Thank you for providing more than a meal to the homeless. With your help, we’re also serving hope.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and preparations for the Great Thanksgiving Banquet are already underway. This year, the Nashville Rescue Mission will serve more than 5,000 meals during the Banquet, meeting the needs of homeless and hungry men, women and children living on the streets of Nashville.
For most, Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on blessings from the past year, getting together with family and friends, and of course, eating turkey. Lots of families have traditions that revolve around food. Perhaps your tradition is deep-frying a turkey, making a green bean casserole or rolling out a delicious pecan pie. Some traditions are passed down from one generation to the next—like stuffing the turkey to taking in a football game, or watching a Thanksgiving Day parade. But there is really more to Thanksgiving than a good-looking turkey with all the fixings. Some families use this day to give back and serve others.
The Nashville Rescue Mission is honored to be a recipient of the time and gifts of so many generous people in the Nashville community. These friends of the Mission choose to be a part of making Thanksgiving a special day for those who don’t have homes or families to share the holiday with.
At the Mission, there are a few longstanding traditions as well. Starting as early as 4 am the morning before Thanksgiving, volunteers arrive to start preparing for the Great Thanksgiving Banquet. Whether it’s chopping onions or peeling potatoes, volunteers are quick to jump in and help wherever needed. During the banquet, volunteers greet each guest, carry their tray of food and escort them to their table where they are served tea, water or punch.
“I am looking forward to my first Thanksgiving at the Nashville Rescue Mission,” says Glenn Cranfield, President and CEO. “I know it’s going to be an incredible celebration of God’s goodness and faithfulness.”
Preparing a meal to feed this many people is no easy task. The grocery list is enormous and includes 12,000 pounds of turkey; 5,000 dinner rolls; 1,000 pounds of potatoes; 100 gallons of gravy; 600 pounds of dressing and 800 pounds of green beans. The job of preparing the food to feed all those who come hungry and ready to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal like mom might make is a labor of love.
“This is a day we look forward to all year long,” says Billy Eldridge, Director of Operations. “A lot of work goes into this celebration. It requires a tremendous amount of planning and effort. But the rewards of blessing someone who is in need and has no other place to go with a delicious, Thanksgiving meal makes it so worth it.”
Year after year, God’s faithfulness is revealed through the generosity of friends like you. “Starting around the 1st of November we see people in the community stopping by to donate items off our Thanksgiving wish list,” shares Willie White, who manages the Mission’s Donation Center. “Each day gets a little busier and continues non-stop right up until Thanksgiving Day. It is a blessing to see how the Nashville community comes together to support the homeless.”
Lots of Love
“Thanksgiving is a very special day to me,” shares Darrell, a client in the Mission’s life-recovery program. “There was a time in my life when I had all the things money could buy. I don’t have anything now. I lost my job, my car, my money—I even lost my family. Losing everything put things into perspective for me. Being away from home during Thanksgiving is hard. But there is so much love at the Mission; it is almost like being home.”
“Thanksgiving at the Mission is fun,” says Darrell. “There is a lot of excitement, especially on the day they host the Turkey Fry. It’s really neat to be able to meet some of the celebrities who come and help fry turkeys. I also really appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedules to volunteer at the Mission. It means so much to know they care.”
The Great Thanksgiving Banquet is a campaign by the Nashville Rescue Mission, and more than 300 Rescue Missions nationwide, serving over 500,000 meals to the homeless and hungry. This event represents the largest effort of the year in providing food and life-changing programs to the homeless and hurting in our country.
Your support of the Mission this Thanksgiving and throughout the year improves lives of homeless men, women and children throughout the greater Nashville area.