To the editor,

I am writing regarding Senior Services of Van Buren County (SSVBC) and the upcoming millage election, Aug. 2. I believe Senior Services of Van Buren County is one of the biggest assets serving the residents of Van Buren County. I am the Board Chair for SSVBC and represent Geneva Township, where I serve as a trustee.

Van Buren County Senior residents have benefited from the services of SSVBC via handicap ramp installation, home delivered meals, calls made to seniors by volunteers to make a friendly check-in call, to schedule COVID-19 vaccines, food trucks, tax preparation, opportunities to assist seniors via volunteering, referrals to the Care Watch program and the Senior Reach program (mental health). I am most proud that our wonderful volunteers continued their services throughout the pandemic.

SSVBC recently received the 2021 Community Service Award from Area Agency on Aging. SSVBC was chosen from a host of agencies in the Tri-county area that Area Agency on Aging services serves. Only one award is given out annually. Area Agency on Aging indicated SSVBC received the award “because of your outstanding response to the pandemic and ready collaboration with community partners to problem solve, prioritizing needs of the senior population in this crisis have stood out to us as above and beyond.” This award is greatly appreciated, but more importantly, that we as an agency of limited staff and many, many volunteers continued to provide needed services during the pandemic. SSVBC is proud to be the only agency servicing the seniors of Van Buren County with the ability to provide these extensive services, especially to the homebound senior.

SSVBC also has developed collaborative relationships with other agencies that in turn benefits the needs of our seniors.

Providing services to seniors: ramps, volunteer opportunities, meals, activities, referrals to Care Watch and Senior Reach are all meant to keep a senior safe in their own home. Volunteering provides an opportunity to  seniors to give back to their community and most importantly provides self-worth. We know that we are all getting older, that the largest growing population is seniors, and the needs of seniors will continue to grow exponentially as our population ages.

I would request that you allow our seniors to continue to receive the outstanding services provided by SSVBC and support Senior Services of Van Buren County when you go to the polls on Aug. 2.

Clare K. Olney,

Board chair,

Senior Services of Van Buren County