By TRAVIS HANDY
The 2013-14 Supplies for Seniors drive is already underway, but will receive a boost from a walk-a-thon later this month. The program is aiming to aid local homebound seniors with certain everyday items needed this winter.
According to Ava Stilwell, project director of Pulaski County Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP), the organization is currently at $521 on the way to the goal of $844, or one mile of pennies. She said the program has received donations from Pulaski Women of the Moose and Dublin Walmart this year. They received a Walmart community grant the past three years.
The annual supply drive collects or purchases items such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap, detergent, lotion, cleaning supplies, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and foil or plastic wrap; everyday things that, should they run out, would be inconvenient or impossible to leave home for. The items are distributed to clients of the New River Valley Agency on Aging and Radford/Fairlawn Meals on Wheels.
Last year’s supply and fund drive assisted 250 homebound seniors and also helped clients of the region’s Women’s Resource Center in Radford.
“We had some things left over from the physical donations,” said Stilwell. “Mostly things that didn’t fit into the list of things we needed (or) things we didn’t have enough of to go around so everyone got at least one. Those things were donated to the Women’s Resource Center … So factoring all that into the equation, we probably served over 300 people.”
Stilwell said physical donations are always welcome and can be dropped off at Pulaski Senior Center, 106 N. Washington Ave., Pulaski, or RSVP of Montgomery County, 210 S. Pepper St, Suite D, Christiansburg. Supplies needed are paper towels, toilet paper, soap, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, detergent and fabric softener, tissues, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, trash bags, food storage supplies, crossword and word search puzzles, toothbrushes and toothpaste, dish detergent, disinfectant wipes, and foil or plastic wrap.
As for those receiving the aid, Stilwell would remind readers that they are not individuals many people might assume need assistance.
“The people we serve are people who never thought they would ever be in need,” said Stilwell. “Most of them have been hard-working, productive members of the New River Valley who have outlived their families or (whose) families have moved away from the area. Each year we get many comments from recipients saying how much they appreciate that someone has thought of their needs.”
For those looking to get involved in other ways, there will be a walk-a-thon, co-sponsored by RSVP of Montgomery County and Radford, Christiansburg Recreation Center and Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and held at the Christiansburg Recreation Center, Thursday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Individuals or teams interested in participating can sign up and be sponsored by donors for the walk. For more information or to learn how to register, contact Ava Stilwell at 980-3969 or Angela Little at 540-381-6405.