Spread The Love.

It’s the fourth day of my Volunteer Odyssey, and I continue to be impressed with how our city’s charitable and nonprofit organizations provide education, awareness, and funding for human rights initiatives. Today, I visited the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) and learned more about their efforts to support the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis. This amazing organization offers an array of services tailored to meet the needs and challenges in Memphis neighborhoods. In the first part of the visit, I met with Kristi to help deliver meals to residents. The Meals on Wheels program provides 1,200 hot, nutritious lunches each weekday for clients who are either homebound elderly or seniors at congregate sites. Yes, you read that correctly – 1,200 prepared meals are delivered by volunteers each weekday! It’s an incredible effort to ensure that the nutritional needs of seniors are met. Also, it serves as a connection with the outside for those who are homebound.

The meal route with Kristi took place in an area that really isn’t too far from more affluent parts of Memphis. In fact, we visited one boarded-up apartment complex that remains within the view of the FedEx Forum. When you notice such a contrast, you can’t help but connect it to our city’s concerns with poverty and violence. Before we began our route, we packed a good supply of warm trays with food, rolls, milk, and fruit for our stops. During the drive, Kristi shared with me more information about Meals on Wheels and how the program enables seniors, who live at or below the poverty line, to remain in their homes and continue to be an integral part of the community. You could tell how these special deliveries enhance and improve the quality of life for seniors in Memphis. Just seeing smiles on clients’ faces was enough to show how MIFA has truly helped clients maintain independence and a peace of mind. I admire how MIFA continues to address issues of poverty, hunger, and isolation by pursuing both immediate relief and long-term solutions through their programs and services.

After assisting Kristi with the meal route, I met with the communications team to learn more about their work in branding, fundraising, and marketing for MIFA. Imagine being part of something that brings hope and opportunity to so many people! Ellen, Terrie, and Jim reminded me the importance of teamwork for building morale and achieving goals. With the organization’s collaborative work environment, there are opportunities for members of different skills and interests to learn, grow, and make a difference. Who wouldn’t love that? My appreciation for MIFA and its programs grew exponentially as I heard and saw how their work continues to strengthen the lives of seniors and families in crisis.

A pep talk from Ellen, Terrie, and Jim was just what I needed as I look for meaningful work and ways to gain more experience in creative design. While sharing their experiences, Ellen, Terrie, and Jim made it clear that you can expect excellent results when team members’ roles are clearly defined. In order to achieve goals and objectives, you must be flexible and open to new ideas. It’s no wonder MIFA has done well in their efforts to alleviate hunger and suffering. Everyone is there to educate and train the public, as well as make a difference in clients’ everyday lives. One Team, One Goal – making Memphis a better place.

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