Sept. 30 event benefits Sandy, county volunteers

Five years ago, Edna Burgett realized she could clean house only so much.

"I had to do something," the 78-year-old Sandy resident says.

Enter the Senior Companion Program (SCP), a volunteer-based program that serves 159 clients in Clackamas County with senior volunteers keeping homebound seniors and people with disabilities company and driving them to important appointments.

“It’s fun — you enjoy what you’re doing and make someone happy,” says Burgett, who has six clients now.

To reimburse volunteers such as Burgett for their mileage, Social Services of Clackamas County, a nonprofit organization, Clackamas County and OnPoint Credit Union are holding a fundraiser called Miles 4 Mileage from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Clackamas Community College. Entry is $20, with a $3 administrative fee.

Funds raised through Miles 4 Mileage will help cover the cost of gas for volunteers with the Senior Companion Program (operated through Clackamas County’s Volunteer Connection in collaboration with most of the county's senior and adult community centers) and Transportation Reaching People (operated through Clackamas County’s Volunteer Connection). It's vital assistance, as most senior companions live at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

“They’re such a huge tie into the lifeline of communities,” Eileen Collins of Clackamas County Volunteer Connection says of the volunteers. “Not only are we helping the folks who are homebound, but the mileage reimbursement keeps the volunteers’ vehicles running.”

For every $100 raised through Miles 4 Mileage, volunteers will be able to drive 240 miles — meaning that Ben, who lives in Welches, can see his doctor in Oregon City, and Darlene, who lives in Milwaukie, can get to work on time.

Collins says the mileage reimbursement is “a small token of respect and appreciation for the volunteers selfless service and contribution.”

“The volunteers really range the gamut,” Collins says. “We know there are so many health benefits tied to volunteering — living longer, healthier, more productive lives.”

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