Longtime volunteer helps Shrewsbury seniors’ newsletter
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Before the Shrewsbury Senior Center opened at its current Maple Avenue location in 2000, seniors met at the former North Shore School on Parker Road and a newsletter was distributed around town at various locations. In 1999, Fran Rimkus heard that they needed a volunteer with printing experience. Soon after, he was asked and accepted to chair the newsletter committee.
“It would give me something to do in retirement,” said Rimkus, who worked as a printing pressman for 50 years.
“The Senior Edition” began delivery by postal mail in 2000. Since then, it has grown from four pages to eight, plus a quarterly 12-page edition with photos. Rimkus has been overseeing a team of volunteers.
“The newsletter is the lifeline of the Senior Center,” he said. “It lets people know about so many programs. And it goes to homebound people who aren’t able to come to the Senior Center. If they have a problem at home, there’s an outreach program here that they can call.”
In his 15th year coordinating the newsletter, Rimkus is training another volunteer how to oversee its production.
“I’m giving it up now because I have dwindling eyesight,” he explained. “If it wasn’t for that, I’d still be doing it myself. I enjoyed going to the printer and talking about the old days when I had ink under my fingernails.”
About 3,500 newsletters are currently mailed monthly, costing approximately $1,100 for printing and postage. Volunteers deliver about 400 copies to senior facilities. About 350 people receive it by email. The costs are handled by the Friends of the Shrewsbury Senior Center, Inc.
Louise Russell, the Friends president, credits Rimkus for his ongoing contributions.
“The newsletter wouldn’t be as successful as it is without Fran,” she said. “With one person overseeing it for so long, it continually improved and kept growing.”
Concurrently, the postage and printing costs have increased. The Friends organization has covered the deficit.
“The Friends picked up the subsidizing of the newsletter,” Russell noted. “The bottom line is that if we don’t have enough ads, then we get into a financial crunch, which is where we’re headed now.”
Sharon Yager, the Shrewsbury Senior Center director, is grateful to volunteers like Rimkus and the Friends for maintaining the newsletter.
“We consider the newsletter to be our biggest outreach tool,” she said. “The goal has always been to have the newsletter be self-sustaining with ads. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the Friends. Not only is the town not able to mail the newsletter as a government agency, they wouldn’t be able to afford to do it.”
The Friends hope to add newsletter advertisers including community civic groups.
“The Senior Edition” will continue getting some experienced help.
“I’m still going to be involved with the newsletter,” Rimkus said.
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