The senior class at St. John Catholic School has been busy over the last month.
The class has become volunteers for the Meals-on-Wheels program that has them delivering meals to shut-ins and those people who can't prepare meals for themselves. The program is something new the school has become involved with but has quickly become a favorite among the students.
“When we were first given the opportunity to be involved, I was a little hesitant and went along with it because it is a good program, but now I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. I have a specific route that I'd hate to give up if we ever had to trade,” said Bailey DiManno, a student at St. John.
The students received training from representatives from the Meals-on-Wheels program and became involved because of the overwhelming need for volunteers in Ennis.
“The area is in need for more volunteers because of the growing need of people that are assisted by the service. Currently there are seven routes within the city with 26 people on a waiting list to receive meals. We would like to be able to add two additional routes but we are unable to do so without volunteers to help deliver the meals,” said Amy Jackson, director of development for Meals on Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties.
The students realize that more people are waiting for help and are quick to encourage others to do what they can to help the situation.
“We really look forward to visiting with the people on our routes and they are just as happy to see us. It feels great knowing that we are giving back to the community and I think if we can do it, anyone can,” Mary Macalik, St. John student said.
The selfless aspect of the program is that the students deliver the meals on their lunch break and if the route takes them a little longer, they are completely responsible for the portion of the class they have missed while delivering the meals.
“This is not a way for us to get out of class or get off the property during lunch, we spend that time delivering meals and visiting with the people on our route and any class work we miss because of it is something we have to handle. The school lets us deliver the meals but we have to be responsible when it comes to our grades,” Sarah Macalik explains.
While the program is new to the school this year, it is something principal Chris Rebuck hopes will continue with future classes.
“We started this program because we knew there was a need and we hope to have this be a community service that each upcoming class participates in. I am very proud of the seniors for taking this on, it shows a lot of maturity and they are an example for the other classes,” he said.
The students hope that the example they set is one that the community sees as going hand-in-hand with what the school stands for.
“We are taught the importance of community service and doing things for others and this is a great example of that. Usually community service is something you hear about when you get in trouble but this is something we have taken on as a class project because it is a great experience,” DiManno said.
As each senior makes their future plans for life after they leave St. John, the girls hope that all of their class will take the positive experience with them as they intend to do.
“This will be something that stays with us for the rest of our lives and something we can feel good about because we helped when we knew it was needed,” Mary Macalik said.
To become a volunteer in the Ennis area contact (972) 351-9943 or visit www.servingthechildrenofyesterday.org.