Volunteer serves up her time

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Pat Bivings of Vidalia believes volunteering helps her as much as it helps those she serves.

Every Wednesday, Bivings and friend Ernestine Vestal volunteer to serve meals to senior citizens at the Concordia Council on Aging’s lunch site on Texas Street.

She also has reached out on her own to other senior citizens who know about the lunch program but think it might not be for them.

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&uot;I’ve brought some of them up here,&uot; Bivings said. &uot;A lot of them think it’s charity, but it’s not. It’s for all people (who meet the age requirements.)&uot;

She said she sees many people her age who need a hot meal &045; &uot;for a dollar donation, and you can’t buy anything for a dollar these days&uot; &045; or who just need a chance to socialize each weekday.

Bivings, 78, has participated and volunteered with the Council on Aging’s programs for a number of years &045; so many, she can’t remember exactly when she started with the program.

Bivings also serves about five hours a week as a front desk volunteer at Natchez Community Hospital.

&uot;We give directions, take patients to and from their rooms, take care of their meals, all sorts of things,&uot; she said.

Bivings started volunteering with Community about eight years ago through the urging of Jean Walsworth, who directs the &uot;Friends 5-0&uot; program for seniors.

At a time of life when many retirees would seek to take it easy, Bivings shows no signs of slowing down &045; not if she can help it, anyway.

&uot;The secret is to keep moving,&uot; Bivings said. &uot;That’s what keeps you young.&uot;

Vestal, who also volunteers at the lunch site on Wednesdays, said she is not surprised that her longtime friend would take on so many activities to help others.

&uot;She’s always doing things like that,&uot; Vestal said. &uot;She’s truly a Good Samaritan.&uot;