Serving the Homeless:
In 2005, Chef Julie Darling saw that there was a need in San Diego to serve the homeless fresh and nutritious meals. With the help of generous friends and clients, she began preparing dinners at various holidays. She and her volunteers began serving free Thanksgiving dinners and soon expanded to serving dinners on Christmas. In 2007, Kim Moreira, and Angie Brewer joined Julie’s efforts and they have played an integral role in the expansion of dates and numbers fed. Just Call Us Volunteers now serves meals twice monthly throughout the year in addition to our special holiday meals.
Just Call Us Volunteers collaborates with many nonprofits, connecting volunteers and providing healthy food within their existing programs like the Alpha Project who runs the emergency winter shelter and the Metro Hotel for the City of San Diego, which provides subsidized housing for the mentally and physically disabled. Just Call Us Volunteers has been serving their holiday meals for five years. Each Christmas, we collect basic items as Christmas presents for the shelter residents, including items such as socks, gloves, hats, and scarves.
Every year we ask the Alpha Project what the greatest need is for the Metro Hotel. One year they asked for twin sheets. We all assumed we were replacing threadbare sheets but were shocked to discover most of these residents had never owned sheets. From that point on we have been collecting pillows, sheets, and towels to distribute to the Metro. We also introduced the Manchester Grand Hyatt to the Alpha Project and as a result, the Manchester Grand Hyatt now donates their gently used guest towels to the Alpha Project, which distributes them to the shelters they operate.
In December 2009 with the help of one of our volunteers, Jacqueline Berry of Jaq D Wear designs, our volunteers handmade 200 double fleece blankets of all colors and patterns for the Metro residents. You can see picture of our project in the photo gallery under December 2009.
In 2009, Just Call Us Volunteers added the Veterans Homeless Winter Shelter to our service locations. July 2010, Just Call Us Volunteers was asked to serve lunch to the Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars during Stand Down.
In March, 2010 the Junior League of San Diego teamed up with Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center and now hold their Kids in the Kitchen classes at Olivewood Gardens where the parents of these children also have the opportunity to have a hands-on healthy cooking experience. Just Call Us Volunteers is chef liaison for this project.
Last year Just Call Us Volunteers brought 75 guest chefs to Olivewood Gardens. This year’s goal is to teach cooking classes to 5000 children.
Our guest chefs have included
Amy Dibiase Chef
Chad White Chef owner Ego Culinary Trends
Diane Stopford Chef food journalist
Caron Golden Food journalist
Susan Russo Cookbook author
MArie Kelley Food Stylist
Katie Grebow Exec Chef Cafe Chloe
Hanis Cavin Exec Chef Kensington Grill
Basil Hernandez restaurant owner
Sara Polczynski Exec Pastry chef culinary instructor
Tristan Blash Culinary instructor
Kati Butler Teacher
Tina Reyes owner Latina Catering
Julie Frans chef and owner Dining Details and Chick Peas
Susan Sbicca Chef and co owner Sbicca’s Del Mar
Joe Burns Exec Pastry Chef Pampalmousse Grill
Zach Negin Co owner SoNo Trading Co
James Magnatta Co owner SoNo Trading Co
Jesus Gonzales X Rancho La Puerta spa chef Cups LA Jolla
Jeff Bonilla Pastry Chef Cups LA Jolla
Michelle Lerach Owner Chef Cups La Jolla
Quinn Wilson Chef Suzie’s Farm
Brian Johnson Chef Co Owner Red Door & Wellington
Trish Wallington Co Owner Red Door & Wellington
Flor Franco Chef/Owner Indulge Catering & Artistica Design