Save the seniors

HR 1, the Continuing Resolution for 2011 passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 19. It eliminates funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Senior Corps programs it administers, including the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), and the Senior Companion Program (SCP), as well as Americorps, VISTA, and Learn and Serve America. Since passage in the House, it was been retitled H.J. Res 48 as it faces a vote in the coming days in the Senate.

Eliminating these programs would result in “firing” 450,000 volunteers nationwide – more than 250 in Blount County – depleting vital services to people, young and old, but especially the elderly, who rely on them. These programs leverage community support throughout the United States to help solve community problems, in the most cost effective way possible – with volunteer workers.

With some 70 million baby boomers expected to retire in the coming decades, we need Senior Corps to provide the high quality volunteer opportunities as well as the services themselves, to the people that need them. Senior Corps is the only national infrastructure we have capable of performing the job in a cost effective manner.

Every day, all over Blount County, RSVP volunteers make a profound difference in our community by assisting in providing health services, delivering Meals on Wheels, mentoring and/or tutoring children in schools, providing companionship and monitoring to the home-bound, and assisting in nursing homes, to name just a few of their activities. The elimination of funds associated with those programs will have a drastic effect on millions of people who need them most, all over the country, including in our own community.

Ask our U.S. Senators to oppose passage of this bill and stand up for our seniors today. Their contact information appears below. Do it now. Vote on the bill could be set any day.

Senator Richard Shelby Website: 304 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5744 Fax: (202) 224-3416

Senator Jeff Sessions Website: 326 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-4124 Fax: (202) 224-3149

Fairy Allred Coordinator, Blount County RSVP