Mid-South Food Bank fights food insecurity and hunger

Story Highlights
  • 16.2 million pounds of nutritious food was distributed to over 220,000 people last year through Mid-South Food Bank.

Mid-South Food Bank serves on the front lines of fighting food insecurity and hunger in our community. The organization focuses on three main initiatives: boosting kids’ nutrition, helping families stay healthy, and alleviating the worries of seniors. These initiatives, along with the Food Bank’s mission to change lives by eliminating hunger in the Mid-South, made it possible for 16.2 million pounds of nutritious food to be distributed to over 220,000 people last year. 

Founded in 1981, Mid-South Food Bank was initially formed as a program of Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). It joined Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, and became a separate 501(c)(3) charity in 1988. Through its partnership with over 300 local agencies, such as food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, and other nonprofits, Mid-South Food Bank is able to provide millions of pounds of nutritious food to those in need across 31 counties. 

These partner agencies must be
1) a 501(c)3 or faith-based equivalent,
2) within Mid-South Food Bank’s service area and
3) feeding the food insecure free of charge, to be eligible to apply for food and partnership.

Once the need is determined and a partnership is formed, these agencies place orders at Mid-South Food Bank’s warehouse and either pick up on-site or have their orders delivered.

During these unprecedented times, Mid-South Food Bank has stepped up to serve the community in response to COVID-19 by positioning itself as the source for emergency food, including scheduled mobile pantry distributions and partner agencies able to receive boxes containing enough nonperishable food to assist families for up to two weeks. Families with children who attend Shelby County Schools and qualify for free and reduced lunches are also able to receive food at a mobile pantry at the school or in the neighborhood. The list of all mobile pantry distributions scheduled in Memphis and the surrounding area can be found via the Mid-South Food Bank’s website at midsouthfoodbank.org.

“The families who already are struggling with hunger suddenly have kids at home. So, now they must increase their food budget because they are no longer receiving free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school,” explains Mid-South Food Bank President and CEO, Cathy Pope. In order to receive food, individuals must bring an official form of ID indicating residence such as a driver’s license or utility bill with a home address.

Mid-South Food Bank is experiencing a critical need for food and monetary donations. Unfortunately, they have had to suspend having volunteers in the warehouse for safety reasons, but volunteers may be needed at mobile pantries.  If you have any questions about volunteering, email volunteer@midsouthfoodbank.org.  You can still help with an online monetary donation on the website or, if you would like to donate food, please visit midsouthfoodbank.org/donate-food to see a preferred list of items. Additionally, as grocery store donations have decreased, food donations from hotels, caterers, and restaurants not participating in take-out are needed more than ever.

There is work to be done, but please take comfort in that we’re all in this together and that we will make it through this together.

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