Generosity Saves 

A 100-year-old nonprofit rallies.

Last year, helping needy families almost became impossible for the United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis (UMNC).

For more than 100 years, the nonprofit has been feeding, caring for, and empowering what they call the "overlooked or ignored" of Shelby County. But in October of last year, UMNC was so low on funds that the staff couldn't foresee the organization surviving past December.

After reducing staff, selling property, and increasing donations by about 20 percent since last October, the UMNC survived.

"Donations were down, but God blessed us," said Elvernice Davis, UMNC director. "We could not have made it without our donors and volunteers."

The UMNC staff maintains six food pantries. Along with serving more than 400 hot meals a week, the UMNC also provides produce twice a week and monthly food baskets to needy families.

During the holidays, UMNC offers qualifying families the choice of a food basket at Thanksgiving or a box of toys at Christmas. Donations come from area United Methodist churches and private donors.

This year, UMNC gave Thanksgiving baskets to more than 300 local families and had enough food left over to fill its pantries. Last year, the group distributed 250 Thanksgiving baskets.

"People are ahead of the game when it comes to helping out this year," Davis said. "We had one church commit to 100 boxes but brought us 125 boxes."

While flyers asking for donations were placed in area churches, getting the word out didn't take much effort.

"It became word of mouth," Davis said. "When it comes to people needing assistance, it spreads like wild fire."

While support for the UMNC has grown and it is no longer in danger of closing, the center still needs help as it operates on a month-to-month budget.

In addition to the food pantries, the UMNC offers day care for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years and has a program to help refugee families enter into the Memphis community.

"The UMNC has been offering services to Memphis for years," Davis said. "Gifts are managed by churches, but the whole community participates and benefits."

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • Liberty & Safety

      City surveillance methods on trial this week.
    • Transit Trouble

      MATA’s proposed service cuts spark concern.


Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Let's Do The Time Warp Drive-In With John Waters

Intermission Impossible

Hattiloo Puts the School-to-Prison Pipeline in the Spotlight

News Blog

Female Population On the Rise at Shelby County Jail

Music Blog

Dancing Highlife in Memphis, Obruni Style

Hungry Memphis

Now Open: Nutrition Bar

News Blog

Strickland Asks For Trust On Banks' Shooting

Hungry Memphis

LYFE Kitchen Closed

Hungry Memphis

Sneak Peek at Ronnie Grisanti's

Hungry Memphis

Launch Process Expands with Penny Lounge


More by Erica Walters

  • House Warming

    Federal tax credit for homebuyers extended to April.
    • Jan 7, 2010
  • Earth Angel

    Local company creates an elaborate ride.
    • Dec 24, 2009
  • Corn on the Car

    Local woman distributes "kernels of truth" about genetically modified crops.
    • Dec 10, 2009
  • More »

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation