By Joe Stumpe
Volunteers play a vital role for many nonprofits.That is certainly the case at The Active Age. So when Jennie Benitez, RSVP program coordinator for Sedgwick County, asked me what our RSVP volunteers had been up to, I was more than happy to fill her in.
Our RSPV volunteers continued to pitch in throughout the pandemic — working from home when necessary — helping us in several ways.
As they have for years, a core group of volunteers help us mail thank-you letters and solicitation letters to donors each month. These donations supply a substantial percentage of our operating revenue; we could not publish The Active Age in its current form without them. The volunteers also helped us mail more thank-you letters than usual over the past 12 months as we sought to make sure that smaller donors knew we appreciated their donations, too.
One volunteer, Melanie Wetta, called all the area senior centers to find out whether they had reopened and, if so, what services they were offering. That allowed us to keep our readers who visit those centers up to date. Melanie also helped us enter a large amount of data into our system so that we could identify residents who are 60 and older and not currently receiving our publication. We are now in the process of expanding our circulation to those residents as time and funds allow.
We also benefit from volunteers who are not part of RSVP. They include Delores Burris, who has kept our subscription list updated for years; Dave Gear, a part-time advertising representative for us who helps me with all kind of development work on his own time; Linda Matney, an Active Age board member who also helped with the senior center updates; Ted Blankenship, our humor columnist; Ted Ayres, our book reviewer; Bob Rives, our baseball expert; and Nancy Wheeler, who creates our monthly puzzles and quizzes.
Elvira Crocker and Susan Hill are former Active Age board members who volunteer their expertise in copy editing the paper most months along with my wife, Wichita Eagle columnist Carrie Rengers. Our volunteer board members give us much invaluable guidance. For instance, our treasurer, Diana Wolfe, uses her background in accounting to help keep an eye on our books.
The last piece of our volunteer puzzle are those readers who voluntarily contribute to The Active Age. As I said above, the publication would be much different without them, and not in a good way.
Contact Joe Stumpe at