Clyde Doutt, 71, volunteers with VANTAGE Aging, dedicating his time to addressing food insecurity in older adults. Through VANTAGE programs and services, Clyde helps coordinate food donations that help seniors stay healthy at home and active in the community.
You’re never too old – or bold – to volunteer. That is true for VANTAGE Aging volunteer Clyde Doutt. Clyde, 71, is passionate about tackling senior food insecurity in Summit and surrounding counties head-on, and he’s not afraid to tell you. Lending a hand whenever it’s needed, Clyde knows that dedicated volunteers lift up the community as a whole.
A new chapter in volunteering
Clyde joined RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) in 2012. At the time, he was volunteering at the senior building where he lives.
The then director of VANTAGE (formerly Mature Services) RSVP visited his building and he learned that the program needed more volunteers. Clyde followed his interest in volunteerism and decided to find out more about VANTAGE RSVP.
Tackling food insecurity in seniors
Clyde began volunteering at the food pantry through VANTAGE RSVP. He ended up being in charge of the pantry for nearly 3 years. Now, he is an RSVP agency volunteer, doing various activities where help is needed.
Clyde works with the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). CSFP is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. It works to improve the health of low-income older adults age 60 and older by supplementing their diets with nutritious foods.
Clyde’s program supplies food to 25 seniors each month. Each senior receive food monthly unless they continuously miss pick up times. If this happens, they are added to the waiting list and another senior receives support.
A passion for the mission
The CSFP keeps Clyde busy, but that doesn’t stop him from helping other services. He assists with the VANTAGE Aging Brown Bag Program, which offers free medication reviews to older adults and their caregivers. He also helps with other agency projects as they come up throughout the year.
Clyde’s favorite part of volunteering is working with seniors and making sure that they get proper nutrition. He enjoys working with seniors who participate in the VANTAGE Aging Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which is designed to provide seniors with access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The program gives $50 worth of farmers’ market vouchers to low-income adults age 60 and older. The vouchers can be used at local farmers’ markets for fresh produce, herbs, and locally grown honey.
Farmer’s market vouchers are distributed at the Senior Health and Services Fair in June at VANTAGE headquarters. Clyde helps with the event that draws over 600 people and provides seniors with health services and an on-site farmers’ market.
What he has to say about volunteering
Though Clyde sometimes finds the amount of time he puts into volunteering challenging, he believes volunteering is worth the effort and that it’s important to give back.
“If you help others, they will help you,” said Clyde. “When you need that extra boost, there’s always somebody there to pitch in to give you a helping hand or listen to a problem that you’re having.”
He feels that someone may not be able to offer you a total solution to an issue, but they can offer you information and advice on where you can go to get the help that you need. These actions are fostered through helping one another.
Clyde says volunteering at VANTAGE gives him a vast knowledge of what’s happening in the aging community. He spreads the word to his neighbors and to the seniors he knows through Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA). By sharing his knowledge, perspective, and experience with his peers, Clyde expands the reach of the agency and effects more lives for the better.
Here’s what Clyde has to say to someone who is thinking about volunteering:
If it’s in your heart, do it. Volunteers are needed, and they are the backbone of any agency or group. Without volunteers, nonprofit agencies are lost because they can’t afford to pay everybody in today’s society (necessary to accomplish their missions) and they need that help. If it’s in your heart to give back, no matter how little time you have, it’s appreciated.
55 or older and interested in volunteering in Summit or Medina Counties? Choose from over 70 volunteer opportunities through VANTAGE RSVP. Or, use your time and talents in another way with options on our Ways to Give page.