Help Wanted: RSVP recruiting volunteers for library, Meal-A-Day, Heritage Park
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

RSVP Volunteer Ettie Sanders stocks books back on the shelves, making sure they are in their rightful place Wednesday morning at the Sulphur Springs Public Library. Sanders is one of only two RSVP volunteers helping out at the library, which, like the Meal-A-Day program and Hopkins County Historical Society, needs all the assistance it can get.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Aug. 23, 2006 -- What started with 35 members has now grown to include 160 in Hopkins County alone. But the Red River Valley Retired & Senior Volunteer Program hopes to add even more individuals to its roster to meet volunteer needs.

The program, sponsored by Paris Junior College and funded through grants, fills needs in Hopkins County and three others.

Currently, the program is seeking volunteers to help at three Hopkins County locations -- Sulphur Springs Library, Hopkins County Meal-A-Day program and Hopkins County Historical Museum and Heritage Park.

All three agencies indicated a willingness to work with volunteers to accommodate their schedules, whether they be through the RSVP program or just individuals willing to contribute their time and talents.

Officials for both Sulphur Springs Library and Heritage Park saidm "If they've got the time, whenever that may be, we'll make use of them." Meal-A-Day's schedule is a bit more rigid, however, as all of their work is generally conducted between 7 a.m. and noon weekdays.

Amie Davidson, youth services coordinator for Sulphur Springs Public Library, said the library is just now starting its volunteer program back up.

"Generally, we need help with shelving and cleaning of the books," said Davidson. "We really need help with shelving and maintaining shelves.

"We'll work with their schedules, if they have the time. There are always books that need shelving."

In additional to shelving needs, volunteers will occasionally, but not often, assist with special meetings or library events. Library volunteers must fill out an application to work at the library, then after completing that process must attend a training session at the library.

Anyone 55 and older interested in becoming a library volunteer should contact RSVP Project Director Susan Kahn at the area office in Paris by calling 903-782-0441 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, or 8 a.m. to 12 noon Friday, or by e-mailing her at skahn@parisjc.edu.

Any other person wishing to volunteer at the library should contact Davidson at the library or by calling 903-885-4926 during library hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

The Meal-A-Day Center is also looking for volunteer cooks and drivers during the week.

The program is currently down to one regular cook, as a number have had to quit or are not currently available due to health and family reasons or vacations. While cooks and helpers are needed every day, the days hurting most for volunteers are Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Cooks generally work from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., unless they choose to stay over and help clean up and prepare for the next day's meal.

Meal-A-Day also needs some fill-in drivers to assist in delivering meals on one of the programs' six routes. Fill-in drivers would be called upon to take meals to about 18 people on a route when the programs' other regular drivers are away on vacation, call in sick or are otherwise unable to drive on their scheduled day. Husband and wife or two-person teams are also welcome.

Those driving will need to have a vehicle in good repair able to make the routes. They should also keep in mind that they are volunteering their services, including their vehicles, time and gasoline. Drivers generally report to the center at about 9:30 a.m. to begin packing up their coolers full of meals and are generally finished with their routes by 11 a.m.

Those 55 and older interested in volunteering at the Meal-A-Day Center are encouraged to contact the RSVP program at the above number, or Karon Weatherman, director of the Senior Citizens Center, at 903-885-1661 during program hours.

Weatherman said anyone willing to volunteer needs to be dedicated. The program will be glad to work with volunteers' schedules within operating hours.

Hopkins County Heritage Park and Historical Museum officials indicated there is a need throughout the week for docents to do museum walk-throughs and also help in the park itself, as well as occasional assistance for special events. Anyone with gardening or landscaping talents, or those just willing to mow the lawn or do general yard work or maintenance, are also welcome, according to Rick Wilson.

"We'll take volunteers and help anytime we can get them," said Wilson, a member of Hopkins County Historical Society, which maintains the museum and park.

Anyone wishing to volunteer at Heritage Museum and Park through RSVP should contact that agency. Others can contact Verdon Graves or Sylvia Martin at the museum at 903-885-2387 for more information or to schedule time as a volunteer.

For more information:

-- RSVP -- Call 903-782-0441 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday or 8 a.m. and 12 noon Friday, send an e-mailing query to skahn@parisjc.edu., or go to the web site: www.rrvrsvp.org

-- Meal-A-Day -- Call 903-885-1661.

-- Sulphur Springs Public Library -- Call 903-885-4926 between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, or 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, or go to the web site: www.sslibrary.org.

-- Hopkins County Heritage Park and Historical Museum -- Call 903-885-2387 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, or go to the web site: www.hopkinscountymuseum.org.

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