Senior citizens in St. Charles Parish were surprised with a special treat at their monthly bingo gathering in August – handmade cards, notes and letters from Valero employees and their families.
It all started when Taryn Rogers, Valero public affairs manager, reached out to United Way of St. Charles employees with an idea.
“I called United Way and asked if there was something we could do in terms of reaching out to the seniors in our community,” she said.
Rogers was pointed to the parish’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which is an agency funded in part by the United Way of St. Charles
“I sent all Valero St. Charles employees a letter and encouraged them to get their families involved,” she said.
The result was a bevy of hand-written notes, letters, pictures and prayer cards that were distributed to the parish’s senior volunteers.
“We wanted to reach out and let the elderly know were thinking about them and wishing them well,” Rogers said. “Volunteerism is a huge part of Valero, and with the pandemic unfortunately we’re not able to go out in the community like we normally do … all of the community events we usually participate in are unfortunately cancelled.”
RSVP Director Jeanne Arabie said the surprise messages were a hit.
“The seniors really enjoyed it,” she said. “Most of them opened it right then and there and I overheard them saying how sweet it was.”
RSVP, Arabie explained, is a group of senior citizens from all over the parish who volunteer their time and talents to the community in various ways.
The group meets once a month for bingo and movie nights, and a painting class will be the group’s next activity.
“We had so many people sign up for bingo that we had to have two separate rooms,” she said. “We set the tables up where they’re six feet apart and we give out snacks and drinks.”
Even with all social distancing and coronavirus precautions in place, Arabie said the gatherings allow an opportunity for members and guests to visit with their friends while enjoying a fun activity.
For more information about joining RSVP or to register for an event, call 985-783-8907.