It was 1996 and I was attending school at Grassland Elementary. Tornadoes hit our area pretty hard. Burdened with the desire to help those in need, I started a canned food drive. I wanted to help and that was one way I knew how.
Volunteering is something my parents deeply value, and I’m grateful they have instilled that desire in me from an early age. My dad is a Hospitality Minister, so between church and school there were lots of opportunities to give back. As a family we worked on a Habitat for Humanity house. Our church hosted Room In The Inn. We were always looking for opportunities to serve.
I firmly believe where it says in Luke, Chapter 12, verse 48 that “to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” I am so blessed. I feel a responsibility to help others.
After being crowned Miss Tennessee USA, one of my first appearances was at the Tracy Lawrence Turkey Fry at the Mission. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go to the Mission and learn more about their incredible programs and facilities.
After that experience, I knew I wanted to get more involved. I have learned so much. For anyone experiencing adversity in his or her life, the Mission has an open door. Not only do they help with food, shelter, clothing … they also teach job skills, accountability, financial planning … all with an emphasis on putting Christ first.
Recently, the Mission hosted their annual Hearts of Hope luncheon to honor the women who are temporarily staying at the Mission. With the help of Fabrik, one of my generous sponsors, we hosted a clothing drive and filled at least two cars full of beautiful new clothes for the ladies to shop from during the week of pampering leading up to the event.
As Miss Tennessee USA, I am not required to have a designated charity. Which means I can support whatever organizations mean the most to me. Nashville Rescue Mission means a lot to me, and I consider it an honor and a blessing to be a part of their family. If you have never visited the Mission—I urge you to take a tour, or go serve a meal. If you are in a position to help, you should. Whether that’s donating your time, services, funding … someone there desperately needs your help. It doesn’t take a lot. Every little bit matters.
You will be blessed beyond what you can bless others. That is a guaranteed promise. I hope to see you there.
Allee-Sutton Hethcoat, Miss Tennessee USA 2017, is a 25-year-old law student, actress, and model.
The Franklin native and Belmont University alumna recently starred in the faith-based film “Remember the Goal.” She’s in her final year of law school and looks forward to representing Tennessee at the Miss USA 2017 pageant.