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Vital volunteers recognized
new deh volunteer service day food bank pic
Bob and Evelyn Essmiller, left, discuss the importance of volunteers to the Food Bank of Barton County during a tour Tuesday morning. Also pictured, from right: Sen. Jerry Moran representative Margaret Gableman, Great Bend City Councilwoman Vicki Berryman and volunteers Dee Anne Grummon and Merle Evers. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors and country officials participated in the fourth-annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service on Tuesday. Barton County’s involvement included a proclamation from the county commission on Monday to recognize the special day, and a tour of the Food Bank of Barton County on Tuesday.
The recognition of volunteer service is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Services, which notes, “The nation’s mayors and county officials are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact – making cities and counties better places to live.”
Bob Essmiller from the local food bank said it draws on an army of about 50 volunteers to keep the doors open. The facility serves about 7,000 people each year and operates on a budget of $40,000-50,000, all of which comes from donations or grants.
It was noted that Senior Corps participants serve in more than 50,000 locations across the country, including more than 40 sites in Barton County through programs such as foster grandparents, senior companions and RSVP.
Linn Hogg from RSVP said there are from than 458 volunteers in Great Bend and Barton County, involved in delivering Meals on Wheels, providing transportation to medical appointment, helping with blood drives or preparing taxes, to name a few services. “They are board members, committee members and fundraisers.”