You can't help but smile and feel some pride when you're doing something good. And for some students in the Aledo ISD, it comes from delivering food to clients of Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County.
"They can't go out and make food for themselves or go to McDonald's or Burger King or stuff like. They can't go out and do drive-thrus," explained Landon, 20, a student in the Aledo ISD's transitional services program.
"I love elderly people and want to help them because if they don't have anybody, you can interact with them," said Alyssa, 20, and a second-year student in the program.
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Neither Alyssa nor Landon wanted their last names used, but both are enrolled in the district's transitions program. It allows students 18 and older to spend a little extra time in school developing skills and connections for life after graduation.
Their teacher saw Meals on Wheels as a perfect community-based opportunity to get her kids out of the classroom and learn some life skills.
'I can't recreate all the social interactions in the classroom. So we use Meals on Wheels as one of the opportunities for our students to be able to interact with the community members," said Johanna Logan, the district's transition coordinator:
The second-year teacher reached back to her own volunteer experience with Meals on Wheels in designing the outreach.
"Just the feeling of doing something good for others, I thought was always so rewarding. And so I thought it would bring great joy to my students as well," she said.
Students average about six hours a week delivering socially-distant meals to clients on three routes.
For Landon, it's brought purpose. "I go out, meet the elderly people, give them meals, talk to them and stuff and it's a pretty fun experience," he said.
And for Aylssa, who will graduate in May, the experience helped her land a job.
"I get paid $11 an hour on the days I work. So, that really helped me out that I got my job, and I love Meals on Wheels because it's a good place to be," she said.
Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County relied on its pool of 5,200 volunteers to deliver almost two million meals in the pandemic last year. Together they drove over a million miles and donated 250,000 volunteer hours to help the nonprofit's older clients fight hunger.
"They are the heartbeat to our organization and our work would not be possible without them. This past year especially, they have adapted quickly to our new health and safety practices to ensure we can continue to care for our homebound neighbors safely during this pandemic. Their compassion and commitment to those in need has allowed our organization to be closer than ever to our community, even while being six feet apart. We are tremendously grateful for all of our volunteers," said Marketing and Public Relations Specialist Jordan Lyle.