Soles + Souls

On Tuesday, October 11, team members of Soles4Souls, a non-profit that fights poverty by providing shoes and clothing to those in need, joined hands with Nashville Rescue Mission to give men at our facility brand new shoes. Rockport donated hundreds of shoes that were distributed to our guests and program participants to kick off Soles4Souls annual #BarefootWeek.

Man after man filed through our chapel to be fitted and to shop for their new pair of shoes. They all had the freedom to choose the new shoes they wished to wear.

Each man may have walked in excited for the experience, but every man walked out with a smile on his face.

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One program participant, Rick, received new shoes lined with his favorite color, University of Tennessee orange. “These are going to be my new cleaning shoes!” Rick said in excitement.

 

Kenneth (below) chose his new “fresh pair” of kicks from the pile, smiling with gratefulness the entire time.

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One gentleman looked up as he rolled his wheelchair out of the room and said,

“Thank you. I can’t remember the last time I received a new pair of shoes.”

 

Jesus calls us to love one another. He calls us to give to the poor.

He calls us to lay it all down for Him, and at the end of the day, we are all souls who need love from other souls. What a privilege it is to bless others! We send such a big thanks to Soles4Souls for the blessings they provide to so many.

 

Spreading Thankfulness

Spreading Thankfulness

It started with an envelope. “My momma only gave to two organizations—one of them was Nashville Rescue Mission,” said Kristy.

“Growing up, I remember seeing the envelopes. I asked her about them a couple of times … but she never said much about what they were.”

Kristy’s mom took Matthew 6:1-4 to heart. “She was never one to brag or tell others about who she gave to or how much she gave. My mom was faithful and loyal in giving. For years her act of service was supporting the Mission financially.”

“I guess that’s why it meant so much when she started going with me to serve at the Mission all these years later,” recalled Kristy.

“I wasn’t used to seeing her on the front lines. I heard a lot of talk about giving and tithing as a kid, but I never saw it lived out. As an adult, I felt it was important to put my faith in action and instill this same value of serving in my kids.”

As a mom of five, Kristy worked hard to remind them that “to have a friend is to be a friend” and to follow the Golden Rule of treating people the way you would want to be treated. An opportunity to put her faith into action came during her first time volunteering at the Mission. “I served dinner with my church. That experience changed me—I just had to share it with my family and my friends. It was all I could talk about.”

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“I’ll never forget the first time my momma went with me,” said Kristy. “It was hard on her seeing so many people in need. They moved her to the end of the serving line because all she could do was cry. Then she met Miss Maple. Once these two ladies started serving alongside each other, my momma didn’t just shine Jesus … she ignited Jesus. Now that she’s gone, this is a memory I will treasure forever.”

Kristy’s mom passed away two years ago following complications from a surgery to remove a tumor.

“Volunteering during Thanksgiving last year was hard, but I did it to honor her memory. We had some wonderful times serving together.”

Honoring her mom meant carrying on the tradition of ‘shining Jesus.’ “There are so many broken people in this world,” said Kristy. “Many of them are staying at the Mission. I suspect they don’t hear loving words very often. God put it on my heart to be a friend to those in need. If I can bring someone hope or love for even five seconds, five minutes, or an hour … count me in.”

“I’m in awe watching Kristy serve our guests,” said Joy Plank, director of volunteer services. “She makes eye contact with each person. She flashes them a huge smile. She gives them a gentle touch—either by placing her hand on their shoulder or shaking their hand. She makes a genuine effort to connect with each guest and to treat him or her with respect and dignity. The value of that is priceless.”

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday for Kristy and her family. It is the one time of year when her entire family comes together. It is a day filled with love, laughter, and thankfulness. “Each year my momma would ask us to write down what we were thankful for on a paper tablecloth she would put down,” recalled Kristy. “Then during dinner we’d go around the table and read what each person wrote. It was a great reminder of our many blessings.”

“This year we are going to have some new traditions,” shared Kristy. “One is going to the Mission to spread thankfulness. Last year was the first Thanksgiving without my mom. It was tough … but being at the Mission helped me through it. I also think this year we’ll bring back the tablecloth—but instead of paper, we’ll write it on a cloth we can keep to remind us of all our blessings.”


 

Mission in My Words—Beth Harwell

Mission in My Words—Beth Harwell

Over the years, my family has always been aware of Nashville Rescue Mission. But to understand their true impact on our community—you must see it for yourself.

Two years ago, my family took what the Mission calls their “I Had No Idea” tour. And they are right—at the end of the tour we found ourselves saying, “I had no idea the Mission did this.” Needless to say, their breadth of services blew us away.

The Mission does more than provide a warm bed, or a hot meal, or addiction services. They do all these things, while also sharing the love of Jesus Christ. Each person’s needs are different, and addressing those individually is the way they change lives. I find their approach inspiring. Supporting an organization with that mission is a no-brainer.

Over the years the Mission has helped change my perception of homelessness and addiction, as well as the perception of the community at large. Working with and supporting the Mission changes the way you think about approaching these issues. My involvement with them has made me a better legislator. The state has made big strides in how we address this on a state level, committing funding to mental health and addiction treatment services, and implementing specialty drug courts, which have been successful. All of these things, coupled with the work of the Mission, will have a positive and lasting impact on our community.

We are so fortunate to have this unique non-profit right here in Nashville. It means a lot to me to see the work they do with women, particularly victims of domestic violence. Providing that safe shelter for a woman in need is crucial. In addition, the Mission helps each man or woman who walks through their doors by developing a personal plan for them to improve their situation—it might include coaching, employment, addiction treatment, or providing a safe place for their children. No two cases are the same, and they recognize this and work to address each person’s needs.

In a word, Nashville Rescue Mission is—hope. It drives everything they do—and that changes lives. It means hope for people in our community who feel hopeless; it means hope for those who never thought they could break free from addiction; and it means hope for the community that an organization out there is serving this population. Hope is a powerful thing that should not be underestimated, and the Mission gives people that blessing each day.

There are always going to be people out there who are in desperate need of the Mission’s services. It’s been said that a rising tide lifts all boats—so when we support organizations such as Nashville Rescue Mission, we help not only the individuals that walk through the door, but our support also benefits the entire community.


 

Beth Harwell currently serves as Speaker of the House, a position to which she was elected by her House colleagues. She is the first female Speaker in both Tennessee and the entire Southeast. Harwell represents State House District 56, which includes a part of Davidson County.

Costumes for Kiddos

Costumes for Kiddos

When Paula Kolish moved to Nashville from Pennsylvania, she packed up boxes of her family’s possessions, including old Halloween costumes. Like most of us, Paula held onto her children’s costumes because they were memories that she was hesitant to toss with the trash. When organizing the closet in her new Nashville home, Paula came up with a thought—what if she were to donate her costumes to a local homeless shelter for children that might not have the blessing of a Halloween costume?

As a teacher, Paula is always looking for ways to be connected to children. “I knew that the homeless shelters were meeting their basic needs, and that Halloween costumes might not be a resource they were offered, so I started researching shelters in the Nashville area that served children and found Nashville Rescue Mission,” said Paula.

Paula took a tour of the Mission and decided that she would donate her family’s costumes, and perhaps get a few of her friends involved in donating theirs.

 

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And that is when God showed up and Costumes for Kiddos was born. Because the project began to generate so much buzz, Paula created a Facebook page so that others could have a way to get behind it. In 2015, Paula secured six local costume shop locations to host a bin for costume collections. With the help of her friends and neighbor Stephanie Kauffman, Paula received 400 costumes from those six bins! The week before Halloween, she created a costume store at our women’s facility so that children could individually pick out their costume. Each child had the option of attending our Trunk or Treat event in their curated costume.

Jump forward a bit and this year Paula has a goal of 600 costumes and has drop-off bins at 15 locations!

Paula’s reasoning for continuing the project is simple, “For kids, picking out a Halloween costume is a big deal.”

It is a time when children can be whoever and whatever they want, use their creativity, eat buckets of candy, and experience the magic of childhood.

 


Do you want to donate a costume to Costumes for Kiddos? Check out the donation sites below!

Hendersonville:
Ultimate Party Superstore, Hendersonville Public Library, American Academy of Dance, & Indian Lake Peninsula Church WEE

Madison:
Halloween Express

Nashville:
Performance Studios, Nashville Bounce U, East Park Community Center

Brentwood:
The Monkey’s Treehouse