Letter: Cutting volunteer program would hurt communities
I urge everyone to contact their local Congressional representative to express support for funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). I am currently director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and know the importance of national volunteer service to individuals and the communities served.
Congress is proposing to eliminate funding for the CNCS, which is the federal agency that provides grant funds and national service opportunities in our communities. Without this program, our communities would definitely suffer. Last year, 838 RSVP volunteers provided 62,547 hours of service to the elderly and disabled in our 10-county area. These services included delivery of meals to the homebound elderly, provided non-emergency medical transportation, assistance in nursing homes, hospitals, food banks, calling and visiting those in need of social stimulation and safety check-ups, as well as many other places where volunteers are invaluable.
According to the independent sector, the average value of a volunteer’s time for 2009 is $20.85 per hour. Using this figure, volunteers in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula saved taxpayers $1,204,104.95 in services provided. Across the United States, 63.4 million Americans, or 26.8 percent of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth $169 billion … and this is a program where the government wants to cut funding.
Please let your voice be heard in Washington today by calling Sen. Mark Warner, a member of the president’s budget committee, at 202-224-2023. Tell him that your community cannot afford to lose national service and that you reject the elimination of CNCS as proposed by the House of Representatives, and that you want Congress to pass a bill that sustains funding for service and community volunteering.
To each of you who respond to this request, thank you.
Dee Thomas, director
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program