TUPELO • Over the next 14 days, Eight Days of Hope and the American Family Association will partner to provide 20,000 meals to Tupelo families in need due to COVID-19.
EDOH president Steve Tybor and AFA vice president of operations Walker Wildmon announced the launch of Feed Tupelo during a Tuesday morning press conference. The first meal would be dinner on Tuesday. EDOH will use its feeding trailers to deliver cold meals for lunch and hot meals for dinner to those unable to leave their homes to get food or unable to afford food at this time.
Wildmon reached out to EDOH on Sunday to see what could be done to help during a time when people and ministries felt “frozen” and unsure of what to do because of COVID-19.
“A lot of ministries are stuck not knowing what to do because of the unique issue we’re facing with limiting human to human contact or social distancing,” Wildmon said. “I thought one way we could meet a need yet still be following all the guidelines that our leaders are putting in place is to just deliver meals for free to families all across Tupelo.”
EDOH had just recently returned from Nashville, where they served those affected by tornadoes, but Tybor said the organizations decided it was important to make a commitment to help at home during this time.
“We want families to stay safe and to take this time to spend with one another, and yet we know that incomes have been impacted dramatically by the last 30 days, not just here in Tupelo but across the country,” Tybor said. “This was a small way American Family Association and Eight Days of Hope can work together to bring meals to families.”
AFA has committed $100,000 for the purchase of food. Renasant Bank has also supported the project, and EDOH invites other local businesses, churches and families to join them in their efforts.
People can sign up for meals on https://feedtupelo.com. Those without internet can call 662-255-7565 to order meals. Lunch requests must be made by 10 a.m. the day of delivery. Dinner requests must be made by 3 p.m. the day of delivery. Families will be able to request meals in three-day increments, listing the number of lunch meals and dinner meals needed each day.
Volunteers will be following CDC, State of Mississippi and City of Tupelo guidelines when preparing meals. There will only be six volunteers at a time preparing dinner with space between them, and no more than 10 people will be in one place at a time volunteering. They will also be taking the temperature of all volunteer workers, including delivery drivers.
“Our hope and goal is that we can bring some hope and some calmness to those who are feeling a little chaotic right now (and offer) a warm meal, maybe a simple prayer over the phone, a word of encouragement,” Tybor said.
Tybor is asking that anyone requesting the service be in need of it for that day. Examples include nurses who may be at work and need meals for their families, the elderly and families with financial issues who are unable to purchase food. They are also delivering meals to encourage people to stay in their homes and protect themselves and others from getting the virus.
Delivery drivers will call families when delivering meals and leave the meal at their door so that no human contact is made.
Efforts will be made to purchase food locally, as well.
Tybor asks for people to pray for their national, state and local leaders in addition to AFA and EDOH. During a Tuesday morning daily COVID-19 briefing, Mayor Jason Shelton thanked the organizations for serving during this time.
“This is the time for giving. This is the time for looking to God for spiritual leadership. This is a time for coming together as a city and a community, a state, so we’re going to try to do that,” Shelton said during the briefing.
Anyone interested in more information about how to help can email firstname.lastname@example.org. They recommend people donate at EDOH’s website with the memo Tupelo or at P.O. Box 3208, Tupelo, MS 38803. Any money raised will be used for Feed Tupelo only.
Those interested in volunteering to be delivery drivers can call 662-844-6934. There will be no human to human contact.