Uniting the community through service. 
That is MIFA’s vision, and that is what MIFA volunteers do every day.

Now, perhaps more than at any time since our founding in 1968, we need to do all we can to unite our community. Stunned by the many recent outbreaks of violence and hostility in our city and nation, we could easily feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when people ask, “Is there anything I can do?” MIFA offers a powerful answer: we can get to know our neighbors. This is what MIFA volunteers have been doing for almost 50 years. 

When we serve, we help people in need. But, even more than that, we expand and transform ourselves. 

There are lots of ways to get involved at MIFA! To learn about group volunteer opportunities, as well as opportunities for individuals and families, see below.

MIFA Family Services Days

Scheduled during school breaks and on Saturdays throughout the year, these MIFA-hosted service learning events are designed to introduce children and youth to the challenges of poverty in our community and provide families opportunities to serve our neighbors in need together.

You’re invited to join us for MIFA’s fun and fulfilling 2017-18 Family Service Days.

While all ages are welcome, activities are geared for ages 6 – 13 with a parent or adult. Older youth are welcome to serve as event helpers, and all participants will receive community service hours if needed. Please note that space is limited and advance reservations are required.

October 21, 2017 
Stock a Senior’s Pantry
Sponsored by 

Many of the elderly neighbors MIFA serves through Meals on Wheels lack either access to transportation or the resources to shop for groceries to keep on hand at home. Beyond the weekday hot meals MIFA serves these seniors, we also periodically deliver shelf-stable supplemental meals for them to have as a backup or in case of inclement weather. Participants in our fall Family Service Day will learn more about the challenges of aging and poverty before decorating Halloween-themed meal bags and packing them with pantry items for delivery to Meals clients at a later date. A light breakfast will be served. Space is limited to first come, first served. To learn more, contact Dorothy McClure at (901) 529-4523 or dmcclure@mifa.org

December 21 & December 28, 2017 
Home for the Holidays Meals on Wheels
Participants will make colorful cards and ornaments to give to meals recipients, tour the MIFA kitchen, and deliver hot lunches as a family. Afterwards, return everyone returns to MIFA for a light lunch and to share their service stories. Space is limited to first come, first served. To learn more, contact Dorothy McClure at (901) 529-4523 or dmcclure@mifa.org

February 19, 2018 
Hail to the Chiefs Presidents' Day Celebration
Participants will gather at MIFA for a light breakfast, decorate and pack pantry-style meal bags for elderly clients, and deliver hot lunches to homebound seniors as a family. Space is limited to first come, first served. To learn more, contact Dorothy McClure at (901) 529-4523 or dmcclure@mifa.org

April 28, 2018
Neighborhood Clean-up Day
Spend Earth Day helping MIFA clean up in our own neighborhood as we unite participants from a wide array of backgrounds in service. To learn more, contact Isaiah Swanson at (901) 529-4521 or iswanson@mifa.org.

Volunteer Compass

To view a list of current volunteer opportunities, visit our page on Volunteer Compass by Volunteer Odyssey or see below.


Group Volunteering

Bring your group to MIFA for a team-building experience that will also serve our community! Group volunteer opportunities include delivering MIFA Meals on Wheels (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and collecting and packing senior, adult, and baby care packs. Other opportunities may be available based on current needs. 

For all groups, please contact Candice Ivy at (901) 529-4586 or civy@mifa.org.

Volunteer Opportunities for Individuals & Families

MIFA depends on the support of more than 2,000 volunteers each year. Opportunities exist in many of our programs, and we also have special projects throughout the year. To learn more, contact Isaiah Swanson directly at (901) 529-4521 or iswanson@mifa.org, or complete our volunteer interest form, and Isaiah will get back to you.

Meals on Wheels

Brighten the day of a homebound senior by delivering hot Meals on Wheels on weekday mornings. 

Requirements: Each volunteer must possess a valid driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. Volunteers should arrive at MIFA between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday to begin delivering meals. Each car will carry two coolers containing food items, and MIFA staff will provide directions through the meals route (to about ten clients’ homes). Delivering an entire route takes approximately two hours. Background checks are required for all Meals on Wheels volunteers.

Saturday routes now available! 
Volunteers can now deliver shelf-stable meals on Saturdays as part of the No Hungry Senior program.

Requirements: Ideal for pairs. Each driver must possess a valid driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. Volunteers must pick up the boxes at MIFA before 4 p.m. Friday afternoon and deliver the meals by noon Saturday morning. Each car will carry 10-15 meal boxes weighing about 6 pounds each. MIFA staff will assign volunteers either a specific neighborhood route or a high-rise apartment building and provide directions. Delivering an entire route takes approximately two hours. Background checks are required for all Meals on Wheels volunteers.


Ride along and try us out

Considering becoming a MIFA Meals on Wheels volunteer?  Test drive a meals on wheels volunteer experience.  We’ll pair you up with one of our veteran volunteers for a morning ride along. It’s great way to get an up-close look at our delivery program and the seniors we serve. Contact Isaiah Swanson at (901) 529- 4521 or iswanson@mifa.org for more information or to arrange a ride along.


Long-Term Care Ombudsman

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for the rights of thousands of residents in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care homes in Shelby, Tipton, Fayette, and Lauderdale Counties. It is the only advocacy program for long-term care in the four-county area. Trained Ombudsman volunteers pay regular visits to these facilities, where they spend time with residents, monitor conditions, investigate complaints, and protect residents’ rights.

Requirements: Volunteers must be 21 years of age with no conflicts of interest, provide references, submit to a background check, and complete an interview. Twelve hours of training and certification are required before a volunteer may visit residents. Volunteers must be willing and able to commit to the program for a minimum of one year, visiting residents on a weekly basis and working to resolve conflicts within nursing homes and care facilities.


Emergency Services

Our Emergency Services program provides financial assistance to families at-risk of losing their homes or having their utilities cut off due to inability to pay bills. 

Emergency Services Screener: The pre-screener helps determine client eligibility for assistance. The volunteer will review the client’s request for emergency assistance, interview the client, and determine if the client is eligible. If the client is not eligible, the pre-screener will advise the client of ES requirements, and document the client disposition in CoactionNet. Pre-screener must be able to enter data into an online database, CoactionNet, and be comfortable working with a diverse clientele and handling confidential information.

Requirements: Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and willing to submit to a background check.


Skills-Based Volunteering

Put your professional skills to good use by volunteering them at MIFA! To discuss a specialized volunteer opportunity, please contact Isaiah Swanson at (901) 529-4521 or iswanson@mifa.org.



Help MIFA's advancement staff raise money and awareness for MIFA's programs by helping with mailings, special events, and other activities. 

Requirements: Volunteers must be able to give/take oral and written directions and possess computer skills related to word processing and database use. These assistants will stuff envelopes, make phone calls, write holiday cards, maintain spreadsheets, use a word processor, serve refreshments, set up and clean up, assist with events, host/hostess, and provide other general clerical support as needed.


Assemble Care Packages for Clients

MIFA keeps a small inventory of care packages for the families who come to Emergency Services for assistance. We also collect senior care packages to deliver to our Meals on Wheels clients on their birthdays and on Christmas Day. If you would like to host a collection project at your workplace or church, or just put together a bag or two, we would be grateful for your contribution! 

Please direct any questions to the appropriate staff member below:

  • Individuals and groups, contact Ethel Taylor at (901) 529-4505 or etaylor@mifa.org.
  • Corporations, contact Arnetta Stanton Macklin at (901) 529-4518 or amacklin@mifa.org.
  • Congregations, contact Linda Marks at (901) 529-4560 or lmarks@mifa.org.

Please assemble items in a tote, an 11” x 14” decorative paper bag, or backpack for portability, and deliver to MIFA Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The receptionist will accept your donation and provide a gift receipt. 

Note: While all items are not required, we request that each gift bag contain at least eight of the items on the list. 

Click here for a printable version of these lists. 


Senior Care Packages

This is our greatest and most urgent need. We distribute 150 to 200 senior care packages each month and 850 on Christmas Day.

Socks (regular or non-skid)
Postage stamps
Winter caps
Sweaters, blankets
Tee shirts
Mittens or gloves
Games (playing cards, puzzles, crossword puzzles, or dominoes)
No candy or razors.

Baby Packs

Disposable diapers
Bib or burp cloth
Small blanket
Ready-to-use formula in screw-cap container
Infant juice or juice boxes
Finger foods
Jars of cereal or fruits/vegetables with small spoon
Baby bottle or sippy cup
Baby lotion
Baby wipes
Diaper cream
Small toys or books

Adult Care Packages

Canned Vienna sausage/tuna/chicken/pork & beans
Fruit cup or applesauce
Granola bars or other individually-wrapped treats
Shaving cream
Feminine hygiene products