County seeking renewal of federal RSVP grant

The Anoka County Board is applying for a federal grant to continue its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Acting on a recommendation from its Human Services Committee, the board authorized a request for $30,189 to the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

The grant period would be from April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014.

According to Gayle Alexander, county RSVP coordinator, the county has received CNCS funds annually to support the RSVP program for over 30 years.

A $30,189 CNCS grant was awarded earlier this year to the RSVP for the time period from March 2012 through March 2013.

Through the federal grant program, Anoka County is required to provide a match totaling $12,980.

Those dollars are included in the 2013 county budget, Alexander wrote in a report to the county board.

“The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program provides meaningful volunteer opportunities for Anoka County residents who are age 55 and older,” she wrote.

The federal dollars will help maintain recruitment, placement, retention and recognition of RSVP volunteers, according to Alexander.

In 2012, 446 RSVP volunteers have contributed over 42,375 hours of service to the county community, Alexander wrote.

To enroll, volunteers complete a skills and interests checklist and these are matched to needs in the community, according to the RSVP page on the county website.

The volunteer chooses which opportunities to pursue.

The RSVP webpage provides a sampling of volunteer opportunities available in the county.

• Food shelves.

• Operate a snack shop and gift shop at the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center.

• Tutoring at Metro North Adult Basic Education at sites in Blaine, Columbia Heights and Oak Grove.

• Programs and special events at local nature centers.

• Volunteering with Anoka County District Court administration.

• Helping at Mercy and Unity Hospitals – gift shop, family lounge, coffee shop, information desk or messenger service.

To become a volunteer call Anoka County RSVP at 763-422-7090.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]