RSVP program relocates to Red Cross building

By Jennifer Cohron
Posted 3/8/18

The American Red Cross and Walker County’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program now share a home on Viking Drive.As a result of the partnership that began March 1, RSVP gained a rent-free office space …

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RSVP program relocates to Red Cross building

Posted

The American Red Cross and Walker County’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program now share a home on Viking Drive.

As a result of the partnership that began March 1, RSVP gained a rent-free office space after losing its annual housing allowance from the Walker County Commission due to budget cuts. In turn, RSVP coordinator Cindy Smith agreed to provide volunteers to staff the Red Cross office.

 “My goal is to bring in four people – three more volunteers and someone from M4A (Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging) that will be a paid position,” Smith said.

RSVP is a national volunteer network that connects seniors 55 and older with volunteer opportunities in their community. In Walker County, over 170 seniors participate in the program, according to Smith.

Ralph Sapp, a community volunteer leader for Red Cross, said the new arrangement with RSVP will allow for extended office hours.

“We haven’t had the volunteers to keep the office open as much as we would have liked. Right now, we have three volunteers, including myself,” Sapp said. 

One of those volunteers is RSVP’s Jo Thomason, who was recently named office manager for the Red Cross.

The current office hours for the Red Cross are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

RSVP will operate in the building from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

According to the Red Cross website, the local Red Cross building is one of five in the West Alabama Chapter, which includes Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Pickens, Lamar, Marion, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties. The other offices are located in Tuscaloosa, Greensboro, Vernon and Centreville.

The Red Cross has had a satellite office at the old National Guard Armory in Cordova since 2017, though it has never been operational. 

Sapp said Red Cross and RSVP volunteers will be working together to get that office up and running as soon as the Jasper location is fully staffed. 

“Everything is in the building – telephones and furniture. Logistically, it’s there. We just haven’t had the staff yet, but hopefully that will be in place this summer,” Sapp said.

Sapp added that the Jasper office is once again open to local nonprofit groups seeking a meeting space.

Walker County Relay for Life volunteers held their kickoff meeting at the building on Monday. 

“We have this big building, and we’re here to serve the community any way that we can,” Sapp said.