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RSVP: You’re Invited to Volunteer

Pat Sicard, Volunteer Manager, RSVP of the Pioneer ValleyPat Sicard, Volunteer Manager, RSVP of the Pioneer ValleyOver a year ago I met with a potential RSVP volunteer at the Northfield Senior Center. A retired mail carrier, he had some time, liked to drive, and wanted to do something important for his community. Gary started delivering over 20 Meals on Wheels per trip to area homebound elders without missing a beat. Due to COVID-19, program changes had to be made to the face-to-face delivery system, and it became a smile and wave process. But despite the changes, Gary’s easy smile, friendly manner, and ability to deliver on time has made the difference in the well being, health, and comfort of his clients, who look forward to his visits.

Gary started delivering over 20 Meals on Wheels per trip to area homebound elders without missing a beat.

Gary said, "I got to know people and their needs. One 93-year-old living alone loves sports and we talk about that and her childhood when she comes to the door. I love to be busy, and this gets me out of the house. I am happy to do it and will continue.” 

Many other RSVP volunteers, like Gary, are ensuring that homebound elders in Western Massachusetts are getting daily good nutrition with a friendly hello and a wave.  If you are interested in volunteering to support the Meals on Wheels program or other nutrition distribution programs, contact Pat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin Counties, at 413-387-1286 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;  or contact Ginger Elliott, Volunteer Coordinator for Hampden County, at 413-387-1296 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesPat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesLast holiday season, RSVP volunteers were busy helping with ‌countless‌ ‌charitable‌ ‌projects‌ described by Energize, Inc. CEO Dr. Susan J. Ellis as “feel-good‌ ‌and‌ ‌help-those-in-need‌ ‌activities.” ‌But by the spring of 2020, a global pandemic changed everything, and now volunteer service looks a bit different for the 2020 holidays. RSVP volunteers continue to adapt, and many are busy as they don their masks, socially distance, sanitize, and/or connect virtually to help community members and service organizations during COVID-19. They pack and distribute food in drive-up settings, provide virtual data assistance to Fuel Assistance and Benefits Counseling, help homebound neighbors with shopping and friendly phone calls, and more. For example, Mike V. is using his tech talents to help with the Look4Help program, which provides connections to local service organizations.

This‌ ‌holiday‌ ‌season‌ ‌you can volunteer ‌your‌ ‌time‌ ‌and‌ ‌talent‌, even if it looks a bit different than last year.

Ann Marie M., virtually volunteering for the Fuel Assistance program, says, “I do things to help free up the staff so they can process claims.”  As an RSVP exercise leader, she also conducts a weekly virtual Healthy Bones and Balance class, and she shops for homebound neighbors, makes friendly well-being checks by phone, and even keeps up an ill neighbor’s garden. She explains, “I feel good doing little things. It lifts my spirits up because I am doing this for others.”  

Providing data backup for LifePath’s Healthy Living program is only one of many volunteer roles for Carol K. She recently completed training to provide phone support for the SHINE program and will soon be training to help people find the insurance plans that will best meet their individual needs. When reflecting on her reasons for volunteering, Carol says, “more activity is healthy for body and mind in addition to keeping a positive attitude during these difficult times.”

This‌ ‌holiday‌ ‌season‌ ‌you can volunteer ‌your‌ ‌time‌ ‌and‌ ‌talent‌, even if it looks a bit different than last year. A ‌few‌ ‌hours‌ ‌weekly ‌can‌‌ say ‌“Happy‌ ‌Holidays”‌ ‌365‌ ‌days‌ ‌a‌ ‌year.‌ 

Pat‌ ‌Sicard‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌Volunteer‌ ‌Manager‌ ‌for‌ ‌RSVP‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Pioneer‌ ‌Valley,‌ ‌Franklin‌ ‌and‌ ‌Hampshire‌ ‌counties,‌ ‌a‌ program‌ ‌sponsored‌ ‌by‌ ‌Community‌ ‌Action‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Pioneer‌ ‌Valley.‌ ‌Contact‌ ‌Pat‌ ‌at‌ 413-387-1286‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ginger‌ ‌Elliott‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌Volunteer‌ ‌Coordinator‌ ‌for‌ ‌Hampden‌ County‌ ‌and‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌reached‌ ‌at‌ ‌413-387-1296‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesPat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesAs the autumn leaves fall, elders can be assured that LifePath’s Benefits Counseling Program is designed to enhance the financial security of adults age 60 and older, and people with disabilities of any age, by offering a variety of supports to keep you independent. Information & Caregiver Resource Center Program Director Laurie Deskavich states, “LifePath, the Benefits Counseling Program, and its volunteers make a difference in so many elders’ lives.” The program provides access to benefits and increased home energy efficiency to help people stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

“Benefits Counseling has made a big difference in my life.”

The Benefits Counseling program can assist with SNAP (food stamps) and fuel assistance applications along with referrals to other agencies for assistance with home repair and home modifications. Assistance can lead to possible energy discounts, rebates on appliances, weatherization, and energy audits of your home.

One LifePath program participant put it best: “Benefits Counseling has made a big difference in my life. They help with my heat, which is electric. In this small apartment that’s helped a lot. They’re easily accessible, but I think a lot of people just don’t use it. I would say, ‘Hey, call this number. Guaranteed, they’ll help.’” To get started, call LifePath at 413-773-5555, X1230 or 978-544-2259, X1230 to speak to a Resource Consultant, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Benefits Counseling volunteer, contact Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin counties, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-387-1286. Ginger Elliott is the RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Coordinator for Hampden County. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-387-1296.

Pat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesPat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesDid you know that August 14th is National Financial Awareness Day?  Volunteers for LifePath’s Money Management program focus on the financial wellbeing of consumers and ensure consumers’ independence at home.  With contactless visits that provide PPE to all, the program and its volunteers keep their clients’ bills paid, and have not missed a beat during the COVID-19 crisis.

Volunteers for LifePath’s Money Management program focus on the financial wellbeing of consumers and ensure consumers’ independence at home.

Program Manager Ceil Moran described the process as “phone visits and socially distanced outside visits based on the volunteer’s and participant’s level of comfort.”  Consumers put bills and financial information in a manila envelope and pass it to the Money Management volunteers.  The volunteers pay the bills while sitting in their car or maintaining social distance outside, and return paid bills to the consumer in a manila envelope.

If you or a loved one would benefit from Money Management services, contact Ceil Moran at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  RSVP, a federal Senior Corps volunteer program, is recruiting adults 55 and older with skills in finance or bill paying, or with “people skills,” to serve LifePath clients.  Volunteer and celebrate Financial Awareness Day by contacting Pat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin Counties, 413-387-1286, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ginger Elliott, RSVP Volunteer Coordinator for Hampden County, 413-387-1296, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesPat Sicard, RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin countiesSpring is arriving soon, and it is a wonderful time to think about ending the winter “cabin fever” and connecting with new opportunities and new friends in your community. A John Hopkins study revealed that “volunteering increases brain functioning because activity gets you moving and thinking at the same time.”

RSVP of the Pioneer Valley is a federal Senior Corps program that matches adults 55 and older to volunteer opportunities with 65 community non-profits. We want to help you get moving, use your experience, or try new challenges as we connect you to prospects close to home and within your time availability.

We want to help you get moving, use your experience, or try new challenges as we connect you to prospects close to home and within your time availability.

AARP asks the question, “Volunteering makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of others, but did you know how much you help yourself by giving back?” Volunteers have good feelings when making a difference in other lives, meet new friends, and according to the John Hopkins study, “experience a happiness effect.”

SHINE volunteers meet with clients and provide free, confidential and unbiased health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. Volunteers who like to drive provide access to medical appointments for homebound elders. LifePath volunteer Ombudsmen visit residents of local rest homes and nursing homes on a flexible weekly schedule, building professional relationships and feeling purposeful as they help to make sure that the residents’ concerns are heard and addressed.

RSVP now offers New Volunteer Orientation twice monthly and we invite anyone who is interested in all of the many local volunteer opportunities to contact us and reserve a space for the next orientation on March 26 from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Contact Pat Sicard, Volunteer Manager, at 413-387-1286 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ginger Elliott is the Volunteer Coordinator for Hampden County, and can be contacted at 413-387-1296 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..