Community Outreach enhances lives by providing the basic necessities that people in our community need to survive. When people’s basic needs are met they are able to make progress in creating a better future for themselves. We provide many resources, as listed below, and refer people to other community organizations to help with other specific needs. If someone receives food assistance more than three times, we ask them to volunteer at RIFA to help them see that they, too, are capable of making a difference.
We partner with senior centers in Jackson and surrounding counties to identify senior citizens who are food insecure and provide food assistance throughout the year through our Senior Staples program.
The RIFA Food Co-op program provides a community-based approach to building the participants’ food security. Participants pay a $5 membership fee to join the Co-op, and then they pay $4 at the meetings every other week. The money collected through the Co-op fees is not used to purchase the food. The funds go into an account that the members use at their discretion.
By participating in the Food Co-op, members receive ⅓ to ½ of the food that their family needs for the month. However, the ultimate goal of the Co-op extends past the food that is distributed, and is focused on the community that is developed within the group. The members meet on a bi-weekly basis for a meeting before the food is distributed. The meeting is an opportunity for members to interact with each other and also to provide educational opportunities for the group.
Each member of the Food Co-op has a role to play. For example, some of the roles that the RIFA Food Co-op has are a food distribution coordinator, a person in charge of signing in members, and a treasurer. This gives each member a sense of purpose and ownership over the success of the group. It is a collaboration among the participants to make the group successful.