Mission in My Words
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and there is no better place to reflect on gratitude than at the annual “Great Thanksgiving Banquet” hosted by the Nashville Rescue Mission. As Nashville’s Mayor, I have had the privilege of joining dozens of volunteers to serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal to homeless men, women and children in our community. I enjoy meeting those who come for meals, shaking their hands and hearing their stories. It is truly an incredible feast and an extremely rewarding experience. I look forward to serving meals again this year.
There is something very moving about seeing families and friends come together to serve the homeless and hungry in our city. These volunteers serve out of kindness and compassion, never expecting anything in return. The abundant generosity of our community constantly amazes me. It reminds me of why Tennessee is nicknamed the Volunteer State. Our citizens are just naturally willing to help others.
The Mission plays an important role in our community, providing nearly 700,000 meals to the homeless each year. More than 5,000 of these meals are served over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday. The full impact of the Mission’s work to help improve the lives of the homeless in Middle Tennessee is impossible to measure, and I am grateful for the work they do. They do it for free and without any financial help from the government. They are able to provide these services because of the kindness and generosity of donors like you who support their efforts.
Not only does the Nashville Rescue Mission provide food, clothing and shelter to the homeless in our city, they also offer a life-recovery program at no charge to participants. The 12-month program provides men and women who struggle with addiction or suffer from other life-debilitating issues an opportunity for hope and healing. I have spoken several times at the Mission’s life-recovery graduation, which takes place the same day we serve Thanksgiving meals, and I am moved by the stories of transformation every time. The Mission’s program is changing lives for the better.
When change happens in the lives of our citizens, communities become stronger. Change like this is only made possible by the courage of the participants and the generosity of volunteers and donors. I am very proud of the people of Nashville and their volunteer spirit. We saw that spirit shine through in a big way during the historic May 2010 floods, and I see it every time I visit the Nashville Rescue Mission. I’m proud to call this city home. I’m also proud of the Mission and its efforts to transform lives. Nashville is a better place because of the positive impact their work has on our great city. I am appreciative of the work of the leaders and volunteers at the Mission and wish them all a wonderful Thanksgiving season.