Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Free meal program for seniors opens in Frayser as food insecurity among seniors remains high across Memphis

According to the Aging Commission of the Mid-south, Memphis regularly ranks in the top five metropolitan areas in the country that deal with senior hunger.

 Stephen Pimpo

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Tuesday, the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) opened its latest free meal program for seniors and those with disabilities, this time in Frayser.

The much-needed program highlights the widespread problem of seniors dealing with food insecurity all over Memphis.

According to the Aging Commission of the Mid-south, Memphis regularly ranks in the top five metropolitan areas in the country that deal with senior hunger.

For Frayser seniors like Rebecca Murray, the luxury of knowing where their next meal will come from is not something they can always count on.

“We do have limited income,” she said. “So anything that can assist us in our day-to-day lives really helps us.”

It’s for that reason that MIFA opened up their 16th congregate meal site at Frayser’s Ed Rice Community Center.

But it’s a need felt by less fortunate seniors across Shelby County.

“They don’t have money to purchase food because they’re paying so much for their rent and utilities and other matters,” said Kim Daugherty, executive director for the Aging Commission of the Mid-South.

The meal program runs Monday through Friday and is free for all Shelby County residents over 60 or those under 60 with a disability, provided they register with MIFA.

But Murray, who has relied on meal programs like this for at least five years, said admitting the need for help is not always easy.

“There is no shame in eating and being full,” Murray said.

The chance to connect and share a meal together is something else these congregate meals prioritize, especially with many seniors struggling with isolation.

“Dining together, it means so much,” Murray said. “That cohesiveness. We share things, and the things we share, we realize that some of us are sharing, going through maybe the same things.”

Members of MIFA said they are hoping to open up their next congregate meal site somewhere in Southeast Memphis, such as Hickory Hill.

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