Every day, homeless men, women and children walk through the doors of the Nashville Rescue Mission, longing for hope and help with the many challenges life has thrown their way. The Mission provides them with safe, warm beds, much needed clothing and hot nutritious meals. But that’s not all they will receive.
“The basic essentials are vital to our guests,” said Sam Hollis, Director of Guest Services. “But often the needs of those we serve run much deeper. This is especially true of the men and women who might be struggling with addictive behaviors, the results of poor decisions, the pain of strained relationships or other situations that have left their lives in complete shambles and caused them to be burdened with guilt or self-loathing.”
“Ultimately, we want our guests to know Jesus rose again and our sins can be forgiven. As the Kitchen Manager it’s my goal to provide our guests with a good meal. If he or she has a full stomach they’ll be more receptive to God’s word.” – Tony
“When Christ suffered on the cross, our wounds were healed and our sins were forgiven. This is the message of redemption we share every day with the men and women who come through our doors feeling hopeless and ashamed,” Hollis said. “We help them understand that with Christ in their hearts, they can begin their lives anew.”
Easter—More Than Eggs
While the Mission is known for its banquets to the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas, what many do not know is this same effort is put forth in serving guests on Easter.
“If this Mission were a holiday, it would most definitely be Easter!” exclaims President and CEO, Don Worrell. “The message of Easter is one of hope and new beginnings. For those who celebrate the Christian faith, Easter is the most significant of holidays. But for some, Easter is just another sad day without enough food, money and no place to live. All you have to do is look around the streets of Nashville, there are homeless people walking all around us. It is our prayer they will find their way to the Nashville Rescue Mission.”
For people who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, they need help and they need hope. The Easter season offers the hope of redemption to those who believe. When a guest enters the dining room at the Mission on Easter, they don’t stand in line to receive a bowl of soup. Instead they are seated by a volunteer maitre d’ and served a full plate of warm holiday food. Perhaps for the first time in their life, this man, woman or child may feel like they are worth something. “We want them to see the inherit dignity of human life and that they are created in God’s image,” said Worrell.
“I had no place to go, no one wanted me. But the Mission took me in and showed me the love of Christ. He changed me and I have been made new.”
Not Just A Meal
At the Nashville Rescue Mission—there’s no such thing as “just a meal.” Sure, a meal, by itself doesn’t change anything, but it can be the start of a change God wants to make in that person’s life. “We have seen guests stumble in drunk and decide that very day to enter our life-recovery program,” shares Hollis. “We’ve seen the difference it can make in a person’s life when they’re treated with such love.”
The traditional Easter themes of sin and forgiveness, hopelessness and hope, and the promise of life after death—are especially relevant for a man who found faith after losing everything else, for a woman trying to pick up the pieces after her husband’s devastating injury, for someone who watched a friend die or a leader whose time-honored tradition is embracing a new direction.
At the Nashville Rescue Mission, we share the good news that Christ is risen, and He offers new beginnings to those who have given up on life…new courage to those who are paralyzed by fear…new life to those who live at death’s door on the streets.
If you’d like to be a part of sharing this good news with those in need, please call our volunteer hotline: (615) 312-1544 or visit our volunteer page.