By Dennis Dalman
At the last Sartell City Council meeting, the director of the Greater St. Cloud Area RSVP requested the Sartell City Council to increase funds for the all-volunteer program.
RSVP stands for Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Its director, Lisa Braun, spoke to the council during the open forum period during which speakers can address the council with concerns before council members begin the official meeting.
Up until 2012, Sartell contributed about $9,500 annually to RSVP, Braun noted, adding that after that year that amount has been reduced by about 50 percent. In the meantime, RSVP spends about $3,000 annually to provide volunteer services to Sartell, said Braun.
Braun said she has been with RSVP for 32 years. The agency is part of the National Senior Forum and does receive some state and federal grant funding.
There are 94 senior citizens who live in Sartell and who participate as volunteers through RSVP, Braun noted. Total volunteer hours to Sartell last year were about 10,000 hours. Besides many other areas of volunteerism in the city, nine volunteers helped with functions of the Sartell Police Department and one helped in duties at city administration.
“Please consider increasing funding,” Braun said to the council.
The council did not address Braun’s request because, under the rules, council members cannot discuss subjects brought up during open forum at the same meeting that the open forum session takes place, although they can consider open forum concerns at subsequent meetings.
RSVP, based at St. Cloud’s Whitney Senior Center, provides volunteerism in the three-county area: Stearns, Benton, Sherburne. Last year, there were 1,184 volunteers working for a total of 14,000 hours, Braun said.