A veteran of disaster response and a longtime national ministry are delivering free meals in their own backyard.
Mississippi-based Eight Days of Hope is known for showing up at tornado-ravaged homes to help the helpless and the hurting, but the ministry has gone to work in its headquarters of Tupelo with help from the American Family Association.
Concerned about spread of the coronavirus, especially for elderly residents, Eight Days and AFA plan to serve as many as 20,000 meals over the next two weeks.
AFA is providing financial help and volunteers, and Eight Days is using its feeding trailers, in an effort to provide two meals a day to anyone who needs help. The first meals were delivered Tuesday.
“This is a different type of a disaster, one that's still unfolding in front of our eyes,” Steve Tybor, Eight Days Founder, says. “Right now there's a lot of people who are confused. They’re anxious. They’re worried.”
The volunteers are following government guidelines for “social distancing” during cooking and meal prep, which limits the number of helpers working at one time.
Walker Wildmon, AFA’s vice president of operations, told a Tupelo newspaper that the ministry has committed $100,000 to purchase food.
“I thought one way we could meet a need, yet still be following all the guidelines that our leaders are putting in place,” Wildmon said, “is to just deliver meals for free to families all across Tupelo.”
Tupelo has an approximate population of 40,000, with approximately 85,000 residents in Lee County, Miss.
Tybor told the newspaper that the meals are not just for the elderly but also for families struggling to pay for groceries and for an overworked nurse, for example, who wants a meal delivered to waiting family at home.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.