RIFA: Serving Jackson’s Underserved
The Regional Inter-Faith Association (RIFA) has been leading the fight against hunger in Jackson, TN since 1976. In Jackson, 1 out of 5 people are food insecure and 18.9 percent of people in Madison County live below the poverty level, which is higher than the 15 percent US average. What started as a food resource for the community, evolved into a thrift store, community soup kitchen, snack backpack ministry, food bank, and a food co-op.
RIFA’s Community Outreach program serves individuals and families who are experiencing an inability to provide for their family. They receive food, assistance with transportation, baby needs, hygiene items, medication, clothing, and referral to other community resources. Within this program is RIFA’s Food Co-op program, which is a membership-based community-development approach to fighting hunger.
Senior Staples Program
This program is a partnership between RIFA and local senior centers, where boxes of staple food items are distributed to senior citizens at the centers. In collaboration with Jackson Housing Authority and Falcon Ridge Farms, the program was recently expanded to provide community-supported agriculture boxes full of fresh produce to seniors in low-income communities in Jackson.
Snack Backpack Program
This program provides kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare, nutritious food items to fill the gap for children who are at risk of going hungry on Saturdays and Sundays. The backpacks are given to over 1,000 children at 14 elementary schools for 42 weeks and provides each child with six meals and two snacks.
Bus Stop Café
This program uses a school bus that has been retrofitted into a mobile feeding unit to provide meals to children up to 18 years old in food insecure neighborhoods each weekday during the summer
This program provides hot, nutritious meals 365 days a year, including all holidays. No one is charged or turned away. An average of 200 meals are served daily.
The Food Bank serves 24 nonprofits in Madison County and surrounding areas. They store the food and with the help from volunteers, sort, pack, and re-distributes it. Over 100,000 pounds of food is distributed each year.
A significant portion of RIFA’s revenue comes from sales in the Thrift Store. Gently used donations are made available to the community at a low cost.
Their Impact in 2021:
• 51,994 meals served through the soup kitchen
• 49,503 meals distributed through the food bank
• 224,901 meals provided to children through the Snack Backpack and School Food Pantry
• 11,348 meals served to children through the Bus Stop Café
• 62,250 meals served through the Community Outreach program
• 76,450 meals provided through the Senior Staples program
Last Updated: Dec 19, 2022 - 1:50:36