If you are looking for something to do this holiday season that will make you happy, stimulate your mind, satisfy your appetite and help your community, get yourself tickets to the Dinner And A Murder production of “The Speakeasier,” sort of a sequel to the 2007 show “The Speakeasy.” The show is the main fundraiser for OlyCAP’s RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) and, as its name implies, is a dinner theater event. This year will mark the seventh production and will be held at the Oscar Erickson Building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on two evenings – December 6th & 7th at 6PM.
The first Dinner and a Murder production was held in 2006 and it has been a winter favorite every year since. Many local businesses take advantage of the season and reserve whole table for safe and sane holiday parties. Families come from across the Peninsula to enjoy a gourmet meal and a live “whodunit” complete with audience participation. And, there are several forms of participation from working with other guests at your table to solve the mystery to having someone arrested by the Dinner And A Murder police and enjoying the fun as they attempt to raise bail among the attendees.
More important than the food and fun, Dinner and a Murder helps support an important program for OlyCAP and for all of us on the Peninsula. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is a very active effort that offers area seniors an opportunity for fulfilling volunteer positions and provides area nonprofits and government agencies with experienced and dedicated help. RSVP participants work at area Chambers of Commerce supporting tourism and local business, assist local law enforcement and courts and help staff museums and tourism venues. Many RSVP volunteers are involved in social service, health care and non-profit agencies. They even help working at many events around the peninsula.
Year after year the RSVP folks provide between 60,000 and 70,000 hours of volunteer service. According to Independent Sector – an organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism – the state of Washington values volunteer time at the rate of $22.69 an hour so the RSVP volunteers on the peninsula provide us with about $1.3 million dollars of service every year.
There is another important part of OlyCAP’s program that deserves mention. The RSVP program also supports Vet Connect which is an outreach program for Veteran on the Olympic Peninsula. Vet Connect volunteers make proactive phone calls to local vets to checking on their needs and to help connect them to resources such as counseling, legal aid, education resources and employment opportunities. Volunteers even meet directly with veterans just to listen and to help them make community connections.
Like other OlyCAP programs, RSVP is suffering from the contraction in funding. It is a terrific program that helps all of us; it seems worth it for the rest of us to go out to dinner and show them a little support.