Senior Corps RSVP members helped the Lehigh Valley Business Group transform an empty warehouse space into Valley H.O.P.E. The purpose of Valley H.O. P. E. is to help those who are transitioning out of homelessness or have lost everything due to a fire or other emergency. Senior Corps RSVP volunteers began sorting and organizing donations in June and continued working through the summer and fall to set up the Resource Room for those in need.
The statistics for the very first quarter are in. We thought you would like to know the results of their hard work and how many were helped because of their willingness to give of their time and energy.
Thanks to you, our caring volunteers, from its opening in October of 2016, through the end of the year, 30+ volunteers from Senior Corps RSVP have helped 170 children, 50 adults, and 15 homeless, including veterans, due to fire and emergencies.
Lehigh Valley H.O.P.E. Monthly Totals (1st Quarter)
a great start but so much more to do and many more people to help…
Volunteers are needed to sort and organize donations coming in from the community:
All on Saturday from 9am to 2pm
We’ll be putting teams together to help on all the Work Days. We hope others will come out to help.
If you haven’t been there yet, come see for yourself what it’s all about, drop off a donation and join the dedicated volunteers who helped make this resource room possible to serve hundreds of people.
Thank you to our 30 RSVP volunteers for giving HOPE to those in need.
What happens when a dozen ladies and gentlemen get together to “Sit N Sew?” About five dozen Fidget Quilts, two large trash bags of neck rolls and two plastic sleeping bag mats – that’s what!!
Participants at the Easton Area Lifestyle Campus (EALC) in Forks Township, part of the Northampton County Area Agency on Aging’s network of Senior Centers, have been hand-crafting items for their community members since November 2015. It all started with an idea from Deb Mertz, Director of EALC. “I wanted to find a fun and meaningful activity for the participants and came across a pattern for Fidget Quilts and it just grew from there”, said Deb.
A Fidget Quilt is a small quilt made with squares of different textured cloths. Some of the squares are often adorned with buttons, zippers, or other objects to help busy the nervous hands of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. To date, members of “Sit N Sew” at EALC have donated over 60 Fidget Quilts which RSVP was able to distribute to local nursing homes, an adult day center and early childhood intervention programs.
After one of the nursing homes received the quilts, they asked if the “Sit N Sew” members could make neck rolls for residents. “Of course we can!” they replied. In March, they delivered about 30 neck rolls to nursing-home residents.
Most of the material used to make the quilts and neck rolls comes from the EALC participants, but they’ve also received donations from other organizations.
The “Sit N Sew” members don’t only work with fabric. They’ve crocheted sleeping-bag mats out of plastic grocery bags turned into strips of plarn (plastic bag yarn). The mats were donated to the homeless. The mats are used to keep sleeping bags protected from ground moisture and dirt. It takes 500 plastic bags to make one mat! Bag donations came from participants and their friends as well as local supermarkets.
According to Deb, she’s observed more liveliness at the center since these projects started. “For the participants, life still has meaning, they’re not too old to give back and doing so just makes their hearts soar!!” One participant feels like she’s “paying forward for all the good I’ve gotten in my life.” While another said, “It lightens your heart to know that you’ve brought something into someone’s life that brings a smile to their face.”
Almost all seniors have some skill or experience to contribute and Senior Corps RSVP is all about making the connection between those who want to help and those who need help.
ShareCare Faith in Action, a small non-profit agency based in Bethlehem, has been serving older adults in Lehigh and Northampton Counties since 1991 by mobilizing volunteers from many faiths and the community at large to work together to care for their neighbors.
ShareCare’s network of trained volunteers provide compassionate and practical services which help to improve the quality of life and promote independence for the elderly and individuals with special needs. Volunteers are providing transportation to appointments, assisting with grocery shopping, making friendly visits, helping with seasonal yard work and small household chores.
Since over 90% of our area seniors want to remain living in their own homes, volunteers willing to provide a ride, rake leaves, shop for and deliver groceries, and assist with other simple tasks can help people safely “age in place.”