When Bonnie heard Martin, a guest of the Mission, singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” in the Mission’s holiday commercial in 2015, it tugged on her heartstrings. So moved by it, Bonnie called the Mission to find out more.
“I spoke with Cheryl Noe, the Mission’s Senior Director of Development,” said Bonnie. “Through that conversation, I learned more about Martin, and I also learned about the Mission’s work with women and children. That touched a nerve with me and I was ready to sign up to help.”
“Whenever someone calls to learn more about us, it’s a great opportunity to tell them about the different programs the Mission offers,” said Cheryl Noe, senior director of development. “You never know what particular area of interest will resonate with someone. In Bonnie’s case I discovered she cared about women and children. This coupled with her experience as the Director of the Vinnie Golf Tournament, I felt certain she would be a great fit for our Hearts of Hope Banquet. I was delighted when she agreed to be on the committee.”
Bonnie got busy making phone calls and coming up with ideas on how to make this event magical. A phone call here, a phone call there … and Bonnie had retailer Marti & Liz on board to donate shoes to all the women who were guests of the Mission that were attending the event.
“Our committee started out with thinking of ways we could provide each of the ladies with a new outfit— collecting clothes was easy,” said Bonnie. “But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to help these women feel good about themselves. I had a light-bulb moment. What about a makeover? I made a few calls to the local beauty schools and several of them were on board and excited to offer haircuts, makeovers, and manicures to these women who have not felt good about themselves in a long time.”
Transformation took place, not just in the women who were being pampered, but in Bonnie’s heart as well. “As we transported the women to the beauty schools, many of them opened up to me. One young lady spoke of a time when she had to eat out of a garbage can. She was abused at an early age. Now she has Christ in her life. When she told me, ‘Ms. Bonnie, you have no idea what this place has done for me’ … I couldn’t hold back the tears.
As with so many volunteers, Bonnie shares the sentiment that in volunteering she has received more than she has given. And the experience hits close to home, as Bonnie’s daughter is a recovering alcoholic. “As a parent, watching your child struggle, especially with addiction is heartbreaking. My daughter has been through seven different rehabs. None of them compare to the programs available through Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission does so much more for those struggling than even the most expensive rehabs.”
“I had no idea that anyone struggling with addiction or life-debilitating issues can come to the Mission,” shared Bonnie. “And it’s free. I find that amazing. As each lady would share her story, I found myself wondering if not for the Mission, where would she go? There’s nothing quite like it. The Mission saves lives.”
Bonnie has faced some of her own struggles in the last year. She’s battled some health issues, as well as reaching an age when many of her friends are passing away. It’s made life all the more precious to her.
Bonnie and her husband have been donating to the Mission for years, but after this experience Bonnie said they have redirected their giving to the Mission and upped it in the process. “What the Mission does matters. I am delighted to be a part of it and am so excited about this year’s Hearts of Hope banquet. In fact, three of the women who sat at my table last year are sponsoring their own tables this year. The more people know about the Mission and what they are doing to change lives, the better. I’m honored to be a heart of hope.”
If you would like to learn how you can get involved with this year’s Third Annual Hearts of Hope Banquet, please email Cheryl Noe.