The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 26, 2013

Diocese gets grant for senior volunteer program serving seniors

— Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Winona, the group that sponsors the Common Good RSVP program for seniors, was among the recipients of a grant of nearly $200,000 to keep the program going for several more years.

The grant was part of a group of grants — more than $700,000 in total — to organizations in the state that serve the elderly. The grants, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, were announced Tuesday in St. Paul by Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon. Six service organizations will receive the grants to support volunteer opportunities for nearly 4,000 older Minnesotans.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Winona provides services to people in Brown, Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet, Waseca, Watonwan, Rice, , Olmsted, Goodhue, Wabasha and Winona counties.

Jennifer Halberg, director of senior services for the Catholic Charities of the Winona Diocese, said the grant will allow the program to continue the work it started six years ago.

She said pursuing the grant was somewhat stressful. Getting funded wasn’t a sure thing, so they had their fingers crossed in hopes they’d be able to keep going business as usual.

“It’s the first time we’ve gone through that process,” she said of reapplying for operating funds.

The money, Halberg said, will allow them to keep providing the Common Good RSVP program, which is one of the more visible programs hosted by Catholic Charities.

Common Good RSVP helps seniors with respite care, home-delivered meals and the now-expanding Bone Builders program. Bone Builders is a fitness program geared toward the elderly that teaches a series of safe strength-building exercises.

Halberg said that program is about to expand. Once offered only in Lake Crystal, they’ve now expanded to Mapleton and will soon be in Janesville, New Richland and Eagle Lake.

Other programs in the region receiving grants includedSenior Resources of Freeborn County, which serves Faribault, Freeborn, and Martin counties. It received a grant of up to $24,207.

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