Volunteer Stories
MIFA Volunteers share their experiences

MIFA volunteers come from all around the city each day to serve our Meals on Wheels senior clients. Hear from new timers and regulars, working and retired, young and old! 

Our vision is uniting the community through service and our volunteers help us make that possible. In this blog series, we will share volunteer stories, experiences, and more. If you have a story that you want to share please email hwalker@mifa.org

Christmas Day Meals: The Greatest Gift with Rev. Marvin Mims

When Rev. Marvin Mims, Sr., pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church, organized a new nonprofit called BOLD (Brothers Offering Leadership Development) Brothers to mentor young African American males in September 2001, his search for service opportunities quickly led him to MIFA. “We heard about the great work MIFA was doing in our city,” he says, “and decided to get involved.”

The group started with Saturday morning deliveries. Soon the holidays rolled around, along with a new opportunity: Christmas Day Meals.

A holiday tradition at MIFA since 1984, Christmas Day Meals allows volunteers to deliver special holiday meals—along with gifts and some holiday cheer—to senior Meals on Wheels recipients across the community. In some cases, the volunteer delivering their meal is the only person a senior sees on a holiday when they should be surrounded by family.

When asked what this day means to him, Rev. Mims explained, “Delivering meals on Christmas Day is an opportunity to sacrifice time to be a blessing to someone in need. It gives us an opportunity to encourage and uplift someone with a physical gift from MIFA, but it also allows us to spread Christ’s joy with the world and strangers.”

He also sees the value of Christmas Day Meals as an intro- duction to service for people of all ages, from BOLD Brothers youth to his own family and his parishioners. “A few years ago, my wife and I brought our 4-year-old grandson, Hazen, to

Christmas Day Meals. Through experiences like these, he learns the importance of giving to others,” he says. “Several members of our church have participated in recent years, and it has helped create a culture of serving to a greater degree, especially on Christmas Day.”

One of his favorite memories of delivering meals throughout the years was visiting a blind minister named Elder Futch, who died last year. “I would have fun with him trying to disguise who I was, but he knew me by my handshake,” Rev. Mims says. They always delivered his meal last so they could stay and visit, often for half an hour or longer. He and his wife became like family to Rev. Mims, who took his own children on deliveries and appreciated the wisdom and positivity Elder Futch offered them. “MIFA connected us with wonderful senior citizens in Memphis, like Elder Futch, who gave us a lifetime of memories,” he says.

This will be Rev. Mims’s 20th year delivering Christmas Day Meals. He always brings a crowd: family, friends, parishioners, and BOLD Brothers—and he urges you to join him. “The greatest gift you can give on Christmas Day is to be involved with MIFA, serve an elder person a meal, share a gift, and bring joy to a stranger with your presence. You will be blessed in return!”

Join us on Christmas morning to help deliver meals and gifts to 1,100 area seniors. This year's event will feature outdoor meal pick-up and other COVID safety measures. Space is limited; sign up today. Contact Kristi Estes at kestes@mifa.org or (901) 529-4521.