Clearfield RSVP Offers Faith-based Volunteer Opportunities

Pictured are RSVP volunteers that are part of Arlene’s Knitting Angels. Seated from left to right are: Sharon Durendetta, Peggy Bakaysa, Jean Harshberger and Pauline French. Standing: Carol Malone, Shirley Miller, Doris Koble, Yvonne Stewart and Sharon Ludrowsky. Not pictured, but contributing their talents are: Charlotte Best, Ellen Brown, Sandy Irwin, Barbara Jewart, Janice Litz, Sita Singh, Linda Thomas, Bonnie Sabol, Susan von Gunden and Veronica Young. (Provided photo)

Editor’s Note:  The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is a referral service designed to place volunteers in non-profit organizations where their knowledge and skills positively impact the community and individuals served.  The following article is part of a monthly series by RSVP highlighting the community based involvement and service of RSVP volunteers.

RSVP of Clearfield County is sponsored locally by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc.  Seventy percent of the funding for RSVP is provided through a federal grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency.  The other 30 percent is provided locally by the CCAAA Inc., the Clearfield Area and DuBois Area United Way agencies, memorials, contributions and fundraising.

From time-to-time, the corporation develops and focuses on certain initiatives to meet special community needs. The country is blessed with a long tradition of individuals committed to assisting other individuals, families and communities who have special needs.   The corporation’s Faith-based and Community Initiative is one of the special initiatives for which RSVP projects are encouraged to develop volunteer opportunities.

For years, faith-based and community groups have been assisting individuals in need.  A faith-based organization refers to any organization that is religiously oriented regardless of whether or not religious activities are their primary function.  One local faith-based RSVP station is a group of knitters who meet weekly at a church in Curwensville, Arlene’s Knitting Angels.

The group was formed more than seven years ago when Arlene Beechert was the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Curwensville.  Beechert had a passion for knitting and taught some of the ladies from her church to knit and make Guidepost sweaters to send to missionaries in the United States and foreign countries.  The sweaters were given to children throughout the world.

This group of dedicated volunteers now gets together at two churches in Curwensville – the Curwensville United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church of Curwensville. They meet every Wednesday at one of the churches and address many community needs along with needs throughout the world.  Area nursing/personal care homes have benefitted from the dedication of this group.  Items such as lap robes and prayer shawls have been made and donated to these facilities.  When anyone from the churches or community are in a local nursing/personal care home, a lap robe or prayer shawl is taken to the individual along with a note of greetings and prayers.  

Hats, mittens and scarves are knitted and donated to the RSVP program to be distributed to children from Cen-Clear Child Services Inc. and the Clearfield Salvation Army.  Also, the group has an ongoing fundraiser of selling knitted dishcloths.  The money they earn from sales is donated to the local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  Community and church members donate the majority of the yarn to complete these projects.

Arlene’s Knitting Angels has expanded their caring efforts.  Another project the group has taken on is making plastic mats for children to sleep on in Haiti, Guatemala and the Appalachian area.  The mats are made from plastic bags.  Local businesses have been very generous to Arlene’s Knitting Angels.  Sheetz and Lezzer Lumber have donated full cartons of new bags for the project.  Other area stores have contributed also.

It would be very hard to put a number on the amount of individuals who have benefitted from the efforts of Arlene’s Knitting Angels over the years.  You can make a difference, too.  If you are gifted with a talent for knitting or crocheting, maybe you can assist by making items.  If you are not a knitter, donations of yarn, bags, or money to purchase supplies could be donated to the cause. 

Call the RSVP office at (814) 765-2226 or 1-800-225-8571 if you have any questions about this project.             

November Volunteer Corner

SPECIAL PROJECTS:  Do you want to volunteer but not be committed to a long-term assignment?  RSVP has special projects that are seasonal but still impact the community in a positive way.  Some examples are sewing quilts for children who are in traumatic situations, preparing special mailings for organizations, or singing and visiting in a local nursing/personal care home.  Your favorite organization or nursing/personal care home always can use some help with special projects.

THEATRE VOLUNTEERS:  Would you like to take part in an organization that provides entertainment and enrichment to our community?  Many volunteer opportunities are available at our local theatre.  Share your talents and skills with the Clearfield Arts Studio Theatre (CAST).  Whether you have always wanted to act, would like to try your hand at helping to build sets, help locate props, or serve as a ticket taker/usher, this may be the volunteer position for you!  Think about it and give the RSVP office a call!

FRIENDLY VISITOR:  Volunteers hold a special place in the lives of residents of local nursing/personal care homes.  There are many ways you could share your time and talents.  Volunteers are needed to visit one-on-one with residents who do not receive many visitors.  Maybe you would like to help with activities such as bingo, parties, etc.  Do you sing or play a musical instrument?  Entertainment is always welcome.  Think about how you could brighten someone’s day and give us a call.

If you are interested in any of the above volunteer opportunities or would like to learn more about RSVP, please call the RSVP office at (814) 765-2226 or 1-800-225-8571.

RSVP is sponsored and partially funded by the CCAAA Inc.  Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Clearfield and DuBois United Way agencies, memorials and contributions.

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