SAN DIEGO – Three Sailors from Pre-commissioning Unit (PCU) Makin Island (LHD 8) volunteered with San Diego Meals on Wheels May 29.
Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Albert Albo, Postal Clerk 2nd Class Joseph Phillips and Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Apprentice Stefanie Lepage volunteered their time to make a difference in the local community.
“I do it for the smiles on their faces,” said Albo who makes it a point to volunteer at least once a month. “I love the chance to give back to the community.”
The Meals on Wheels program has been serving the San Diego community since 1996. However, the program has unofficially been in place in some capacity for nearly 50 years when a group of women began delivering meals to the elderly in 1960. The group grew and has evolved into the organization it is today delivering two meals a day to more than 1,000 senior citizens through volunteers.
“We can’t put a price on what we’re doing here,” said Sue Wright, a Meals on Wheels volunteer and member of the local Advisory Committee. “For some folks [receiving meals], it’s the only human contact they have all day.”
For at least 25 of those years, according to Ruthann Michelson, Meals on Wheels Service Specialist, Sailors have been actively supporting the program. Now, the Navy is the largest supporter of Meals on Wheels in San Diego, with volunteer efforts coming from individuals as well as commands.
Sailors from LHD 8 have been volunteering two hours a week for the program since June 2006. Through the program, the Sailors make a difference in the lives of San Diego area senior citizens by delivering food to local elderly people who would otherwise be unlikely or unable to shop for themselves.
“I just hope someone else would do the same for my elderly loved ones in my absence,” said Phillips when asked why he volunteers for the program.
Following delivery to the Navy, Makin Island will be commissioned and homeported in San Diego.
Sailors, who are in their nine to 12-month negotiating window for orders and want to be part of the pre-commissioning command, can contact their rating detailer and ask to be released to the pre-commissioning detailer for further assignment to Makin Island. Makin Island currently has almost half of its 1,100-person crew.