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Bella Vista Chapter Turns Trash into Treasure

There’s a Recycling Center in Arkansas that can transform a soda can into a new book for the local library and convert yesterday’s newspaper into much needed supplies for an ambulance service. No, it’s not some innovative recycling technology that makes this possible. It’s the dedicated AARP Volunteers who operate the center. AARP Bella Vista Chapter 109 started a non-profit recycling center to save the environment and support their community.

“Last year, we gave grants to 22 different nonprofits in our area from the proceeds raised at the center,” said AARP Bella Vista Chapter President Bill Keller. “We give to our local library every quarter and last time I was the one who was able to present the check. It’s a good feeling.”

During the first 34 weeks of 2010 alone, volunteers processed over three-million pounds of material and raised almost $210,000 for local charities. The Center is staffed by volunteers who collect, sort, break down and bundle the recyclable materials. It’s a proud accomplishment of the Bella Vista Chapter but not the only way this group gives back to the community.

“Every September during the annual Day of Service we go to area nursing homes and help with cleaning, trimming shrubs and other things they need,” said Keller. He is referring to the National Day of Service held each Sept. 11.

However, this 236-member chapter isn’t all work and no play. At the beginning of each meeting they have entertainment or a key speaker. You might hear a tune from the Bella Vista Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus or a local barbershop quarter.

“We’re always looking for more chapter members and we think the entertainment is a great draw,” added Keller.

“We always encourage chapters to make their meetings unique and the Bella Vista Chapter is definitely doing that,” said Maria Reynolds-Diaz, AARP Arkansas State Director. “They make it fun and provide a great service and support to their community. It’s a group you want to be a part of.”

The AARP Bella Vista Chapter meetings are held on the first Friday of the month and take place at the Bella Vista Presbyterian Church 1880 Forest Hills Boulevard.

Learn how to be a part of this or any other chapter.