50 Hours of Hope!

Eben, a volunteer at the Mission, turned 50 this year. Instead of having a party, he wanted to do 50 hours of service at Nashville Rescue Mission.

Eben completed his final hours on November 26, his birthday. He even got friends and family to donate $1,418.00 to the Mission!

 

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A Thanksgiving Full of Hope

This year’s Thanksgiving celebrations were a beautiful example of this community’s generosity.

With your help, we fed 5,000 meals to hungry people in Nashville during the Mission’s two-day Great Thanksgiving Banquet.

We could not have done it without compassionate volunteers and donors.

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Making Memories While Serving Those In Need

Making Memories While Serving Those In Need

For Damon Hininger, volunteering at Nashville Rescue Mission during the Thanksgiving holiday created some meaningful family moments as his wife, children, and in-laws spent the day serving alongside one another.

“This was the first time our family has served together at the Mission,” said Damon. “And it definitely won’t be the last. It was a wonderful day of fellowship in a great environment. We met some amazing people and had lots of warm exchanges with many of those we served. I even had the opportunity to sit down and chat with a few of the guests. My family and I were truly blessed by this volunteering experience.”

As Damon refilled glasses, his kids took turns serving drinks to the homeless men and women who were taking part in the Mission’s annual Great Thanksgiving Day Banquet. “Over the years I’ve had several opportunities to tour the Mission and learn more about what the ministry does in and for the community. This type of work resonates with my family. So I was delighted to have this chance to bring my family to the Mission and give back to those in need.”

With an obvious heart for service, Damon serves on the board of directors for several organizations throughout the community. “I tell my family all the time that we are blessed more than we deserve. I’m constantly asking myself what can we do to give back. I believe it’s important to help those in need, and I feel strongly about leading by example for my children. What better way to do that, than to come together as a family and serve the homeless and hungry.

For ten-year-old twins, Robert and Mildred, volunteering at the Mission was an enlightening and educational experience. “Our trip home included some really interesting and insightful conversations,” shared Damon. “Our kids wanted to know how the men and women got to the Mission. What happened to them that would cause them to lose their home and become homeless? It gave my wife and I the perfect opportunity to explain to them that sometimes there are people in the world who need just a little help. And if it is within our power to help, we should help. I expressed to them that it doesn’t matter if someone has a home or not, we are all equal and we are to treat others with respect and kindness. Definitely some very valuable lessons to learn.”

“My wife’s parents are new to Nashville,” said Damon. “They’ve only lived in the area for two years. I know Steve and Diane treasured this experience as well. They moved here from a rural area where the homeless are not nearly as visible as they are in Nashville. I know volunteering at the Mission was eye-opening for them. But it was also a very special time of serving others that they were able to share with their grandchildren. We were definitely making memories that day.”

According to Damon, the Mission is “filling a gap where there is much need in our community.” In conversations with others who care about the future of our city, he is also quick to tell them that, “they need to visit Nashville Rescue Mission and take a tour. I honestly don’t think enough people know about what the Mission does for this community. You guys are doing some very important work and our city is all the better for it.”

The Mission is thankful for Damon and his family for making us a part of their Thanksgiving holiday.


If you’d like more information on how to get involved, visit nashvillerescuemission.org.

Thanksgiving Hope

Thanksgiving Hope

At Thanksgiving, many across the country will give thanks for another, plentiful year by sharing an abundant dinner with family and friends. But for the homeless, the holidays can be an intense time of stress, struggle, and fear. Bad decisions, tragedy, or a lifetime of abuse have left those struggling with homelessness without a home or family. Leaving many of them wondering if they have anything to be thankful for.

“Thanksgiving is a big deal at the Mission,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission. “We want our homeless neighbors to know their lives matter regardless of their situation or circumstance. We want them to know that good people like you still care. Your support of the Mission gives the men, women, and children we serve meals and shelter, but more importantly—it gives them hope.”

At the Mission, the holiday is celebrated with a traditional Thanksgiving meal much like one you might eat at mom’s house consisting of turkey, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, served with sweet tea, and a slice of pie. The hungry, homeless, and hurting are the guests of honor at this Thanksgiving feast, as volunteers carry their food for them and escort them to their table; while others are refilling glasses of tea and offering hellos and other words of encouragement. It is a day of fellowship as we thank God for His provision.

“No one should go hungry, at Thanksgiving or any other day,” said Cranfield. “Especially in a country as great as ours. And with the support of such a generous community, the Mission is making sure no one in Nashville goes hungry this Thanksgiving. Our doors are open to anyone who is need of help and hope. We welcome them with open arms and are saving a seat for them at the table.”

Lots of families will sit around their dinner table and give thanks to God for the blessings He has given them this Thanksgiving. Good health, jobs, relationships, and even one’s financial situation are often common subjects that come up as families share their prayers around the table. But the prayers here at Nashville Rescue Mission are all but routine.

For example, Andrea, a recent graduate of the Mission’s Life Recovery Program, will be thanking God for a myriad of things. Among those blessings, one will stand out from the rest—reconciliation with her family.

“Nashville Rescue Mission has given me a reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving,” said Andrea. “I was broken, desperate, and on the verge of suicide. The Mission took care of my physical needs making sure I had food to eat, a safe place to sleep, and those things certainly helped. But what made a difference for me was the love, acceptance, encouragement, training, counseling, and education I received while in their program. They gave me hope. They helped me see that my life has purpose and meaning … and that I’m here for a reason. I know I can never repay the Mission but I will never stop thanking God and telling others about how He saved me through the Mission’s program.”

Hope has the power to change lives. The Mission provides a means of hope by giving shelter to the homeless, feeding the poor, inspiring life-long learning, and encouraging a personal relationship with God to everyone we serve. Many come to the Mission’s doors seeking a warm meal, and are greeted with a loving environment, and here they find hope for a brighter future.

“We are so thankful for our donors, volunteers, staff, and everyone who is a part of the Mission family,” said Cranfield. “Each plays a significant role in making our ministry possible. In some cases, our ministry to those in need starts with a meal … and sometimes that meal is the one served at Thanksgiving. This meal might do more than ease an empty stomach. It might also open the door to other Mission services like job training, counseling, recovery programs … and for our guests, it’s often the start of a new and better life.”

Andrea is just one of the thousands of people your support allows the Mission to serve. She is a great example of how a meal, a piece of clothing, a coat, a pair of shoes … goes a long way in opening a heart and preparing a mind for the life transformation that awaits them if they are willing to take that next step, like Andrea did.

“At Nashville Rescue Mission, we give the hopeless safe shelter, a hot meal and people to share it with, and a reason to truly be thankful,” said Cranfield. “We believe that no one should be without on Thanksgiving. Jesus said, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Thank you for giving hope.”

MIMW- Mayor Megan Barry

MIMW- Mayor Megan Barry

I love Thanksgiving! And Nashville Rescue Mission’s Great Thanksgiving Banquet has quickly become one of my favorite holiday traditions as Mayor. It is a reminder of the spirit of volunteerism, sense of community, and resilience that make Nashville so special year-round.

It is an honor to be able to support Nashville Rescue Mission’s staff and incredible team of volunteers in their mission to provide hope to the citizens of Nashville. The Mission’s success at serving our city’s homeless population is due to its 365-day-a-year dedication to helping the community through both the emergency services of housing and meals and its innovative longer-term programs.

As Nashville changes, the presence of organizations like the Mission becomes ever more important. And we know one thing that never will change is our friendly spirit and the hospitality of Nashvillians. When you help the Mission, it means that more men and women can leave homelessness behind and benefit from our city’s prosperity. When one more citizen is able to better their life, it has a positive ripple effect on our community as a whole. It means Nashville is a safer, healthier, and happier place, where more people are certain where their next meal will come from and more people can secure full-time employment. In a true community, all citizens will have the chance to prosper, and the work of the Mission embodies this idea.

Working alongside volunteers, Mission staff, and individuals dedicated to bettering their lives, I am reminded that making Nashville a great place to live is truly a community effort. Nashville is a place where neighbors will go out of their way to help all their neighbors, not because it is easy, but because they understand its importance. The Mission offers a place where our community comes together and makes a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals— whether it is just one meal or weeks of career training. At some point in their life, everyone will need the help, belief, or encouragement of someone else in order to achieve their highest potential. Nashville Rescue Mission provides this crucial support to empower individuals to overcome the challenge of homelessness and, in turn, achieve their highest potential.

I’d like to thank all staff and volunteers of Nashville Rescue Mission for embodying the spirit of volunteerism that helps tear down walls and build connections across our community. Your work makes a difference not just in bettering the lives of the individuals you serve, but in bettering all of Nashville.

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving, I’m very thankful for what you do for the people of our city.


Megan Barry is the seventh mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, a post she has held since 2015. She is the first woman to hold the post, and the first Metro mayor to have previously served on the Nashville-Davidson Metropolitan Council.