RSVP luncheon spared budget axe

PORT HENRY - The annual Retired Senior Volunteer Program recognition luncheon has been saved.

The dinner and awards ceremony held every fall had been canceled for 2009 because of budget cuts.

That changed June 1 when the Essex County Board of Supervisors decided to fund the program.

"This is great news," said Patsy McCaughin, RSVP executive director. "We want to express our sincere thanks to the board for their generosity."

The 35th annual RSVP luncheon will be held Oct. 7 in Port Henry.

Each year the program recognizes the contributions of RSVP volunteers. Nearly 500 RSVP volunteers logged more than 60,394 hours of service at 93 locations in Essex County during 2008, according to McCaughin.

More than 200 people attended the 2008 luncheon.

RSVP is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Catholic Charities. RSVP is a United Way Agency.

Earlier this year McCaughin announced the recognition ceremony would be canceled because of RSVP budget cuts in Essex and Clinton counties.

"It is with great regret that we must cancel our annual volunteer luncheons scheduled for October," she said in April. "Even sadder is Essex County is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Both directors felt it important to keep volunteer benefits, such as mileage and meal reimbursement, so other cuts were enacted."

Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas notified McCaughin the Essex County Board of Supervisors has agreed to take $1,800 from the county contingency fund to pay for the annual luncheon.

The annual dinner is catered by the Essex County Nutrition Program for the Elderly and served to the volunteers by students from Moriah Central School and friends of RSVP.

"RSVP is a community-based program where people help people of all ages through volunteerism, thereby, meeting basic human needs," McCaughin said. "This salute to the volunteers is a small reward for all that they do for their communities."

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