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Volunteer Site Spotlight-Buffalo County Food Pantry

Jan/Feb 2016

Every third Thursday of the month you will find the Buffalo County Food Pantry Coordinators and RSVP Volunteers, Wayne and LuAnn Babros, and an average of thirteen additional RSVP volunteers, hard at work for their monthly food distribution. The Buffalo County Food Pantry is located at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Alma and is one of many RSVP partnering sites. It is also the only food pantry in Buffalo County that receives assistance from Western Dairyland’s TEFAP (Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program). Each month RSVP volunteers give their time to ensure that each person attending the food pantry receives the items that they need. Cindy Denk, a volunteer with the RSVP program for over ten years, concentrates on collecting, organizing, and distributing clothing and other household necessities before the pantry begins at 1 pm. Cindy is also one of the many RSVP volunteers that assist food pantry participants with selecting the food items that best fits their household needs. The volunteers have a well-organized pantry allowing them to assist the participants in the best way possible. Wayne stated, “This would not be possible without the volunteers; RSVP volunteer Dennis Youngbauer it’s all about them. They set it up and do all of the work.” Wayne and LuAnn have many responsibilities. One of these responsibilities include ordering food and planning what food will be available at each distribution. For the November distribution, Wayne wanted them to have all they would need for a typical Thanksgiving feast. Many of the participants were very pleased with the food they received. The items included a turkey, cranberry sauce, butterscotch and chocolate chip morsels, frozen carrots, cherries, and gravy; this in addition to the items they typically receive. RSVP Volunteer Dennis Youngbauer has been volunteering at the Buffalo County Food Pantry for over five years. His best reward from being a volunteer are the ‘thank you’s he receives, and how grateful the participants are about getting the food they need. He also states that a large part of the process is getting adequate food and having a good variety. He credits Wayne for taking charge of the inventory and coordinating that part of the process. He states the Buffalo County Food Pantry has a good group of volunteers. They have a great time while serving a need in their community. When asked if there is anything he would like to add about his experience, he stated that he knows there are other people out there needing assistance and wishes they could reach all of them. He added that each volunteer enjoys what they do at the pantry, which makes a difference. The Buffalo County Food Pantry is 100% volunteer operated and has served 246 individuals multiple times in 2015. RSVP Program Director, Cheryl Padula, stated, “Volunteers are so important to the overall operations at the food pantry. Without them, the food pantry would not exist.” Please contact the RSVP office at 715-985-2391 ext 1205 if you are interested in a volunteer opportunity at the Buffalo County Food Pantry or any of our other partnering sites.



RSVP Contact Information

Have You Moved?

Western Dairyland EOC Inc. is a private, nonWe want to hear from you! profit community action agency established in 1966 for the purpose of alleviating poverty-related conditions and assisting low-income families to achieve their economic self-reliance. We welcome The RSVP Program has had the pleasure of working your comments & suggestions about the Western with many wonderful volunteers and watching the impact each person has made in their own community Dairyland RSVP program. through volunteerism. Address: Western Dairyland EOC Inc. RSVP Program 23122 Whitehall Road Independence, WI 54747 Phone: 715-985-2391 ext. 1205 Office hours: Monday - Friday from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Website: www.westerndairyland.org

We ask that you please help the RSVP office stay updated. Are you still volunteering? Have you changed your volunteer location? Perhaps you are not feeling well or maybe you have been physically unable to volunteer due to an illness or surgery? We also know summers are busy and you may be enjoying more time with your family which may result in being too busy to volunteer at this time. Whatever the reason, we would really like to hear from you. To insure that you receive RSVP volunteer recognition and to assist you with future RSVP volunteer opportunities, we ask that you be sure to record all volunteer hours at your volunteer work site. Feel free to contact us at anytime; we welcome your input, concerns and volunteer stories.

Email Address:

Call us at 1-800-782-1063 ext. 1205 or 1232. We look forward to hearing from you!

Bert Plucker

Louise Reed

Holly Anderson

Gordon Odeen

Sandra Rehse

Mary Ann Przybylla

Betty Ofsdahl

Sally Lee

Karen Shaw

Terry Lee

Jeanette Erickson

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde



Where do you fit in? Economic Opportunity

Tax Assistance Adult Education

Thrift Store Volunteers Environmental Stewardship K-12 School Volunteers Veterans/Military Trempealeau County Veterans Transportation


Red Cross

Healthy Futures (Primary Focus Area)

Disaster Services

Food Distribution Volunteer Transportation Home Delivered Meals Weekend Food 4 Kids Caregiving Services

Other Community Priorities

Nursing Homes Sewing/Quilting Groups Birthday Box Museums Congregate Meals (without home-delivered meals)



The RSVP Volunteers of Jackson County were honored at the 2015 RSVP Recognition Event on September 16. The event was held at the Skyline Golf Course in Black River Falls and more than 40 volunteers gathered for the wonderful event, visiting and sharing laughs while enjoying a fantastic meal and raffle drawing.

Thank you to the following area businesses & organizations for making this event possible: Al Muth Harley Davidson, AmericInn Lodge & Suites, Badger Mining, Banner Journal/Shopper, Black River Surplus, Cain’s Orchard, Castle Hill Supper Club, Corporation for National & Community Service, Falls Florist, 4 Seasons Quick Stop, Hair 4 All Seasons, Ho-Chunk Casino, Holiday Station Stores, Mocha Mouse, Moe Hardware, Perkins, Taylor Lutheran Church, Walmart, and Western Dairyland RSVP.

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The RSVP Volunteers of Buffalo County were honored at the 2015 Recognition Event on October 17 at the Waumandee House in Waumandee. More than 100 volunteers gathered for the fun-filled event including a delicious meal and raffle drawing.

We would like to offer a special thank you to the following local businesses & organizations for making this event possible: Buffalo County Department of Aging, Corporation for National & Community Service, Green Bay Packer Foundation, Scheels, and Western Dairyland RSVP.



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Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits Benefits of volunteering #1: Volunteering Connects you to others One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community & make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, & organizations in need. Volunteering helps you make new friends & contacts. One of the best ways to make new friends & strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Volunteering also strengthens your ties to the community & broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, & fun, fulfilling activities.  Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills. While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice & develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends & contacts. Benefits of volunteering #2: Volunteering is good for your mind & body Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.  Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your selfconfidence, self-esteem, & life satisfaction. You are doing good for others & the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride & identity. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life.  Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning & purpose in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, & add more zest to your life.  Volunteering combats depression. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others & helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress & depression when you’re going through challenging times. Working with pets & other animals has also been shown to improve mood & reduce stress and anxiety.  Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. The physical activity involved in certain forms of volunteering—such as environmental projects in parks, nature reserves, or beaches—can be good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors such as participants health. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease. Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn FUNERAL & CREMATION SERVICES www.lenmarkfh.com


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Helping Others While Helping Yourself


Benefits of volunteering #3: Volunteering can advance your career If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest & meet people in the field. Even if you’re not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, & organization.  Volunteering can provide career experience. Volunteering offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It is also a great way to gain experience in a new field. In some fields, you can volunteer directly at an organization that does the kind of work you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in nursing, you could volunteer at a hospital or a nursing home.  Volunteering can teach you valuable job skills. Just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean the skills you learn are basic. Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training. For example, you could become an experienced crisis counselor while volunteering for a women’s shelter or a knowledgeable art historian while donating your time as a museum docent. Benefits of volunteering #4: Volunteering brings fun & fulfillment to your life Volunteering is a fun & easy way to explore your interests & passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful & interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, & vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life. Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies outside of work as well. For instance, if you have a desk job and long to spend time outdoors, you might consider volunteering to help plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or help out at a children's camp .  Consider your goals and interests when volunteering. You will have a richer, more enjoyable volunteering experience if you first take some time to identify your goals & interests. Start by thinking about why you want to volunteer. Also think about what you would enjoy doing.  How much time should you volunteer? Volunteering doesn’t have to take over your life to be beneficial. In fact, research shows that just two to three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can confer the most benefits—to both you & your chosen cause. The important thing is to volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable to you. Volunteering should feel like a fun & rewarding hobby, not another chore on your to-do list.  I have limited mobility, can I still volunteer? People with disabilities or chronic health conditions can still benefit greatly from volunteering. In fact, research has shown that adults with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing and vision loss to heart disease, diabetes or digestive disorders all show improvement after volunteering. See more at: http://goo.gl/XpNPYw

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RSVP Volunteer Weekend Food 4 Kids Project Every Thursday morning you will find RSVP staff members and a great group of RSVP volunteers preparing to package bags of supplemental weekend food. This project provides children with nutritious weekend food for pre-K and school-age children. This RSVP program serves children in the Independence school district including both public and parochial. It also distributes food to Head Start families from the Independence Head Start center serving children from Independence, Whitehall, Arcadia, and Pigeon Falls. In order for a child/ family to receive the food, they simply have to fill out an enrollment form. The bags of food are sent home on Thursdays and can include enough food for each child in the household. Contents of the bags vary each week but can include: easy to prepare meals, either one canned fruit or vegetable, soup, bread, cereal, peanut butter and jelly, crackers, granola bars and other miscellaneous items. In October of 2015, when the project resumed for the 2015/16 school year, a record number of applications were received. As of December 2015, the RSVP Weekend Food 4 Kids project has served a grand total of 78 families, with 161 children receiving weekly food bags. Without the hard work and dedication from our RSVP volunteers, this would not be possible.

RSVP volunteers Jan Hagen & Sharon Haugen

If you know of a child/family who would benefit from Weekend Food 4 Kids assistance, please encourage their parent or guardian to enroll. Enrollment forms are available at the Independence school district office, Independence Head Start Center and the Western Dairyland RSVP office. To learn more about how RSVP volunteers are helping in your community, please visit our website at:: www.westerndairyland.org/rsvp.phtml Volunteers are always needed for this project. If you have a couple of hours of free time to volunteer on a Thursday morning, we would love to hear from you! We also need volunteers to help unload the truck on Thursday afternoons once or twice a month. Unable to volunteer at this time but want to help? The program would also benefit from monetary donations. The average cost per bag of food is $2.50.

If you have any questions about this or any other RSVP volunteer opportunity, please contact RSVP at 715-985-2391 Ext 1205 or e-mail cheryl.padula@wdeoc.org.

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Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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A total of 246 volunteers from Jackson, Trempealeau, Buffalo, & Eau Claire counties responded to our RSVP Volunteer Satisfaction Survey in 2015. 

99% are satisfied with their overall RSVP experiences.

97% of RSVP volunteers are satisfied with the recognition they receive as a volunteer.

89% of RSVP volunteers are satisfied with the positive impact they make as a volunteer.

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Adult Day Program

Church Street Community Club Our Adult Day Program provides services, to older adults in our region, seeking a caring community setting for during the day care. Services Provided Include: • Nutritious meals and snacks • Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy* • Music from the community • Crafts and games • Worship • Exercise • Special Events • Transportation* • Beautician*

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Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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Across 4. a non-profit thrift store in Trempealeau county that offers a rotating stock of clothing, along with shoes, housewares, books, toys, jewelry & accessories. 6. a private, non-profit community action agency established June 1966, under the Economic Opportunity Act to help disadvantaged individuals in Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties. 7. an ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something 8. brightly wrapped boxes filled with cake mix, frosting, candles, colorful plates and napkins, & a few small toys 9. helps meet the needs & challenges of America's communities through grants and other resources 11. a group of people who live in the same area 14. to give (something, such as money, goods, or time) to help a person, group, cause, or organization 16. a RSVP project devoted to providing pre-K and school-age children in Independence with nutritious weekend food assistance

Down 1. to talk & do things with other people in a friendly way 2. a RSVP project that provides rides for veterans to their medical appointments at the Tomah VA 3. a service that provides food for people in need 5. of service or assistance 10. giving pleasure or satisfaction 12. involved in the activities of a group or organization; participating in an action or activity 13. a person who gives freely of their time and talents 15. connects individuals age 55 & older with meaningful volunteer opportunities

Mental decline as you age appears to be largely due to altered connections among brain cells. But research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells. Keep your brain active everyday:       

Garden Play games Try memory exercises Attend lectures and plays Read, write, work crossword or other puzzles Stay curious and involved-commit to lifelong learning Enroll in courses at your local adult education center, community college or other community groups

See more at: http://www.alz.org/we_can_help_stay_mentally_active.asp

Answers: Across: 4) Cents & Sensibility, 6) Western Dairyland, 7) Appreciation, 8) Birthday Box, 9) Senior Corps, 11) Community, 14) Contribute, 16) Food4Kids Down: 1) Socialize, 2) Veterans Transportation, 3) Food Pantry, 5) Helpful, 10) Gratifying, 12) Active, 13) Volunteer, 15) RSVP

For ad info. call Denise Canterbury at 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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Complete the Crossword. Some of the answers contain two or more words with no spacing between. 1

















RSVP Volunteer Office 23122 Whitehall Road PO Box 125 Independence, WI 54747


Western Dairyland’s RSVP program serves Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties. Major funding is provided by the Corporation for National & Community Service.


Profile for Western Dairyland

RSVP Newsletter Jan/Feb 2016  

The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) connects individuals age 55 or older with meaningful volunteer opportunities in their communit...

RSVP Newsletter Jan/Feb 2016  

The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) connects individuals age 55 or older with meaningful volunteer opportunities in their communit...