers working on the project include: Our two Volunteers-in-Charge Arolene Crowe and William Angel, Laureen Angel, Norma Booker, Joyce Cole, Ray Cothern, Eileen Fowler, Alvina Fullerton, Marlys Hagen, Annabelle Horton, Louise Huston, Darlene Lee, Betty McNally, John Meyer, Linda Meyers, Kay Potter, Clara Ratliff, Susan Reeter, Ella Robinson, Lucille Seifert, Rosie Smith, Miriam Stelplugh, Peggy Switzer, Sarah Walker and Frances Wilson.

In addition to the individuals and groups named above, Mefford said there are unnamed and unknown individuals and groups who also helped that she would like to thank for giving to this year's project. "The RSVP Joy Toy Project is really the whole community working together in the true spirit of Christmas," Mefford said.

RSVP, Community Spread Holiday Cheer
Published: Thursday, December 11, 2008, C-T

CAPTION: Dolls, toys, bikes and stuffed animals were among hundreds of items distributed this week as part of the RSVP Joy Toys program. Individuals, businesses and organizations in the community donated items, money and time to the program which provides children's Christmas gifts to families in need. Here are many of the RSVP volunteers who prepared the donated items for distribution. The program assisted 171 families with 731 children. Last year, there were 135 families participating in the program which involved gifts for 545 children.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

When the doors opened Monday evening for the RSVP Joy Toy Project, the community room of the Senior Citizens of Livingston County building was filled with toys too numerous to be counted. When the doors closed after Thursday morning, they had all been given to 171 families with a total of 731 children, who might have otherwise had a disappointing Christmas. The number is up this year compared to last year with 135 families with a total of 545 children being assisted.

"A big 'thank you' goes to all those people in our community who gave of their time, money, and toys to make this year's project such a success: numerous businesses, schools, clubs, organizations, churches, and individuals," said RSVP director Patty Mefford.

Businesses known to have helped: Anderson TBA, Chillicothe Ford, Constitution-Tribune, KCHI Radio, KXCV Radio, Maurice's, Superior Coating Co., Time Warner Cable and Gastineau Electric. Schools, churches, and organizations known to have helped: American Postal Workers Union, Bishop Hogan Memorial School, Chillicothe R-II Schools, Chillicothe Eagles Club, Senior Citizens of Livingston County Missouri, Tina-Avalon School, Tria Sorosis, United Methodist Pre-School and Youth Groups, and all those who gave in memory of Vada Harper.

"Volunteers of all ages have put in many hours of service to meet this critical human need in our community," Mefford said. The group of RSVP volunteers working on the project include: Volunteers-in-Charge Arolene Crowe and Marvin Holcer, Wanda Brost, Fran Catron, Theresa Figg, Carol Foster, Richard Gibson, Marlys Hagen, Phillip Hagen, Annabelle Horton, Louise Huston, Dotty Ledin, Betty McNally, Velma Mitchell, Clara Ratliff, Ella Robinson, Lucille Seifert, Mary Shore, Miriam Stelplugh, and Frances Wilson. Mefford also expressed deep appreciation to those unnamed and unknown individuals, businesses, and groups who gave in so many ways to this year's project.

"The RSVP Joy Toy Project is really the whole community working together in the true spirit of Christmas," Mefford said.

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