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The Gift of Giving Back

“Over the years, I can remember making small donations to Nashville Rescue Mission,” recalled Bob Kroemer. “When someone would ask me what I wanted to do in retirement, I would say volunteer at the Mission.”

Bob’s first volunteer experience at the Mission took place on a Sunday evening in March 2013. “I liked it so much; I immediately signed up to serve two Sunday nights a month.” When Bob semi-retired in 2017, he switched to two times a week and started coming during lunch. After seven years of volunteering at the Mission, Bob is still going strong and shows no signs of stopping.

“I started volunteering because I wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives,” shared Bob. “I thought if I could offer a smile, carry a plate, pray with them, give them a meal—anything to lift them up—it just might make a difference.”

“Over the years of volunteering, I’ve seen how the Mission changes people’s lives. I’ve personally witnessed it, been a part of it with God’s help, and have received blessings by doing what God has asked of me.”

“Over the years of volunteering, I’ve seen how the Mission changes people’s lives.”

Bob’s commitment and dedication landed him the “coveted” role of linebacker whenever he’s volunteering in the kitchen. “I am very humbled that Sven, the kitchen manager, trusts me with this responsibility, as I know the detail and requirements are large to keep the line going. In this role, I also work with first-time volunteers to let them know the responsibilities of what they are doing on the line and other rules that are important for safety or efficiency to the food line.”

Bob’s passion for serving is something he’s shared with his son, grandson, church, and pretty much everyone he comes in contact with.

“I keep coming back as I feel it creates a firm foundation and builds trust with those I am trying to help. I want them to feel free to share, pray, and any other help I can provide to them, they know they can freely ask.”

In addition to volunteering, Bob often returns at the end of each month to attend the monthly graduation service. “Most people don’t know about the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. It is an incredible program. Time and time again, I’ve seen the Mission take men and women who are hurting, defeated, or down on their luck—and through this program that offers Christian support, guidance, and care—they walk them through steps to recovery. The end result—now you have someone who is fully recovered, living back in the world, being productive, and knowing how to handle all aspects of their life.”

Bob says if a person comes to volunteer at the Mission, they should be prepared to change. “I’m not sure how anyone could come and not be different when they leave. I encourage others to serve in any capacity they can. Enjoy it, learn from it, and pay it forward.”

For the health and safety of guests, staff, and volunteers, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mission temporarily suspended all volunteering and campus tours. We miss our volunteers and look forward to the day when you may return. If you’d like more information about other ways to support the Mission, visit nashvillerescuemission.org/get-involved

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