All Hallows fifth-graders close year of serving meals to the homebound

La Jolla Meals on Wheels got a helping hand from its youngest volunteers who delivered meals to homebound seniors these past few months.

“Each school year every grade participates in an outreach ministry of its choosing,” said All Hallows Academy fifth-grade teacher Shannon Alford. “This past year, my class delivered meals and smiles to those who are homebound and/or sick through La Jolla Meals On Wheels.”

She added that she grew up accompanying her family who delivered meals and “I have positive memories of the experience. I felt it would be a perfect fit for my class as both a giving and learning experience.”

Accompanied by a parent volunteer once a month, the children joined a 40-year tradition in La Jolla started at All Hallows Parish — to serve neighbors in need.

Fifth-grader Aidan said of the experience, “It meant so much to me to help the elderly and sick get their food. All of the clients that I served were extremely nice and made me feel welcome.”

Classmate Mia added, “I was excited to see the smiles on people’s faces when we delivered them their items.”

All Hallows Academy in La Jolla offers students from transitional kindergarten through eighth grade a strong curriculum with small group instruction. The Academy promotes stewardship by weekly attendance at Mass and class outreach programs.

La Jolla Meals On Wheels board director Linda Schmetzer said last year the organization marked 40 years of service.

“Each Monday through Friday, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., two meals — one hot and one cold, plus a beverage of the client’s choice — are delivered by volunteers who give on average one day a month to the homebound and chronically ill in La Jolla and parts of University City,” Schmetzer said.

The fee to the client is $7.50 per day. The amount charged meal does not pay for the agency’s cost of each meal. Assistance is available for those unable to fully pay for their meals. As an independent, nonprofit organization, La Jolla Meals on Wheels relies on grants and individual donations to pay expenses.

Companion program La Jolla Friendly Visitors was launched in 2013. It was created after volunteer drivers noticed that some clients were lonely and wished their meal delivery volunteers had time to stay and visit.

Being a recipient of meals is not a prerequisite to participating in the free visitation program. Volunteers are matched to the homebound by interest and spend an hour or two each week with them.

■ For more information or to sign-up for a program or volunteer opportunities, contact La Jolla Meals On Wheels at (858) 452-0391 or visit lajollamealsonwheels.org. For information about All Hallows Academy, call (858) 459-6074 or visit allhallowsacademy.com

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