by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Helping the Homebound

volunteer_ehrhardt3Every Monday, Shirley Ehrhardt can be found driving her route around 92081. She makes eight to 10 stops each week delivering food to those in need. As a long-time volunteer for Meals with Love Vista/Oceanside, Shirley is an integral part of the community, not just helping with meals but delivering a conversation and a human touch to our homebound neighbors.

“I enjoy meeting new people that need meals and talking to the ones who have been on my route for years,” Shirley shared. One of her stops is for a woman with cerebral palsy who relies solely on the volunteers for meals and help. “The volunteers with Meals with Love go above and beyond just delivering food,” Shirley acknowledged.

For more than 20 years, Shirley has been driving her route, which includes helping the homebound, as well as people confined to their homes due to accidents or illness. “We assist those of all ages who need nourishment,” she explained.


Name: Shirley Ehrhardt
Community: Vista
Profession: Retired CAD drafter
Family: Four daughters, six grandchildren, two great granddaughters
Favorite Local Spot: Moonlight Amphitheatre

volunteer_ehrhardt2Shirley began volunteering with the organization to lend a helping hand after a 30-year career as a manual and CAD drafter. “I have been with Meals with Love more than 20 years because of their dedication, friendliness, and making us feel like family.”

A 92081 resident for the past 32 years, Shirley also enjoys gardening, sewing, minor home repairs, building very tiny dollhouses, and her grandchildren. She was widowed 10 years ago and today spends time with her four daughters, six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Shirley suggests anyone can get involved with Meals with Love by calling Cathy Vaughn at 760-726-1225. The organization is always in need of new volunteers who can drive a route or fill in when someone can’t make it. Her greatest wish is that Meals with Love receives a huge grant to continue their work. As for her work and life, Shirley said, “I am humbled and love that I am still able to volunteer, do my hobbies, and enjoy my grandchildren at my age (84).”