MIFA Meals on Wheels Media Kit
Click here for a downloadable version of this resource.
Video clips of various lengths are available at this link, including 34 short clips in .mov and .mp4 and a 4:20 video of all clips in both formats.
COVID-19 Response Narrative
Since 1976, MIFA Meals on Wheels has provided home-delivered meals to food insecure seniors in Shelby County. The frequent, in-home visits provide unique opportunities to meet nutritional needs, combat social isolation, address safety concerns, and provide holistic care for seniors in every ZIP code in Shelby County.
During the COVID-19 crisis, MIFA Meals on Wheels is committed to providing its current clients with hot and shelf-stable or frozen meals during this unprecedented time but with modifications for the safety of our clients and those delivering. Our objective is to get as many meals into seniors’ homes as we can, in case of future service disruption. To that end, the MIFA Meals team rewrote its entire program model to ensure continued service.
Typical week: MIFA Meals on Wheels serves more than 1,200 homebound seniors Monday - Friday as well as nearly 800 additional seniors who meet at congregate or community dining sites.
During COVID-19: MIFA Meals on Wheels is delivering hot meals Monday through Wednesday plus a box of five shelf-stable or frozen meals. As our congregate sites are not open, these clients also receive a box of five meals.
Even with scaled back distribution days, MIFA actually provided more meals than in a typical month. During the first month of COVID-19, we delivered more than 50,000 hot, shelf-stable and frozen meals to our clients. The hope is that our clients will have a supply of meals on hand should service be disrupted in the future and as needed during this scaled back delivery model.
How are the meals getting to clients? MIFA staff, some regular volunteers, and City of Memphis employees currently are delivering meals. Additional safety precautions include:
- Meals are placed directly in drivers’ vehicles, so volunteers do not have to enter the MIFA facility.
- All volunteers wear masks and gloves during pickup and delivery of meals.
How the community can help
Funding. Every gift helps keep the MIFA Meals on Wheels program not only at its current level of service but can possibly help move more qualified seniors off of the waiting list and into the program. For example, a nutritious hot meal delivered from MIFA’s kitchen to a senior’s home only costs $8. Donate online at mifa.org/donatenow.
Volunteer. While we cannot take on new volunteers at this time due to safety and restrictions, we are hopeful for the day when we will need many more new volunteers to help with delivery shifts.
Background on MIFA Meals on Wheels
Started in 1976, MIFA Meals on Wheels is the only authorized Meals on Wheels program in Shelby County; churches and other groups may do their own versions.
Nearly one in six seniors in the United States faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished. Many seniors in our community live alone without the means of leaving their homes.
According to Feeding America, senior food insecurity rates top 17.3 percent in the metro Memphis area (compared to 3 percent, for example, in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area).
MIFA delivers nutritious meals to every ZIP code in Shelby County. Seniors apply to participate through the Aging Commission which vets applications and recommends placement (a single-point-of-entry program). The program is for those 60 and older; under 60 if disabled.
Beyond meals, the program is a touchpoint of care, providing mental and emotional support. Individuals who have positive social connections and whose basic needs are met are more likely to maintain good health in the long term, reducing health care costs for all.
MIFA Meals on Wheels points to consider
There is no income threshold to participate. Eligibility is based on Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living assessments (i.e. if you did not have Meals on Wheels delivery, would you be able to adequately feed yourself?).
It is not exclusively funded by government monies. Currently, only 48 percent of MIFA's annual budget for Meals on Wheels comes from federal funding. In fact, while the need has grown significantly, government funding has remained stagnant.
Currently, MIFA provides home-delivered nutrition to close to 1,200 homebound seniors through its delivery program. Yet, the waiting list in Shelby County is the largest in Tennessee. (So, while it can be said that funding has not been cut, it has also not kept up with the need.)
Unlike other food providers, MIFA Meals on Wheels gives senior clients nutritionally sound, prepared meals that are delivered nearly every day.