City of interfaith service

April 1, 2013 in Featured Question of the Week, Question of the Week, Spotlight Answers, The Heart of Memphis by Sally Jones Heinz

There are over 650,000 hearts beating in Memphis, and twice that many if you count the Metro area.
Let me tell you about a few of them.

One day as I walked into the MIFA lobby, I saw a woman nearly 70 and two small children sitting by the door. Near them were several crumpled paper bags. It was afternoon, after the Emergency Services hours, so I knew that this was an unusual situation and that someone was working late to help them. The woman, I found out, was the grandmother, and had custody of the children because their mother was unable to care for them. They had been living with a relative until the grandmother had to be hospitalized, at which point the relative told her that she and the children could not come back. So the children stayed in the hospital room with their grandmother. When she was discharged, they all came to MIFA, with their possessions in paper bags, seeking shelter.

Most shelters require that an adult be able to work, and this grandmother could not. But MIFA’s shelter placement worker, whose family had over 20 years ago been homeless and come through MIFA’s transitional housing program, was able to arrange a special 3-month placement for the family. We can safely assume that during those three months suitable housing for them was found.

Situations like this almost make my own heart skip a beat. But the loyal, compassionate service of MIFA’s many employees, volunteers, and supporters connects with the hearts of those who come to us. Together they assure a healthy heartbeat for us all.