MIFA is dear to my heart because like every other child in Memphis at Thanksgiving, I have dutifully brought cans of creamed corn and lima beans to school to “put the GIVE back in Thanksgiving, y’all.” Even in law school, there was one day where you could bribe the professor to skip you if you brought canned goods to donate to MIFA (watch out though, professors tend to just keep asking you questions until you have nothing left but to actually answer the darn question; just thinking about it makes my palms sweaty). Despite years of donations of food though, I have never donated my time at MIFA. This is what it is like:
Upon my arrival at 9:30 am, I am instantly struck with how well organized and well prepared everyone is. There are about 32 routes for the day with numbered coolers and many of them have already been picked up for delivery. While I am getting squared away, other volunteers come pouring in to get their cargo. It’s nice to see so many like-minded people in one place. One woman brought her child to help her, which I think is just wonderful.
A kind gentleman named Rick helps me with some paperwork, makes sure that I am insured and have a valid driver’s license, and then explains what to do. Pretty simple. Follow the directions that include the names and addresses of those who need the meals and deliver. Each person gets a carton of milk, a chicken breast with a lovely curry sauce, steamed squash, mashed potatoes, bread, and my personal favorite, a ginger bread man!
Rivers Powers, who blogged here a few weeks ago, comes along to read the directions. It is definitely good to have someone with me because Memphis’ streets are a bit difficult to navigate. The route, lucky number 17, is generally efficient in taking me from house to house. Further proof that MIFA is well organized is that every recipient has her/his door open. They must be predicting what time we will arrive.
In less than an hour and a half, our coolers are empty. We have been invited into several homes to say hello or to put the food on a table because its difficult to balance the whole meal in one hand while moving with a cane or a walker. We are always greeted with smiles and thanked heartily. Volunteering at MIFA is a pleasure and impacts so many people in such a short time, a truly satisfying experience.