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A Personal Touch

At a time when our society has been forced into social distancing, Karen Kops fondly recalls volunteering at Nashville Rescue Mission during Pampering Week back in February—and it is an experience she will not soon forget.

As the owner of Poppy & Monroe, a natural nail salon and beauty boutique, Karen knows an active Instagram presence goes a long way in reaching potential customers and communicating with existing clients. This is where Karen first learned of the Mission’s campus that serves women and children experiencing homelessness.

“I can’t believe this was practically in my backyard, and I didn’t know about it,” shared Karen.

“Ironically, I’ve known about the Men’s Campus for years. I grew up in White House, TN, went to Father Ryan, and attended Western Kentucky University. I remember serving meals at the Mission over the Thanksgiving holiday when I was a teenager. And as a young adult, I remember helping a man who was in need and directing him to the Mission. But I honestly had no idea the Mission had a campus for women and children just a block away from my shop.”

After hearing more about the Mission’s annual Hearts of Hope luncheon to benefit homeless women and children and the week of pampering leading up to the event, Karen was super excited to get involved.

“I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time. When I started my business, which caters to women, I always knew I wanted to find a way to give back. Having the opportunity to offer our services to these women was such a great experience for me—and our entire staff.”

For Pampering Week, Karen, along with several members of her team, came to the Mission each day to paint the ladies’ nails.

“Before painting their nails, we took extra time giving each of the ladies a hand massage. One of the things I noticed was that most of these women weren’t used to being touched in such a loving way.”

“My goal was to make each woman feel important and know that she was deserving of this pampering,” recalled Karen.

“I could see the weight of the world lifting off of them. It wasn’t so much about picking a color but showing them love through touch.”

Looking back, Karen feels extremely blessed to have had that experience. Especially now that in light of the coronavirus, there is much more caution about being in close contact with each other.

“I loved meeting the women,” shared Karen. “I was humbled so many of them opened up to me and shared their stories. It truly puts things into perspective.”

Karen says the experience filled her up top to bottom.

“I got so much more back than I gave,” she shared. “It was so fulfilling. I’m ready to go back to the Mission and volunteer at any time.”

Following the city’s Safer at Home order amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mission temporarily suspended all volunteering and campus tours for the health and safety of our guests, staff, and volunteers. As we follow the city’s Roadmap for Reopening Nashville, we know the day we may resume volunteer activities is near. Visit here for the latest details.

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