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Higgins & Poloncarz announce $81,000-plus for senior volunteer program

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Mon, Jan 18th 2021 01:05 pm

Federal grant to assist with food, transportation & other needs

Congressman Brian Higgins and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Erie County Senior Services was awarded an $81,391 federal grant through the AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program.

“The Retired Senior Volunteer Program provides an outlet for those who have the time and ability to serve our community to do so, through an organized system that identifies areas of greatest need and pairs interested volunteers,” Higgins said. “This program and funding have been at risk of elimination and we have fought to protect them through the budget process to continue the benefits it provides to communities and those who choose to serve.”

Poloncarz added, “Erie County’s RSVP program touches the lives of countless seniors, providing them with the connections and compassion they need to lead healthier lives and be a part of their community. Thanks to Congressman Higgins, Erie County is one of only 10 recipients in New York to receive this grant, and I thank him for his work in preserving this grant funding, which means so much to our seniors.”

The grant will help support the work of 800 AmeriCorps Senior RSVP volunteers in Erie County. Activities supported by the program include delivering meals to homebound adults through local Meals on Wheels programs, providing transportation services to medical appointments and the grocery store, leading fitness programs, helping at food pantries, working with local arts and cultural associations, and sewing and distributing masks to protect residents from COVID-19 in coordination with the Erie County Health Department.

The AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program matches Americans age 55 or older with organizations doing important work in communities. More than 270,000 seniors participating in national service contributed over 1.6 billion hours in communities nationwide. In addition to helping others, the volunteers reported improved health stability and reduced feelings of loneliness.

To learn more or register to volunteer through the Erie County RSVP program, call 716-858-7548 or visit https://www2.erie.gov/seniorservices/index.php?q=volunteer-amp-employment.

The third Monday in January is recognized as a national day of service in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. This year, AmeriCorps partnered with the presidential inaugural committee to organize service opportunities across the nation.

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