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I would like to personally thank the Barton County Commission for their invaluable support of the RSVP Medical Transportation Program. This program provides transportation to necessary medical appointments both within Barton County and out of our area for any Barton County resident with no other way to go. The transportation is provided by volunteers who use personal vehicles to provide this important service; RSVP reimburses the volunteers for the fuel used to provide the trip. Volunteers have transported passengers to Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Hays, Dodge City, and Garden City; in fact, any location in Kansas is considered if a volunteer can be found that is willing to make the trip on the day needed. There is also a wheel-chair accessible van available for individuals can’t travel any other way. In 2011, the use of program services increased 38% over 2010 numbers and the cost of fuel continues to rise at an alarming rate. RSVP is very grateful for the support from Barton County combined with other local support from the Great Bend Commission on Aging, Emergency Aid, and the United Way of Hoisington that allows continued operation of this valuable program for Barton County residents.
If you like to drive and to help people, RSVP is looking for additional volunteer drivers for the Medical Transportation Program. You can determine what routes you want to drive and have the right to refuse any trip. If you are over 55, RSVP will provide supplemental liability and accident insurance in addition to reimbursing the cost of fuel based on the actual cost on the day of the trip. Call Donna at 620-792-1614 for more information.
With spring just around the corner, many people start thinking about garage sales and spring-cleaning. If this is you, remember the RSVP Thrift Store in Hoisington. This gem of a shop is an important fund-raiser for RSVP. The shop relies on donations from the community for merchandise to re-sell as well as volunteers to man the shop from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. -2 p.m. on Saturdays. Remember RSVP when you begin your spring-cleaning projects this year. Call Selma Webb at 620-653-4118.
If you have an old feather pillow or comforter that you refuse to give up, mark your calendars for 4/14/12. RSVP is sponsoring the Kraft Pillow Cleaners again at the Great Bend Senior Center from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. A small percentage of the proceeds benefit RSVP programs.
The Great Bend Senior Center is looking for a few special people that have a little extra time on their hands and like to be around people. Volunteers are asked to provide assistance such as setting the tables for lunch, serving drinks, and other simple duties as requested by Rosie Tomlin. It only takes a couple of hours on the day or days you choose to work. Call Rosie at 620-792-3906 if you can help.  
March will be a bittersweet month for RSVP as one of the part-time positions in the office will be eliminated due to cuts in the federal grant that supports the program. The current positions held by Joyce Niederee and John Thul will be combined into one new position with duties from both. In situations like this, the only fair thing to do is to allow and encourage current employees to apply for the new position. As with all positions within or sponsored by BCC, a search committee will be charged with selecting the most qualified candidate for the job. This is a difficult situation and RSVP requests your patience and support through this transitional time.
Donna Baugh can be reached at 620-792-1614 or