By John Davis
Oxford Park Commission
Even before Will St. Amand opened up the portable food carrier, he wanted to know about his friend. For a man who has been serving the community for decades with the Meals on Wheels program, St. Amand is a comforting factor for many.
His face is friendly and inviting. He offers great knowledge to those he visits with, and he is beyond reliable for RSVP, which helps staff the program. Meals on Wheels started in America in 1954. The program originated in England in 1943 after many had lost their homes during the bombing blitz of World War II. Back then, the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defense delivered meals to those that were unable to take care of themselves. St. Amand got involved with the program as soon as it arrived in Oxford. He currently picks up the meals at the Stone Center. When he first started, the meals were at the basement next to city hall on the Square. He couldn’t remember the exact year he first started, but RSVP has been involved with the program since it started 46 years ago.
“They used to bring the meals in long trays and you would scoop it out and we would put it into each of the containers from there,” St. Amand said.
Before I-Phones and other devices that could help navigate, St. Amand used to travel to see people using landmarks. He has used water towers, former mailboxes and house colors to deliver the food. The number of people he has delivered food to has varied over the years. The route he is currently on only has six. The most he remembers delivering on a route was 28, and that took him out west of Oxford. For St. Amand, there is a ton of enjoyment involved with delivering meals.
“I get more out of this than they do. I get to see people in their own home. People are very intent on getting the meal, but they don’t want to drive to get it,” St. Amand. “Sometimes the exchanges are practically null and other times there is a lot of discussion. People have problems, and I think RSVP is a partial solution to some of those problems. This allows them to stay in their home for as long as possible.”
By John Davis
Oxford Park Commission
The noise level at the Mississippi State Veterans Home was a little higher than normal Monday. When 10 girl scouts stop in to drop of Valentine’s Day cards, it’s hard to keep the sounds of excitement down too much.
Serving the community is something the leaders of Brownie Girl Scout Troop 13616 are always interested in. So, when Marlee Carpenter, the Lafayette County RSVP Representative, called Shannon Sullivan about the Valentine’s for Vets program, everything clicked and fell perfectly into place.
“We have done other things in the community and we are all about helping the community, always looking for opportunities,” said Sullivan, who added that 140 cards were made by the girls. “Each one of them decorated them differently and put their own personality on it. They’re very creative and used to doing crafts, but they’ve also visited the veteran’s home before and they have a connection and they were glad to come back and do something special for them around Valentine’s Day.”
Carpenter, and members of RSVP, joined the girls at Monday’s drop off event. She was also in the activity center when the group made them.
“There were a couple of different special days that helped us plan Valentine’s for Vets. National Mentoring Month, our 45 Days of Service celebration and Valentine’s Day all came together for the perfect activity,” Carpenter said. “What better way to spread love around our community and mentor our youth than Troops visiting Troops?
“Our RSVP volunteers spoke and assisted Girl Scout Troop 13616 by crafting Valentine’s Day cards for the Veterans,” Carpenter continued. “They created quotes, poems, and art work specifically for each veteran then hand-delivered them. Our goal was to teach awareness to the Girl Scouts and to bring happiness to the veterans. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program wants to thank everyone who helped make Valentine’s for Vets a success; Girl Scouts, leaders and Veteran’s Home staff and nurses.”
Sullivan said that even though the children are age 7 and 8, they understood the sacrifice the veterans made for the country. Sullivan added that the veterans seemed excited to see the girls and receive the cards.
“I think it uplifted their spirits. We plan on visiting the veteran’s home for other occasions,” Sullivan said. “We have visited Oxford Rehab for different things. The Girl Scout motto is to make the world a better place. We feel like reaching out to the community, and looking outside of ourselves and to others, we feel like it will help these girls grow up and do the same thing. Girl Scouts is a lot more than just camping and selling cookies. It’s about helping the community and helping others.”
Before visiting the veterans, another recent community event Sullivan’s troop was involved with was a food drive for The Pantry. Over $1,400 and over 3,5000 pounds of food was raised working alongside Boy Scout Troop 144.
9/11 Day of Remembrance Program
This year’s L-O-U community 9/11 program will provide ALL members of the community with opportunities to participate in recognizing our first responders. Please join us Monday September 11th for a ceremony including Mayor Robyn Tannehill and Lafayette County Board of Supervisor President, Jeff Busby. Following the ceremony, there will be a parade of first responder vehicles in front of the VA Home circle.
Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford………………………………Monday: 10am-12pm
For more information, contact Teresa Faust at 236-6662 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer Recognition of L-O-U’s First Responders
First responders will be recognized for their volunteer work in the community. Departments of our first responders will be recognized as well for the volunteer work they do throughout the year in the L-O-U Community.
Oxford & Lafayette County Schools 9/11 Program for Elementary Students
This program will include emergency preparedness presentations by L-O-U first responders.
Students in the PreK and Kindergarten classes will have the opportunity to interact with fire fighters and officers in full uniform.
UM ROTC 9/11 Memorial Run
Mon., September 11, 2016
6:00 am (5:30 am formation)
Meet at the Lyceum
All members of the L-O-U community are invited to participate in this free 2 mile run.
For more information, contact: Trinity Bishop, email@example.com
*volunteers will place 3,000 flags on campus after the run.
L-O-U Operation Gratitude Project
This project will show thanks to L-O-U first responders and our nation’s military by writing letters of gratitude and making appreciation art displays. Students at L-O-U schools have an opportunity to write letters of gratitude for military members and make art displays for L-O-U first responders. ALL L-O-U community members are invited to participate in this projects letter writing campaign. We will have drop-off letter stations at the following locations:
Letters will ultimately be sent to the Operation Gratitude organization where they will be delivered to military members. For more information contact Teresa Faust at (662) 236-6662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VISTA Drive for Veterans
The North MS VISTA Project will sponsor a supply drive for the MS State Veterans Home in Oxford, MS. Community members are welcome to drop off donations at the Volunteer Oxford office during normal business hours between Mon., Sept. 4th and Fri., Sept. 22nd. The North MS VISTA Project will also set up tables to accept donations outside several different local businesses during the week of September 11th.
For more information on donations needed, please contact Edy Dingus at email@example.com or 662-380-2340.
Here is a small agenda of the events to help remember those fallen on 9/11 and those currently serving in our L-O-U community.
A few things to remember about our MLK event!
1. The breakfast is FREE and open to the public but it is a while supplies last!
2. The movie showing of Selma is now at the Oxford Conference Center at 1:30pm!
3. Chick-fil-a give back night from 5:30-7:30 you MUST order through the mobile app (Chick-fil-A One) for Iterfaith Compassion Ministries to get credit!
4. Chili's give back night from 5-10pm you MUST mention the give back night in order for the ICM to get credit! ...
We can't wait to see everyone there!
Good morning! I hope all of our friends had a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of food, laughter and family! Here at Volunteer Oxford we're in full swing getting together the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service! The L-O-U planning committee has a full and fun day planned for the Community! Let me know if you want to volunteer or help in any way! We'd love to have you! Can't wait to see you on Monday January 16th!
Hey y'all! Kaitlin here! Can you BELIEVE we're already in December? I don't know about y'all but we're getting in the Christmas spirit at my house and are counting down the days until Santa comes to visit! I always love this time of year! Christmas music, the decorations, the food, and people just seem to be in a better mood! With Christmas right around the corner you know what that means ? Yep! Martin Luther King Jr's. Birthday! We here at Volunteer Oxford, Volunteer Mississippi and the 6 other Volunteer Centers in the State celebrate with a National Day of Service! The L-O-U planning comittee has a HUGE treat for the community for the 2017 day of service and we are so excited for it the be the biggest turnout yet! Keep an eye out for a schedule of events but PLEASE plan on joining us on Monday January 16th starting at 9am! If you have any questions at all or want to volunteer in any way give me a call at 236-6662!
Director, Volunteer Oxford
2017 L-O-U MLK Day of Service - Awards Nominations
Volunteers throughout the Lafayette-Oxford-University (L-O-U) community demonstrate the power of giving and caring every day. The 2017 L-O-U MLK Day of Service Planning Committee invites you to nominate an outstanding volunteer for this year’s L-O-U MLK Day of Service Awards. Awards nominees are selfless individuals that give back to our community through service. Not sure who to nominate? Look around you and you’ll see great volunteers throughout the community.
Three award categories:
Award recipients will be honored at the L-O-U MLK Day of Service Ceremony on January 16, 2017.
Please email nomination letters to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon Monday January 2nd.
Information to be provided in the nomination letter:
Nominators may submit as many nominees as desired.
All nominations will be reviewed by the 2017 L-O-U MLK Day of Service Planning Committee.
Questions? Contact Kaitlin Wilkinson at (662) 236-6662 or email@example.com
2017 LOU MLK Day of Service Planning Committee members are from the following organizations: Volunteer Oxford, the University of Mississippi Volunteer Services/Office of the Dean of Students, the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County, the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, AmeriCorps/VISTA and College Corps programs, Good Food for Oxford Schools, the UM Department of Athletics, University of Mississippi Office of the Chancellor, Doors of Hope Ministry, Oxford Housing Authority, William-Winter Institute, the University of Mississippi School of Education, University of Mississippi Police Department, and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).