OlyCAP retired and senior program receives federal grant

Volunteers help with transportation, medical appointments

PORT TOWNSEND — Olympic Community Action Programs will continue to receive funding for its retired and senior volunteer program, which coordinates efforts for meal services, transportation and social interaction.

The agency, which serves both Clallam and Jefferson counties, has received a federal grant for $63,960 annually for the next three years from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), program manager Jane Covella said.

The funds will help OlyCAP support community partners with focuses in early childhood services, food banks and senior daycare, she said.

“It will provide funding so we can get more volunteers volunteering in the community in both counties,” Covella said.

The program had 345 volunteers last year with nearly 57,000 hours, which translated to a total value of more than $1.4 million dollars saved in support work, she said.

The independent sector rate as of April 2019 was $25.43 per hour, Covella added.

The retired and senior volunteer program (RSVP) includes those who tutor in schools and provide transportation to get medical supplies through the Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization (ECHHO). Some transportation includes travel to medical appointments in the Seattle area, she said.

Food banks that receive support include Port Townsend, Quilcene, Brinnon and the Tri-Area as well as Port Angeles.

Funding also helps with the weekly senior nutrition program, also known as Meals on Wheels.

“We provide meal service for people who are elderly or those with low incomes,” Covella said. “It’s not only for the meals but for socialization because they are pretty isolated in their homes.”

The funding also helps with meals at various community centers. The one in Sequim is currently at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, Covella said.

OlyCAP has three staff members who help each organization track their volunteer hours, and those reports are sent to chambers of commerce and the CNCS, Covella said.

The state directors for RSVP meet regularly for training and travel to Olympia every other year for informational meetings with elected officials, she said.

There are 18 sites on the North Olympic Peninsula that benefit from the RSVP volunteers, she added.

Covella said it not only helps those who need the service, it’s good for the volunteers, too.

“It’s definitely a place where they can have companionship,” she said. “It helps with their brain activity being out and helpful in the community.”

Another area of focus is a program that connects military veterans to support services, Covella said.

Occasionally, there are additional opportunities, such as when the SmileMobile visited Port Townsend last month to provide dental services for low-income patients.

Program volunteers will be honored next week during an appreciation event in Sequim, Covella said.

She added that they perform client surveys for all of the programs where RSVP is providing enrichment.

“They are so happy that they have help from the volunteers because it really makes a difference in their lives,” Covella said.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].

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