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Smithtown senior volunteer group gets $100G grant

Ocean Parkway, several miles west of Gilgo State

Ocean Parkway, several miles west of Gilgo State Park, where workers created a berm to protect the road after superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 20, 2012) Credit: Doug Kuntz

A Smithtown-based nonprofit has won a federal grant to support programs in which senior volunteers work in schools, soup kitchens and museums.

The $103,967 grant will help Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Suffolk County pay its bills so that more than 1,000 volunteers can refurbish computers for needy families, serve as museum tour guides and repair Fire Island wildlife habitats damaged by superstorm Sandy, executive director Pegi Orsino said.

“Volunteering isn’t about stuffing envelopes anymore,” she said. “We have volunteers working with redoing boardwalks in the Sunken Forest for environmental tourists.”

Volunteers from the agency, known as RSVP, last year provided about 148,000 hours of service to more than 120 not-for-profit organizations, according to the office of Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who announced the grant.

Orsino said the grant will help pay RSVP telephone bills, purchase liability insurance for volunteers and provide funds to buy parts so that volunteers can refurbish old computers. Grant money also will pay for an annual volunteer recognition luncheon and brochures promoting RSVP programs.

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