SUPPORTER SPOTLIGHT – Interview with Jennifer Ogden, President, and CEO of Civic Engineering and Information Technologies, Inc
How did you first get involved with Nashville Rescue Mission?
After moving our business to downtown Nashville on Lindsley Avenue, we frequently encountered groups of homeless folks who would stand in our parking lot. We wanted to learn the best way to help them. That’s when a police officer shared with me that it wasn’t wise for us to give them money but to direct them to Nashville Rescue Mission instead. He said they would receive food and shelter at the Mission. This didn’t feel like doing enough for us, so we began making donations to the Mission, so we could be a part of helping the people we were sending over.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing the Mission does for the Nashville community?
Nashville Rescue Mission provides so much more than a warm meal and a bed. It provides a way for people to safely support a community in need. If I give a person $5 for lunch, I have no way of guaranteeing that money will not be used to purchase drugs or alcohol. But if I give that same $5 to the Mission, I know it will provide a meal, a trained set of eyes to see that person in need, a place where they’ll be introduced to hope and the word of God, and a safe place to sleep. In my opinion, this helps the community to give safely and for the homeless to be safe while providing both with the hope of a brighter future.
Is there anything about Nashville Rescue Mission you wish others knew?
The Mission’s Life Recovery Program is an amazing secret in this community. I also don’t think enough people realize the number of women and children who walk through the Mission’s doors. Often when one thinks of a homeless person, it is the face of an older man who comes to mind. Not a child getting off the bus with nowhere to go, or the mom of four kids on Christmas Eve, or a pregnant young woman with no family.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about making a gift to the Mission?
I often regret the money spent on material things that seem so important at the moment. But I have never regretted a cent I have given to Nashville Rescue Mission. When I hear the stories of families reunited, sobriety and healing found, and lives transformed by the work of the Mission, I always think about Matthew 25:40.
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
You may never know who you are giving to; you may never know their story, but they are a child of God, and we are called to help them.