Calhoun JROTC delivers meals to seniors

Published 8:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2024

Members of the Tiger Battalion Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) joined their instructor JROTC Instructor Sergeant Major Lenora White on Dec. 16, spreading the holiday spirit with senior citizens in Fort Deposit by planning and implementing a Christmas “Meals on Wheels” event.

The project, organized from inception to completion by cadets, included a partnership with Bethlehem Christian Church and Temple Gate Church to deliver over 50 meals to seniors.

According to White, cadets were challenged to design, plan and complete a project for community service. Once the group settled on the idea, the students coordinated the church partnerships and spent their Saturday delivering the meals and visiting with recipients.

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“We try to motivate young people to be better citizens through service,” White said. “One of the things we do is community service learning. Cadet Battalion Commander Deshanna Mason came up with the project.

“They came up with the menu and coordinated the partnership with the churches. I just sat back and let them work.”

Church volunteers Tameka Axel, Brenda Phifer and Marget Harrison prepared the meals. Cadets added Christmas cards and spent time getting to know the seniors receiving the meals.

White said community projects are designed to serve, but also to teach.

“Whenever we do community service it is more or less like service learning,” White said. “They get to give back to the community and learn something too. They got the experience of being able to deliver food to the elderly and they were really happy about it.”

Cadet Battalion Executive Officer Cadet Kelmaree Spagner is in his third year with JROTC and said he enjoyed giving back to the elderly citizens of Fort Deposit.

“Doing something for the elderly in my community, it was a truly humbling experience,” Spagner said. “It gave me a sense of respect for our elders. I feel this project made a positive impact and improved my leadership and empathy skills. I really enjoyed the experience of knowing the impact we made.

In addition to Christmas meals, the group has implemented other community projects, hosting a Veteran’s Day program and visiting at the local long term care facility. Spagner said the projects helped him learn to work alongside his fellow cadets.

“It helps me gain leadership skills like teamwork with my peers and helping one another,” Spagner said. “As we were giving the plates and going to houses, one took pictures, and another took videos. So we helped each other out.”

And, for Spagner, seeing smiles on the faces of meal recipients was the best part.

“We actually went to my grandmother’s house,” he said. “It was great. She was so thankful. I enjoyed seeing the smiles on their faces. We had a great time.”