By Kathryn Menue


On Friday, Sept. 9, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) gave back to local emergency responders in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

RSVP is a 45-year-old, national organization of volunteers 55-years-old or older. RSVP’s local branch started about 30 years ago and covers Winnebago and Boone Counties. This faction decided to honor the servicemen and women of both counties in the sweetest way possible: by baking cookies for them.


“We have service days as an organization. This is coming from the Corporation for National Community and Services [CNCS]. They have national service days, and this is in observance of 9/11,” RSVP Director Pamela Thompson said.

So, at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 12 volunteers met at First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church in Belvidere to bake and bag cookies for Lifeline Ambulance, the Belvidere Police Station, and the four fire districts in Boone County, including stations in Belvidere, Caledonia, Capron, and Poplar Grove.

Likewise, volunteers met in Rockford to bake and bag cookies for 11 fire stations and one police station.

The volunteers for Boone County consisted of Director Pamela Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator Tina Scarbrough, Pam Zuromski, Vicki Parsons, Sis Benzel, Christine Garrity, Jim and Marie Isaacson, Ann Turner, Mary Lou Poulter, Donna Brookbank, and Betty Wilt.


Together, this team donated 440 cookies to the Boone County emergency responders. In Rockford, the RSVP volunteers donated 432 cookies.

By 1 p.m., about five drivers delivered the cookies to the local emergency responders.

Emergency responders, like the Belvidere Fire Department, were very appreciative of the donation.

Thompson and Scarbrough agreed the donation was just their way of showing appreciation for the work the service men and women do for the community.


RSVP made this possible with the generous donations from local organizations. Woodmans donated chocolate chip cookie dough and Pacemaker donated molasses, sugar, and chocolate chip cookie dough. McDonald’s Kateles of Belvidere donated 250 value cards that were tied to the cookie bags. These value cards made up over $1,500 worth of food. The Rockford McDonald’s on Charles Street also donated to the cause. They donated 120 sundae cards totaling $142.80 worth of ice cream. First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church in Belvidere and Alpine Lutheran Church in Rockford donated their kitchen space to the volunteers who baked and bagged the cookies.

RSVP completes this project every year along with their other volunteer efforts in disaster education at local elementary schools, veteran assistance, healthy futures’ education, Beginning Alcohol and Addiction Basic Education Studies (B.A.B.E.S.) for pre-K through second graders, and inmate education in both Winnebago and Boone County jails.

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