Saving Lives This Winter

Treasures of Wisdom: Letter from the Mission

For the homeless and broken that enter the doors of the Nashville Rescue Mission, there are hidden treasures awaiting them. Most people who come to the Mission do so in search of food, clothing and shelter. Because of faithful supporters like you, we are able to meet these most basic needs.

As you’ll read in this month’s newsletter, many will also take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at the Mission, such as studying for and taking their GED. It is through expanding their education and increasing their employability that many new doors are opened to the men and women who obtain their GED, as well as their confidence while at the Mission.

However, what many of the homeless and downtrodden do not realize is there is something much more fulfilling awaiting them beyond those doors. Not only do we strive to meet their physical needs, but we hope in doing so, we gain the opportunity to share with them something that will satisfy their spiritual needs—the love of Jesus Christ.

With a solid biblical foundation, our goal is to provide a structured, Christ-centered environment helping individuals change their lives by dealing with their addictions, learning Christian principles and improving their relational skills. Our program consists of counseling, Bible studies and work therapy. Upon completion, graduates have the tools to rebuild their lives, hold a job and re-enter society as a contributing member to our local community.

Lives are transformed. The wisdom these men and women gain as a result of their encounter with Christ is a priceless treasure; worth far more than anything we could ever teach them. It is because of your support these things are possible. You indeed are helping to change lives in our community. Thank you for your faithful friendship.

Don Worrell

Back to School Secret

New Homeless Back-to-School Problem

Five-year-old Angela will get ready for kindergarten every weekday morning this fall, just like any other student. But, unlike most of her peers, she will be getting ready at the Mission’s Family Life Center.

A National Crisis

In March, a report by the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) estimated one in 50 American children is homeless. The National Alliance to End Homelessness predicts up to 3.4 million Americans will become homeless in 2009—a 35 percent increase since the recession began in December 2007—with most of those displaced being families.

Barbara Duffield, Policy Director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, says the number of students without a permanent address has increased dramatically during the 2008-09 school year. “Over the last two years we’ve seen the numbers just skyrocket,” she says.

Homeless Kids in Tennessee

The numbers of homeless children residing in Tennessee are growing every year. “There’s a hidden homeless population,” says Rachel Woods with the Tennessee Department of Education. “Stereo-typically, we think homeless means someone who is physically walking the streets. But for families who lose their homes, or their apartments, who might live in their car for awhile, or move in with a relative or friend and be sleeping on a sofa or in a spare bedroom, they too are considered homeless.”

The numbers of homeless children receiving help from the Nashville Rescue Mission’s Family Life Center has increased dramatically. In the first half of 2009, the Mission averaged 18 children a night. However, some nights there were as many as 29 children.

“Home, if we were fortunate, is a place that provides stability, it’s a place to feel safe,” said Mary Crutcher, Director of the Family Life Center. “When a child is missing that element, there are lots of things that can transpire—fearfulness and behaviors that are associated with that.”

Unpacking the Backpacks

Starting school is intimidating, but it is especially hard for children without permanent homes. The Mission has a fund set up for school supplies. The fund is used so children can pick out a pair of shoes and choose their own backpacks, already filled with the necessary supplies.

We can’t offer all of these basic items without your help. Most backpacks are donated and filled with supplies given by you and other generous donors.

These things make a difference. “It makes their transition a little easier,” says Crutcher. “Just knowing someone cares is comforting. You should see the look on the faces of these kids when they get their backpacks. They are so happy.”

When kids stay at the Family Life Center, Crutcher said, we make sure they have transportation, school supplies and clothing that doesn’t identify them as homeless. “It’s our aim to make sure they aren’t singled out as homeless,” she said. “In fact, we don’t want the school bus pulling up to the shelter at the beginning and end of every day; then every kid on that bus identifies them as homeless. Instead they are picked up on the corner with careful supervision.”

So this year, when you’re checking off your back-to-school list, please consider these children and grab an extra folder, pack of paper or backpack and donate it to the Mission. It may seem like a small thing, but it will help these kids feel more secure as they head back to school.

Thirsty for more than just water: Letter from the Mission

Cold winters can be hard on the homeless, but "record heat" is life-threatening. According to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” basic human needs can be defined as air, water, food, sleep and shelter. While most of us have air conditioners, this isn’t on the list of basic needs. For the homeless, there is no such luxury. In fact, most homeless don’t even have their basic needs met.

Instead, they are forced to seek out temporary respite from the heat anywhere they can find it. In most cases, they are turned away from stores and other public places. Many find themselves sitting under interstate overpasses in an effort to escape the heat.

Because of your support we can offer the homeless an alternative. We provide food, water, clothing, toiletries, showers and shelter to Nashville’s neediest. But more than that, we can offer them “living water”—water that quenches their thirst for hope.

Your generosity makes it possible for hurting men, women and children to be clothed, have a safe place to sleep and not go hungry. There are many factors that delivered a person to the streets. A relationship with Jesus Christ is the way off of them.

In an effort to increase awareness of the homelessness situation in our community, we’ve included a special postcard for you to send to a neighbor, friend or family member. Working together, we can inform people about the seriousness of homelessness, especially during these hot summer days.

From volunteering to donating to spreading the word about the poor and homeless in our community, your support is invaluable. After all, it is through your friendship the Nashville Rescue Mission exists as a beacon, ready to help the least, last and lost of Middle Tennessee.

Don Worrell

7-Year Old Helps Hydrate the Homeless

With temperatures already in the 90s, it looks like summer has arrived in Nashville.

Every summer the Nashville Rescue Mission gives away thousands of bottles of water to homeless men, women and children who are facing another hot season.

This year, 7-year-old Jacob Head is challenging people in the community to get out and help Nashville’s homeless with much needed water.

For the last two years, Jacob, from Westmoreland, TN, has collected blankets, hats, scarves and gloves for Nashville’s homeless donating more than 140 sets this past winter.

But this summer, as the temperatures rise, Jacob says the homeless need just as much help staying cool.

"Ever since it started to get warmer Jacob has been saying momma we need to get water, so he did," said Felicia Head, Jacob’s mother.

 Jacob says he pulled out the phone book and started calling people asking for bottle water donations. With the help of the community and his family he was able to deliver more than 1,200 bottles to the Nashville Rescue Mission.

“Jacob truly has a heart for helping the homeless,” said Cliff Tredway, Director of PR and Marketing for the Mission. “In fact, on Friday, June 26, Jacob came to the Mission to join the ‘Hot Patrol’ team in handing out water to the homeless. It’s amazing to see this level of compassion from a boy his age.”

“After we donated the water, Jacob kept asking me if he could come and help hand the water out,” said mom Felicia. “I think he really wanted to see the faces of the men, women and children he’s helping. I knew if he had the chance to do this, it would make a huge impact on him. I’m just so proud of him.”

But it doesn’t stop there, Jacob is challenging everyone in the community to make phone calls and bring in even more bottled water to help hydrate the homeless. If you’d like to donate water, the Mission’s Donation Center is located at 616 7th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203 and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm for your convenience.

Can’t Stand the Heat

Sun packs its own misery for those on the street

While most people are looking forward to the sunny days of summer, those living on the streets are just waiting for the sun to set. Homeless people are often deemed unwelcome in the cool comfort of malls, libraries and other public facilities, therefore they often roam the streets, looking for an escape from the heat.

Often the only escape they can find is under a hot interstate overpass where the exhaust fumes from the cars driving by hardly makes it worthwhile.

“In the summertime, you roast out here. You’ve got to find a cool place in the shade somewhere if you want to survive,” says Larry, a homeless man living on the streets of Nashville.

“If you have a place to cool off, summer is great,” says Ed Grimes, Director of Transient Operations for the Nashville Rescue Mission. “But for those forced to live among the elements, the hot weather can be fatal. The Mission provides the homeless with a place out of the sun and food to eat. We also keep plenty of water on hand for those in need.”

Efforts to help homeless beat heat

If last year is any indication, Nashville may be in for a very hot summer. In 2008, Nashville’s summer months saw an average high of 89 degrees with more than 46 days with temperatures well above 90 degrees.

When the forecast shows temperatures above 90, the Mission’s “Hot Patrol” hits the streets. “As a way to provide relief from the summer heat, we send out a group of people to patrol the streets of Nashville offering bottled water to our city’s homeless,” says Grimes.

During the summer months, everyone is trying to beat the heat. With temperatures likely to be extreme, Grimes says giving bottled water to those in need is both thoughtful and necessary because it could prevent dehydration and possible illness.

Your support changes lives

“When it’s a sunny day out, remember there are still people living on the streets,” Grimes said. “You figure how hot it is for us, and we are usually just dashing into our vehicles and into the store, in and out of air conditioning,” says Grimes. “Imagine what it’s like living out in the heat.”

As a faithful supporter of the Nashville Rescue Mission, we hope you realize how critical your support is to the homeless and hurting in the Nashville area. Through your support, the Mission can provide food, clothing and shelter to our needy neighbors. You help provide these men, women and children an escape from the intense heat. Because of you, they have a place to go, food to eat, clothes to wear, a safe place to sleep and a bottle of cold water.

Next time you’re sweltering as you briefly tolerate the heat dashing between your air-conditioned workplace, car and couch, pray for those without air conditioning, a home or any shelter at all, and realize you are helping to make a difference in their lives. More than that, your support of the Mission offers them a place they will soon find out has a message of hope powerful enough to get them off the streets for good.

School’s Out for the Summer: Letter from the Mission

God has blessed my wife and I with some really wonderful grandkids. Currently, we have 4 grandchildren with 3 more on the way. We always look forward to spending time with them during the summer. In July of each year we plan a big family vacation. It’s a lot of fun deciding where to go and we truly enjoy the time we get to spend together as a family.

One of my favorite summer vacation memories was the time we took everyone to St. Louis, Missouri. The highlight of the trip was the day we spent at Six Flags. I can’t tell you how much it blessed me to see those kids laugh, smile and have fun.

I suppose you could say my grandkids are truly blessed. Not every family can afford to take a summer vacation. In fact, for the homeless, there is no summer vacation.
The children living at the Family Life Center and Hope Center have a different kind of summer. Instead of planning where to go for their vacation, they are concerned with where they will sleep. Or where they will have their next meal. And on days when it’s so hot outside, where can they find a cool place in the shade.

It’s not the kind of summer most of us experienced. As a kid, I remember spending summers playing outside and taking family vacations. I had no worries. All my needs were provided for. This is simply not the case for the homeless kids living in our community.

While the Nashville Rescue Mission can’t provide the homeless with a summer vacation, we are able to provide them with a safe place to sleep, nutritious food to eat and clothing that will keep them comfortable in the heat.

However, we could not do this without your help. Thank you for caring for the homeless in our community. You are truly a blessing.

Don Worrell

Mayor Recognizes Mission’s 55th

Mayor Karl Dean recently recognized the Nashville Rescue Mission’s 55th anniversary through an official proclamation: “I can’t imagine what our city would be like without the services offered by the Nashville Rescue Mission.” As a volunteer, the Mayor knows first hand the impact the Rescue Mission has on the community. He shared his thoughts while filming a public service announcement that aired on local television stations around Easter.

Visit our Web site,, to watch the Mayor’s commercials and discover opportunities where you can plug in and make a difference for someone in need.

Thank You: Letter From The Mission

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Matthew 10:42 NIV

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is the time of year when family and friends gather to give thanks for their blessings over the past year.

It is also a very busy time at the Mission, as we will serve over 3,000 meals to hungry men, women and children in our community during our Great Thanksgiving Banquet. Each of those meals will be prepared and served by volunteers, who are filled with love for the Lord and a desire to serve others.

I am extremely thankful for the amazing volunteers we have at the Nashville Rescue Mission. As the Director of Volunteers, I have the privilege of working with people like you, who truly have a heart for the men, women and children at the Mission. We couldn’t do what we do without faithful friends like you.

While our need for volunteers is constant, we also have the blessing of seeing many of our volunteers return year after year to help us bring a traditional Thanksgiving meal, even grandma would be proud of, to the homeless in Middle Tennessee.

I am inspired by the willingness of our volunteers to give so freely of their time and talents without expecting anything in return. I love seeing families and friends come together to serve a meal, carry a tray or simply ask if someone needs a glass of water during our Great Thanksgiving Banquet. It is in the midst of this celebration I see our volunteers becoming the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.

This celebration would not be possible without the valuable contributions donors and supporters like you make to the Mission. It is your continuous commitment to providing support to the “least of these” for which we at the Nashville Rescue Mission are so thankful.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and know you have truly made a positive difference this year.

Bobby Nichols
Director of Volunteers

Mayor Karl Dean: Mission in my Words

The Mission In My Words

The Nashville Rescue Mission provides a remarkable service to the city of Nashville. Every day they are working diligently to improve the lives of hungry and homeless men, women and children in Middle Tennessee.

As the Mayor of Nashville, and someone who has volunteered at the Mission, I have firsthand knowledge of the work that goes on at the Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission is a beacon of hope to the homeless in our city, providing them with food, clothing and shelter. And to think, they do all of this without receiving any kind of government assistance. The Mission raises private funds for all the vital services they provide to the homeless of Middle Tennessee.

I’m very proud to support a work that helps so many members of our city who are in need and makes a crucial impact on the welfare and livability of our entire community. The Nashville Rescue Mission is making a difference and transforming lives.

Last year, the Mission served over a half a million meals. I’m grateful to have been a small part of this process.  I’m also looking forward to celebrating the holiday season at the Mission this year.

Thousands of meals will be served during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but the significance of this tradition goes well beyond the food served. Volunteers will be there making sure those often considered last will be abundantly served with not only a good meal, but with kindness and hope.

I can’t imagine what Nashville would be like without the services provided by the Mission. Since 1954, they’ve been helping our great city by providing food and shelter to the homeless and hungry at absolutely no taxpayer expense. I support the Nashville Rescue Mission and know their efforts on behalf of the poor and hurting of our community serve as an example for all of us and ultimately makes Nashville a great place to call home.