The Power of Thanskgiving

The Power of Thanskgiving

Every year, millions of American families get together for Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday thats purpose is about giving thanks for the good things in life and spending time with the ones you love.

But what about the man who is homeless this Thanksgiving? Or the mom with two small children and nowhere to go? Is there anything worth being thankful for this holiday season?


With your help, this Thanksgiving can be different for countless hungry and homeless men, women, and children in the Nashville community as their lives are touched through the Mission’s Annual Great Thanksgiving Banquet. While there are many without homes to go to, there is a place where the door is always open—Nashville Rescue Mission.

And if you ask, many of the guests staying at the Mission will tell you, there are many reasons to be thankful. Despite being homeless, they have learned there is power in a thankful heart.

“It is not always easy to give thanks, but it’s the very thing we must do, to see God’s will accomplished in our lives,” said Jerry, who’s been staying at the Mission this past year. “I’ve got a lot of health problems. It would be easy to think ‘woe is me,’ but I’m grateful, I’m looking forward to enjoying the Thanksgiving feast at the Mission. I hear it’s amazing.”

When it comes to a sizable guest list for Thanksgiving dinner, the Mission outnumbers even the biggest of families. With your help, over 6,000 meals will be served this Thanksgiving to the homeless in Nashville. Volunteers will arrive as early as 4:00 a.m. to start preparing for the day’s meals. Every turkey must be carved, every potato chopped, every pie sliced. So much time and preparation goes into preparing and serving this extra-special meal. While the Mission focuses on providing those in need with food to nourish their bodies, with your support, the Mission also provides the spiritual guidance they need to nourish their souls.

“I recently completed the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. I found a job, and for the first time, I’m learning how to save money,” said Chris. “I’ve learned life skills and work skills that are preparing me for my future. I’m thankful for the Mission, and the support friends like you give to make this place a reality.”

It’s hard to imagine how men and women who are in the deepest and darkest time of their lives can find something to be thankful for. Yet, gratitude seems to be the antidote to life’s hardships and a magnifier of its blessings. Many of the men and women at the Mission demonstrate on a daily basis that having an attitude of gratitude expands their capacity to feel joy. It’s not something that is felt only in good times, but is something practiced at all times.

“When we choose to see life through the eyes of gratitude, it changes everything. Especially each of us,” said Amy, who has only been staying at the Mission for a couple of months. “I find something to be thankful for every day.”

“The translation of the word thanksgiving is ‘good grace’ in the New Testament’s original language,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of the Mission. “When we are thankful, we are remembering the One who owes us nothing, but gives us all. Isn’t that the very nature of grace—receiving what we do not deserve? Watching a guest who has seemingly lost everything, lift their hands in praise during a nightly chapel service is humbling. I’m so thankful for you and other faithful friends who support us. It’s because of you, those in need can find a safe sanctuary, a hot, nutritious meal, a shower, clean clothes, and a place where hope lives.”


I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving this year,” said Lisa. For her, being homeless on Thanksgiving had only welled up feelings of guilt and shame. But this year she’s excited to graduate from the program the day before Thanksgiving and is especially thankful for all she has learned during her recovery.

“It’s not just about serving them a traditional Thanksgiving meal,” says Cranfield. “The meal might be the first step in reaching a man or woman struggling with homelessness or in the grip of addiction and guiding them down a new path. It’s an opportunity to show them there is hope. And because of you, Hope Lives Here.”

Lots of Flour and a Dash of Love

Lots of Flour and a Dash of Love

Twice a month, Karen Flowers walks into the kitchen at the Mission’s Men’s Campus and says, “Is the broth ready?”

Then she and her team of volunteers wash up, don aprons and hairnets, and pull around a giant cart of flour. They mix flour, seasoning, and a few other ingredients in the largest bowls they can find. They mix well and then cut the dough into strips, carefully dropping into the steaming vat of broth. They’re making dumplings­–55 gallons of them.

Fondly dubbed “The Dumpling Lady,” Karen never really planned to roll hundreds of her family’s favorite dumplings in an industrial rescue mission kitchen. It just…happened. “I was there volunteering one day when Sven, the Kitchen Manager, asked if anyone knew how to make dumplings. I didn’t respond because I figured someone else would know better. But my friend Joy volunteered me. So I went over and made dumplings. And I’ve done it ever since.”

For the past six years, Karen has served in the kitchen. She never would have imagined that a recipe her mother taught her would touch so many. “She’d be proud to know that her legacy is living on in this way,” Karen shares. “We put a dash of love in each batch. It’s our secret ingredient!

Beyond feeding hungry stomachs, these dumplings are the gateway to a conversation. Many of the men return to the serving line after eating and ask who handmade them. “They tell me that my dumplings remind them of recipes from their mothers or grandmothers,” Karen says. “’I haven’t had dumplings since my grandmother made them when I was a child,’ one man recently told me. In these moments, I am touched.”

Moments like those remind Karen and her fellow volunteers that the individuals they serve are not so different than them. They have families, they grew up somewhere, and they may have had similar struggles. Some of the conversations Karen has with the men have her flashbacking to her own childhood. “I grew up on a farm with six siblings. We were poor, but we didn’t know it. We always had food and we always had clothes. By the grace of God we were always provided for. These men didn’t ask to be in this position. I could be just like them if my circumstances had been slightly different.”

Karen’s heart of service touches hundreds each time she is in our kitchen. Her cooking skills directly impact the lives of the homeless population in Nashville. Thanks to volunteers like her, who step up and use their talents to help others, Nashville Rescue Mission is able to serve nearly 2,000 meals each day. Would you like to serve alongside volunteers like Karen? Click the button below to get started!

Veggietales – Bob & Larry!

Last Thanksgiving, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber of VeggieTales visited Nashville Rescue Mission. It was so much fun having Bob and Larry visit, and it was especially encouraging as they reminded us, “God made you special and loves you very much.”

We sat down with them to learn more about why they chose to spend time at the Mission.


NRM: VeggieTales has such a wonderful place in Christian families homes. Parents and kids alike love the stories and songs, as well as the values and Biblical truths in every show. How do you decide the lessons and stories you want to communicate to kids through Veggie Tales?
BOB: Well, we always start with the letters we receive from kids. The letters are filled with questions the kids are asking. It’s in answering their questions that many lessons can be learned—things like forgiveness, loving our neighbors, sharing, and telling the truth.
LARRY: And we always like to have fun and sing silly songs—I’m working on a silly song now that is about a bear trap.
BOB: Larry, why would you need a bear trap?
LARRY: Why to catch bears of course!
BOB: Larry, I don’t think you should be catching bears but let’s talk about that later.larry

NRM: What advice could you offer the kids who might be staying temporarily at the Mission?
LARRY: “Keep on keeping on” whether you’re doing your schoolwork, sports, or anything really—even when things get tough.
BOB: Study hard, listen, follow directions, and always remember God made you special and He loves you very much!

NRM: What made you choose to spend Thanksgiving at Nashville Rescue Mission?
BOB: Leviticus 19:18 says we are to, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Everyone is our neighbor. This includes our homeless friends both near and far.
LARRY: You betcha Bob!
BOB: Nashville Rescue Mission is helping the homeless. They are doing what Jesus wants us to do for our neighbors—to treat them with love, kindness, compassion, and mercy.

NRM: On a day with so much significance related to thankfulness, we want to thank you Bob and Larry for joining us to serve and love our neighbors in Nashville. Thank you!
Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are best friends and appear in the animated series VeggieTales. Visit to learn more about Bob, Larry, and all their friends.

The Forgotten Carols: A Musical


Looking for way to get into the holiday spirit and share the true meaning of Christmas with your family?

Take them to see a musical!

The Forgotten Carols shares the warmth of the Christmas spirit through a stage performance. The show tells the story of a nurse whose empty life is changed when a new patient recounts the story of Christ’s birth as told by little known characters in the nativity story. The accounts from the Innkeeper, the shepherd and others help the nurse discover what the world has forgotten about Christmas, and open her heart to the joy of this special season.

This year’s Nashville performance is at Collins Theater of Lipscomb University on December 14th. Proceeds from the performance directly benefit Nashville Rescue Mission and it’s services to help the hungry, homeless, and hurting of Middle Tennessee.

Get your tickets below. See you there!

Martin’s Story

Martin’s Story

We’d like to introduce you to Martin, the man behind Nashville Rescue Mission’s latest TV commercial. After a medical condition left Martin unable to work, he ran out of money and wound up homeless. He turned to Nashville Rescue Mission, where he found food, clothing, shelter, and more importantly–HOPE.


Will you help us provide emergency services for individuals in need, like Martin?  Thank you in advance for helping us provide hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for eternity.


Most people start making travel plans and grocery lists for their family when they think about November holidays … but we start planning events and meals for 2,000! Mark your calendars now to join us as we celebrate a season of thankfulness. We can’t wait to see you!


Nashville Praise Symphony Performance

November 14 / Nashville Rescue Mission’s Men’s Chapel / 7 p.m.

Each year, the Nashville Praise Symphony performs in the Men’s Chapel. It’s a beautiful performance by some of the top area musicians. The event is FREE – bring your friends and family!



Tracy Lawrence Turkey Fry

November 24 / Nashville Rescue Mission’s Men’s Campus Parking Lot

Tracy Lawrence is hosting his 10th annual Turkey Fry in our parking lot! He and his friends will spend the day frying turkeys to feed the homeless at Thanksgiving.

Tracy Lawrence’s Mission: Possible Benefit Concert

November 24 / City Winery / 8 p.m.

After the Turkey Fry, Tracy and very special guests Charlie Daniels, Brad Arnold from Three Doors Down, and more, will perform next door at City Winery. Get your tickets HERE. 

Thanks_RunWhat Do You Run For? Thanksgiving Day Race Packet Pickup

November 24 / Nashville Rescue Mission’s Men’s Campus Parking Lot / 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

That morning is also the packet pickup day for the What Do You Run for race! The race begins and ends at the Men’s Campus. Sign up to participate here. 


Life_Recovery Life Recovery Program Graduation

November 25 / Men’s Campus Chapel / 10:30 a.m.

Each month, men and women graduate from our Life Recovery Program. Join us as we combine our graduation services! Graduates will give their testimonies and show before and after photos, sharing stories of transformation and healing.




Great Thanksgiving Banquet

November 25 & 26 / Men’s Campus Dining Room / Noon

It’s the Great Thanksgiving Banquet! We serve Thanksgiving meals two days  – Wednesday and Thursday – to ensure that everyone can celebrate with us!



Thanks_RunWhat Do You Run For? Downtown Thanksgiving Day Race

Benefiting Nashville Rescue Mission

November 26 / Men’s Campus Chapel / 8 a.m.


 Christmas Volunteer Sign-up

Begins December 1

Christmas day is a popular time for volunteers to want to serve a meal at the Mission. To ensure your spot and help us plan, you’ll want to sign up early! Call beginning December 1st. (But don’t wait. Call or go to our volunteer page on the 1st!)


Forgotten_CarolsForgotten Carols

Benefiting Nashville Rescue Mission

December 14 / Collins Theater at Lipscomb University / 7 p.m.

The Forgotten Carols is an exciting and heartwarming holiday musical for the whole family! Purchase your tickets here. Proceeds from the performance benefit Nashville Rescue Mission.