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VOL. 131 | NO. 48 | Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MIFA Aims to Reach 3,000 Clients on Weekdays

By Don Wade

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There’s more than one way to get a meal to a homebound senior: by car, by bicycle, or even on foot.

The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) is participating in the 14th annual March for Meals, a month-long nationwide celebration of Meals on Wheels. MIFA regularly delivers meals to between 1,400 and 1,500 homebound older persons. Others are served at congregate nutrition sites each weekday.

In cooperation with midtown’s Urban Bicycle Ministry, MIFA will deploy a Meals on Two Wheels program this month. Last year, MIFA launched its Meals on Heels initiative with a jogging group.

SALLY JONES HEINZ

Although the Meals on Wheels program covers a lot of ground, MIFA executive director Sally Jones Heinz says the job is never done.

“We want people to understand there are still gaps in service,” she said.

Funded by a grant from The Plough Foundation, MIFA’s No Hungry Seniors program is aiming toward increasing services with the ultimate goal to reach close to 3,000 clients each weekday.

“We really need more private support and volunteers,” Heinz said.

Nationally, Meals on Wheels America supports more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs.

Meals on Wheels America president and CEO Ellie Hollander said the mission is bigger than just providing food.

“The model addresses three of the biggest threats of aging: isolation, hunger and loss of independence,” she said.

Just since last May, MIFA’s program added 475 new clients. The Plough Foundation initiative will help not only with the delivery of hot meals but also groceries.

At the end of the month, MIFA also will celebrate its 48t birthday. The Founder’s Day celebration will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on March 31 at Church of the Holy Communion’s Cheney Parish Hall at 4645 Walnut Grove Road.

The event will feature a panel discussion entitled “Interfaith in Memphis: The Time is Now.” Outstanding donors and volunteers will also be recognized. The Muslim Community of Memphis is the presenting sponsor with support from Temple Israel and Church of the Holy Communion.

The panel will include: moderator Rev. Harry Durbin, senior vice president for Faith and Health at Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare; Imam Anwar Arafat of Masjid Rahman’ Rev. Virzola Law of Lindenwood Christian Church; and Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein of Jewish Community Partners.

Tickets to the event, which will also feature a brief reception with refreshments, are $25 teach. Tables of eight are available for $200. For reservations, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.mifa.org/foundersday” www.mifa.org/foundersday or call 901-529-4569.

MIFA was founded in 1968 following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Heinz says that given today’s political climate in a presidential election year, “I think I can feel a little bit of what our founders we’re feeling in 1968. It’s more important than ever to show that we can bring people together to serve.”

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