On day 5 I woke up bright and early and headed to meet Sarah (a fellow volunteer and the founder of Volunteer Odyssey) at MIFA. I actually didn’t know what MIFA stood for until that morning. Thanks to a quick history lesson from Sarah, I now know that MIFA was formed in the late 1960’s when community members band together to find a way to fight poverty and racial division in the Memphis area. MIFA started the meals on wheels program in Memphis in 1974 and has been serving hot meals to citizens 5 days a week ever since. Today the meals on wheels program feeds 1,800 seniors in Memphis! Many of these meals are delivered by volunteers.
Thanks to the very organized and detail oriented staff at MIFA, the process of volunteering was extremely easy.
Step 1: Walk into MIFA and receive your route assignment
Step 2: Load your car with the coolers marked with your route number (one cooler for hot food and one for cold)
Step 3: Follow the step by step directions on your route sheet in order to get to the first house
Step 4: Give the senior at the home the food and drink
Step 5: Repeat steps 3&4
After you have finished delivering all of your meals, ten in total, you head back to MIFA and return their cooler. That is it!
The entire process only takes about an hour and a half from start to finish and you have done an amazing thing for ten people!
Everyone on my route was very nice and thankful to be receiving the food. There wasn’t a single individual who wanted to stand and chat with me which was kind of disappointing. You know, since I like to talk and all. But, I can imagine that with some of the routes you might encounter a few individuals who don’t mind or might even be eager to have an early morning, cheery conversation. After all, for some of these people you might be the only person they see all day. Think about that for a second will you? I don’t know about you all but for me that thought helped me to keep a big smile on my face while greeting the recipients. If I was only going to see one person all day I for sure would want it to be a smiling, happy person!
Have I mentioned I “saved” a newborn kitten on my venture with meals on wheels? No? Well, no biggie. I save newborn animals all of the time. Okay, maybe this is the first but I was pretty excited to be able to help the little kitty out. Long story short, the poor thing had fallen out of its kitty house and was lying abandoned on the porch. I simply picked it up and returned it to its mother and siblings. When helping with meals on wheels things like this are likely to happen on a much larger scale every once in a while. For instance, there have been times when a meal recipient hasn’t responded to the knock at the door. After a call made by the volunteer back to the MIFA hub a family members is reached and goes for a visit. The family member finds that the senior has fallen and needs to go to the hospital.
Thanks to the dedication of the meals on wheels program and their staff and volunteers, an even more serious issue has been avoided. As a volunteer for this program you are doing so much more than simply delivering food. You are delivering a smile and a “have a good day” to a person who might otherwise not hear it all day. You are also in a sense checking up on the individuals to make sure that they are okay. For some people, you might be delivering the only meal they will have that entire day. That one reason alone is enough to persuade me to return to MIFA in the future.
Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job opportunity where I can apply my social work skills and improve our community. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know more about Samantha? Check out her bio: http://volunteerodyssey.com/participants/#samantha-hicks