Semcac staff, dining site managers and youth serving a turkey meal in appreciation of all that volunteers do for their organization.
Semcac staff, dining site managers and youth serving a turkey meal in appreciation of all that volunteers do for their organization.
Volunteers give many hours to their communities to help improve the quality of life for their citizens.

Attendance of about 130 of those who helped this past year with the Semcac Senior Dining Program, Meals-on-Wheels and RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) in the Caledonia, Eitzen, Mabel and Spring Grove communities were honored June 25 with a meal, entertainment, program and door prizes at the Fest Building in Spring Grove.

This was the second year these communities were combined for the event.

The theme for this year's event was "Semcac Volunteers: Sowing Seeds of Greatness!" In keeping with the theme, each attendee received a packet of seeds that had a sticker on it saying "Thank you for helping us grow!"

Also geraniums and begonia plants served as centerpieces and were given away as door prizes.

The meal of turkey with all the trimmings was cooked by Sandy Moger of Caledonia, who plans and prepares the meals for the dining sites at the kitchen of the United Methodist Church in Caledonia.

Semcac staff, dining site managers and Mabel youth served the food and waited tables. Karaoke music entertainment was provided by Fordyce and Marge Brevig of Spring Grove with others stepping up to share their singing talent.

"Thanking the volunteers is our theme tonight. You might think that little part you do is nothing, but it means a lot," stated Blanche Hollerud, regional coordinator for the Semcac senior nutrition program.

"Volunteerism with the senior dining and RSVP has been around 40 years," stated Debbie Betthauser, director of Semcac Senior Services Programs.

"Everyone has a different reason why they volunteer. Among those reasons may be that they believe in the program, or they need to get out of the house."

"For every dollar they give us in program funding, all of you generate $1.50 in volunteer time," she pointed out.

Betthauser also shared an experience of a man who had a youngster helping him do volunteer work.

The elder said he wanted this generation to understand what volunteerism is all about and hoped that it would continue over the years. "I want him around when I need volunteer help to serve me," the elder had told Betthauser.

"We serve about 30 congregate meals per day (Monday through Friday) at Caledonia, an average of about 10 to 12 at Spring Grove, and 12 at Mabel. Each Wednesday, Eitzen has an average of 10 meals," Hollerud reported.

"Meals-on-Wheels diners number 18 each day at Spring Grove and Mabel. We don't do Meals-on-Wheels in Caledonia.

"We are always in need of more congregate diners to keep the program viable. Any age can join us. Eligible diners, age 60 and over, pay a suggested donation of $3.50 while under age 60 pay the full price of $6."

Hollerud added, "We are always in need of more volunteers for both Senior Nutrition and RSVP programs."

More about Semcac

The mission of the Southeast Minnesota Community Action Council (Semcac) is to assist people to achieve or maintain independence and self-reliance through their own and community resources.

Anyone with suggestions, comments or complaints about the various Semcac programs or those interested in volunteering should contact their community's Semcac senior dining site or Blanche Hollerud at (507) 440-0166.