Steve Freno is more than just a volunteer. He consistently goes above and beyond for the 35 senior clients on route 12. How many people drive to Memphis during a power outage to check on their senior clients? Well, Steve does.
“I drove up during a blackout. MIFA was closed due to the storm, but I had my route memorized,” Steve recalls. “So, I drove to Kroger and started filling up bags. I took them to my people. I knew if the electricity was out for two or three days, then they wouldn’t eat.”
He added, “Once you see how they truly depend on MIFA and these meals, you can’t turn your back.”
Steve has singlehandedly delivered more than 20,000 meals in his 10 years as a MIFA Meals on Wheels volunteer. He has taken every opportunity to spread the word and advocate for our programs.
“Mr. Freno supported our mission by delivering meals to vulnerable seniors in one of the poorest zip codes in Memphis, in shorts even in the winter!” said MIFA Volunteer Specialist Angela Scott. “He never forgot a client’s birthday—imagine turning 100 and realizing that you are not forgotten. He loved the people he served, and they loved him! One of our clients even wrote to Sally expressing his gratitude.”
Steve’s service has touched so many clients throughout the years, but the clients have done the same for him. He urges others to volunteer.
“Just go,” he says. “You just have to go. Everybody thinks about it. If you have any thought at all about caring for fellow citizens, then go. Every town in America has this need, but Memphis is #1. There is someone who needs your help, so go down one day and drive with someone!” Sign up here.
Steve delivered his last route on March 29. He recently retired and will be moving soon. But he plans to find new ways to volunteer.
“Volunteering has become my life’s work because of these experiences,” Steve says. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this and do it every week.”
Thank you, Steve, for all you have done for us. MIFA and route 12 will miss you!