Volunteers of America’s RSVP Volunteers Collect Over 10,000 lbs. Of Food

NEW ORLEANS, LA (September 21, 2020) – Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) hosted a special food drive in honor of the National Day of Service in remembrance of 9/11 on September 11, 2020. The volunteers were able to collect 10,784 pounds of much-needed food. This was the first food drive facilitated by RSVP.

The food drive was held at the Volunteers of America’s Mandeville office from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Donors drove into the parking lot where an RSVP volunteer would unload the donations into the Northshore Food Bank’s trucks. Prior to the event, some volunteers held mini-drives in their neighborhoods, which allowed the senior volunteers to practice safe social distancing while seeing several of their neighbors.

“The response to the inaugural RSVP food drive was overwhelming, bringing in enough food to feed over 350 families,” said Ginger Kunkle, Community Engagement Manager at Northshore Food Bank. “This is by far the most successful drive we have seen during the pandemic, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteers in this program taking the time to organize and collect smaller drives in their neighborhoods across our community.”

The RSVP program is for those citizens who are 55 and older and want to give back their time, skills and talents to the residents of St. Tammany Parish. “I am so thankful for all the RSVP Volunteers for stepping up and making this event so successful,” said Gwen Byars, RSVP Volunteers Director. “Several of the volunteers routinely volunteer at the Northshore Food Bank, all of which are hardworking and dedicated to their volunteerism in the community.”

Additionally, the four Gulf Coast Bank & Trust locations in St. Tammany Parish offered collection bins at their locations that allowed their customers and staff an opportunity to drop off donations prior to the event date. “Gulf Coast Bank & Trust has been a great partner in this food drive,” said Byars. “We are so thankful at Volunteers of America for all the support we get from the community.”

The RSVP program, a component of Senior Corps, is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). If you would like to learn more about volunteering, contact RSVP Volunteer Director Gwen Byars at 985-674-0488.

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution images of the event along with photos of volunteers sorting the donations at the food bank can be downloaded HERE.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men returning from prison, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart-and ultimately the spirit of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.