The town’s Elder Services Department celebrated volunteerism and the efforts of the more than 350 townspeople who give of their time to the community at a reception this spring at the Town House on Main Street.
The annual event, which coincides with volunteer recognition month, honors the volunteers who contribute to the town through a tax work-off incentive program and other ways.
Kathy Urquhart, director of elder services, said while the contributions of the volunteers are valued at more than $500,000, the service they provide is essentially “priceless.”
Through the Senior Citizen Property Tax Work-off Program, or SCRPT, eligible seniors may participate in community service in exchange for an abatement on their real estate taxes.
Participants serve in every town department — from Town Hall offices, to the schools and library all the way to the town compost area.
The Center at Punchard (Andover Senior Center) uses its volunteers in a variety of capacities — from cooking and serving meals in the kitchen to being on the tail end and helping with cleanup, Karen Payne-Taylor, program coordinator at The Center at Punchard/Boomer Venture, said in an email.
Volunteers also assist with The Center’s Senior Connections day program and events, as well as teach classes and provide meals on wheels delivery, Payne-Taylor said. Some drive for the medical transportation program and will sit and offer reassurance to seniors as they wait for appointments, while others work with the town’s veterans helping record their history before it is lost to all, she said.
Volunteers also plan the two movie series at The Center at Punchard, both the BoomerVenture Screening Room on Thursday nights and the Monday afternoon Movie Matinees.
“Whether previewing films, fielding suggestions or offering some of their own ideas and materials, without volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to offer such an extensive array of programs and services,” Payne-Taylor said.