What A View

What A View

In a city filled with cranes, it’s no question the landscape of Nashville is changing. With each new high-rise building that goes up, there are more opportunities to see a new view of Nashville. Such was the case for Gentry Fisk.

“I was working on the Westin Hotel building in Downtown Nashville, when I saw Nashville Rescue Mission for the first time,” said Gentry. “I was on one of the top floors when I looked out the window and really noticed the Mission. I can’t exactly explain it, but when I saw it, I felt like I was supposed to volunteer there.”

Gentry was surprised by many things he saw at the Mission while volunteering. “Before this, I had not volunteered at a shelter or soup kitchen. I suppose I had some preconceived notions about what to expect. I expected it to be chaotic. It was far from that. I was impressed by how smoothly things ran. Even the size of the building and the amount of people being served was surprising. The Mission is a huge place and they serve a lot of people.”

And according to Gentry, the surprises just kept coming as he learned more things about the Mission. “I think one of the things that really caught me off guard was to see some of the men I had been working with on the construction site come through the line for lunch or dinner. I learned that some of them were even staying the night at the Mission. I realized there were a lot more people experiencing homelessness than I had expected.”

Gentry soon became a regular volunteer coming on Thursday nights where he connected with many of the people he served alongside. “I was shocked when one of the men serving with me told me he and the other men working in the kitchen were in a program at the Mission. Most of these men were battling addiction and had pretty much given up hope until they came to the Mission. They were happy, laughing, cutting up, and giving back. I initially thought the Mission only provided food and a bed. I came to realize they provided that and a lot more.”

“The best part about volunteering is it has helped me to appreciate the everyday things I have,” said Gentry. “Now when I see someone who is homeless, I realize they are more than their circumstance. This is a real person, who has a name, and in some cases a familiar face I’ve seen while volunteering. This experience has changed me.”

In telling others about his volunteer experience at the Mission, Gentry expected people might question his desire to spend his time serving the poor, hungry, and homeless. But instead, he’s been met with comments such as, ‘I should probably do something like that.’

“It’s like my momma always said…’if you really want to be happy, do something for someone else.’”

Gentry, we couldn’t agree more.

If you’d like to see a new view of the Mission, volunteer with us!


Mission in My Words: Chef Max

Mission in My Words: Chef Max

From my home country of Switzerland to Nashville, Tennessee–I have encountered homeless people in every city. Homelessness transcends international borders.

I was living in Montreal, Canada, when I saw a family shivering outside my apartment. They had built a fire in the alley to stay warm. Concerned, I asked why they didn’t go to the shelter? The father tells me it’s not a place for children. When I saw them the next day I offered them food and coffee.The father thanked me and assured me they would be okay. When I again asked about shelter, he told me he didn’t want to put his children in a shelter. Instead he’s told his children they were on a camping adventure.

Each and every life experience makes an impact on me. I’m not sure what chain of events led this family to becoming homeless, but I believe pride kept him from getting the help they needed.

I still remember the 48-year-old accountant I met at a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. After his wife left, he started drinking, then doing drugs. He lost his job and was evicted. He resorted to living in his car, until it was repossessed and he became homeless. He was stealing to survive. Thankfully, his pride did not keep him from asking for help. I connected him with different resources and hope that today, some 20 years later, he is doing better.

I see life as a circle. I want to be a good steward to my business, my community, to my employees, to my work, and to myself. One of my goals is to protect the land, the sea, and the environment. I want to give back as much as I take.

Food is one way of doing that. It has the power to bring back memories. I might not be able to cook the same meal like your mom, but if I can get close, perhaps it brings back a happy memory for you.

Since being hired as the Executive Chef for Music City Center (MCC) and moving here in 2013, my family and I call Nashville home. I want to nurture and respect the foods of this region. I’ve built relationships with local farmers and vendors in the area. At MCC we pride ourselves on a building that was built to be sustainable, on delivering a quality food experience, and bringing business to Nashville.

We made the decision to partner with Nashville Rescue Mission and other local nonprofits as our way of giving back. Donating leftover food to the Mission means nothing is wasted. We will not donate anything that we would not eat ourselves. We keep the food at safe temperatures until it is delivered to the Mission. Some days it’s might be enough sandwiches to feed all the guests. Other days it might be vegetables, or fruit trays.

But as I like to say, drip by drip you make an ocean. Every little bit helps. It feels great to know that the food is helping people in need.

Easter Hope

Easter Hope

Jesus Christ is our hope. (1 Tim 1:1) The power He has to change a life is seen on a daily basis at the Mission. When a homeless man prays for the first time, when a hurting woman invites Him into their heart, when a child sings praises to Him… these and so many more are examples of hope being restored because of the investment you have made in the ministry of Nashville Rescue Mission.

This especially rings true during our annual Easter Banquet when thousands of home-cooked meals are served to those who look to us for food, companionship, and hope. And with your help, restoring hope is possible.

“Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” says Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of the Mission. “When the women went to His tomb to prepare Jesus for burial, they found the stone in front of the tomb had been rolled away and inside, an empty grave. Jesus had risen from the dead. His resurrection promises new life and is a reminder there is always hope. At the Mission, Christ’s resurrection power is constantly at work, moving ‘stones,’ and changing lives.”

Easter Sunday is a day of celebration at the Mission. A special service is held in the chapel and while the service is under way, volunteers and their families are busy cooking and preparing meals in the kitchen making sure the feast is just right.

Much like a traditional Easter meal you might eat a home, guests will enjoy ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, and rolls, along with a delicious slice of pie for dessert following the service. Volunteers from all walks of life come to the Mission with a heart to serve and find themselves being met with joy, love, and gratitude from those who otherwise may have spent the day alone and hungry.

“Meals can be the entry point for the homeless to find other services we offer that can help them get off the streets permanently,” said Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO, Nashville Rescue Mission. “A traditional meal like mom used to make, served by volunteers who have chosen to spend their Easter serving at the Mission goes a long way in creating a loving, home-like atmosphere for our guests to enjoy. This act of kindness has a visible impact on our guests.”