RSVP volunteers honored for volunteer work in southern Oklahoma

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - "As long as there's life in us, there's work to be done,' RSVP Volunteer Verna Sowder said

Verna Sowder was one of many seniors honored Wednesday afternoon.

"The fact that today, they specifically clapped their hands, for me, meant a great deal," Sowder said.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (or RSVP) provides volunteer opportunities for anyone 55 or older.

They put in over 39,000 hours of work in nine southern Oklahoma counties last year.

"Most of them say they don't need recognition," RSVP Director Wanda Gray. But everyone likes to be appreciated and this was our way of saying we appreciate you."

Gray says the annual banquet is a way for her team to show their appreciation.

"They usually tell us thank you, I'm telling you we gain so much more from these volunteers than what they give it's crazy," Gray said.

At least 12 of the honorees were 80 years old, or older.

"People don't even realize they can sit beside the bed of an old person of hospital room and just let them have some comfort of having another person there," Sowder said.

They made hot meals for seniors and kids, provided socks for veterans as well as hygiene kits for kids.

It's work many counties have to hire out, but can put that money elsewhere, thanks to RSVP.

"They saved over $957,000 for our nine county area," Gray said.

Sowder encourages everyone (despite age) to get involved and volunteer.

"It can be as easy as taking care of an elderly neighbor, or taking care of a single mother's children for a few hours," Sowder said.