Building Community Through Service

by Michelle Laws


Peace Corps Volunteers’ dedication to service doesn’t disappear when they return home. Rather, it becomes enhanced. By joining an NPCA affiliate group, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers address issues like hunger, homelessness, education, and much more in both their local communities and abroad. Here are just a few of the phenomenal activities by our groups this year:

Magnolia State Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Though small in number, these RPCVs made a mighty impact in Mississippi with their first service project. Working with the Mississippi Food Network, they dedicated their time to gathering supplies for food banks around the state. After becoming an official NPCA affiliate group in 2016, they look forward to expanding their service and outreach projects in 2017.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles

Every RPCV knows that the holidays can be bittersweet when far from loved ones. To make them a little cheerier for currently serving Volunteers, the group sends out care packages to those who request them. Filled with magazines, hard to find seasoning, and tasty snacks, PCVs around the world receive a little bit of “home away from home” with each package.  December 10th, they sent out 42 packages and have 16 waiting to be filled:

Columbia River Peace Corps Association

RPCVs in the Oregon and Washington area provide meals for those affected by homelessness. Every month, they work with the Oregon Food Bank to coordinate over 45 million pounds of food to reach those in need throughout the region. Volunteers repackage and sort donated items so that they can be delivered in an efficient and effective manner.

Cincinnati Area Returned Volunteers

Leading the wave of RPCVs interested in utilizing their unique talents to help incoming refugees, CARV members have been active for the past year assisting Catholic Charities in refugee resettlement. Over 30 members contributed directly to making new Americans welcome by teaching English, providing transportation to appointments, gardening, moving furniture, and helping to organize World Refugee Day festivities. CARV is also currently mentoring a Syrian family of six.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C. 

In November of this year, ten RPCV/W members gathered to reinforce trail corridors, repair trail structures, and remove invasive plant species on the Holly and Pine Trails in the city’s Rock Creek Park. Following this, another group of ten RPCV/W members distributed 75 plastic bags filled with assorted groceries to at-need residents of a senior living complex in Columbia Heights.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida

This holiday season RPCVSF members are remembering those most in need — children. Through various gift drives, they gathered children’s books in Spanish, English, and French as well as a variety of toys. Group members then delivered all donations to youth in foster care with Educate Tomorrow.

These groups, as well as many others around the country, create positive impact and strengthen their communities through service. They prove that people-to-people conversations, assistance, and outreach bring people together. Those of us at NPCA are proud of the hard work and commitment by RPCVs to Peace Corps ideals after service. It is this dedication that makes our community as vibrant as it is. Thank you for all you do!