Volunteers of America - Western Washington

Contact Information

PO Box 839
Everett, WA 98206 - 0839
(360) 899-5206
RSVP 2014 Competition

Executive Summary

Volunteers of America (VOA) is a national, faith-based Human Service Organization with 36 affiliates across the US including Western Washington. For over 100 years, Volunteers of America has provided high quality services in the Puget Sound region. Our mission is to serve people and communities in need and create opportunities for people to experience the joy of serving others. To accomplish our mission, VOAWW is committed to delivering quality programs that utilize volunteers and assist people in leading a more satisfying, quality life. Each year more than 350,000 people contact VOAWW for services. VOAWW has a history of providing services for seniors. As a sponsor agency for the CNCS funded Senior Companion Program, we also have a strong understanding of regulations guiding Senior Corps programs.

VOAWW operates six programs in Skagit County -- RSVP, Northsound 211, Care Crisis Response Services (a regional mental health crisis line), the Dispute Resolution Center of Skagit County, Disability Services (serving adults with intellectual disabilities) and Youth and Child Development Services. Skagit County is a County in Washington State, named after the Skagit Indian tribe. As of the 2010 census, the population was 116,901. It is included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington, and Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Skagit Maritime Valley has over 93,000 acres of active farmland. The Skagit River comprises the third largest watershed on the west coast of the continental United States with a delta graced by working farms and wildlife refuges. The Skagit Flats is one of the most popular areas for birding in Washington State. The Valley's culture is rich in farming, fishing, nature, and art.

An estimated 700 RSVP volunteers will serve in Skagit County through this grant. Some of the activities will include: trail maintenance, food distribution, tutoring, building homes, blood drives, and vacation home checks. The primary focus area of this project is Healthy Futures. In a community known for its agricultural abundance, the highest risk for premature death is the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. 75.3% of the adults in Skagit County report eating less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (Community Status Risk Indicators, US Dept. of HHS, 2013).

Poverty is closely linked to hunger and food insecurity. Having the resources to obtain necessary food is critical to reducing hunger and food insecurity. In fact, federal poverty guidelines are the determining factor for many food programs, including food stamps and free and reduced lunches for school age children. Not having the resources to obtain food is one of the primary reasons people skip meals and slip from food insecurity into hunger. This is why connecting RSVP volunteers with meaningful ways to serve is so vital.

At the end of the three-year grant, we anticipate that recruiting and placing volunteers in these areas will help increase the capacity of local organizations that address hunger and food insecurity issues. RSVP volunteers will enable these organizations, such as Meals-on-Wheels programs, food banks, food pantries and community gardens to increase food security and reduce hunger in Skagit County.

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