Mission in My Words: Charlie Daniels

Mission in My Words: Charlie Daniels

Nashville Rescue Mission is like a lighthouse in a stormy sea for some people who fly below our radar much of the time. The dispossessed, the forgotten, the shunned, the ones who carry around a pain in their hearts that few of us can identify with.

I feel that God gave a special talent, infinite patience, and copious compassion to the people on the front lines of ministries such as Nashville Rescue Mission.

I have known such people and it’s almost as if they have an extra gene that enables them to see past the superficiality of appearance and demeanor, past the addiction or affliction, and see a human being God created and Jesus died for, a precious soul adrift in an uncaring world, where even the most basic of needs are hard to come by and helping hands are rare.

So few of us are uniquely suited to do this job, to be exposed daily to those whose lives have come off the rails for one reason or another—to the broken hearts, the broken spirits, the broken bodies, and those who are qualified and willing are special to perform a godly service, and at the very least, deserve our support.

My hat is off to Tracy Lawrence, who for years has championed the cause with his annual Turkey Fry supplying much-needed funds and raising awareness of the Mission and its ongoing needs.

That’s how I got involved. One year Tracy invited me to play a couple of songs with his band at the event. I wholeheartedly endorse the Mission and the work they do, loving the unlovely 365 days every year.

I can’t go into the streets and find those who so desperately need help, I can’t extend a hand to the hopeless or comfort the destitute or feed the hungry or speak solace to the brokenhearted, not on my own, but by making a donation to Nashville Rescue Mission I can do all these things. Would you join me?

God bless those who really care.

From his Dove Award-winning gospel albums to his genre-defining Southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor, and still a road warrior at age 81, Charlie has parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children, and others in need.

YOU Make Thanksgiving Amazing!

YOU Make Thanksgiving Amazing!

“As you join your family around the table to celebrate this Thanksgiving, know the men, women, and children who find refuge at Nashville Rescue Mission are thankful for you.”


The Numbers

  1. That’s how many homeless men, women, and children will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal this season because of you!

5,000. That’s how many meals the Mission will serve over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday.

For nearly 65 years, friends of Nashville Rescue Mission have been making sure the homeless and hungry are blessed with a Thanksgiving meal and so much more. And there’s no way we can serve these thousands of people without you.


The List

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time to enjoy a holiday meal with family and friends. Most families have their hands full preparing a meal for a family of 10 or 15. Imagine if your table was set to feed over 800 and this was your shopping list:

9,000 pounds of turkey

5,000 dinner rolls

1,000 pounds of potatoes

800 pounds of green beans

600 pounds of dressing

100 gallons of gravy

And then there’s breakfast. With your help, guests are also treated to an extra special breakfast over the holiday including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and more.

Think about how long it would take you to crack 3,400 eggs or fry 1,200 pieces of sausage. It’s hard to imagine preparing a meal of this magnitude. It’s why volunteers are so valuable to the Mission.

With so much to be done, volunteers help make it happen.


The Support

Many things go into making Thanksgiving extra special at the Mission. From the turkeys that are donated and fried with the help of Tracy Lawrence and his friends, to the thousands of pies that are cut and served by the nearly 1,000 volunteers who join us throughout the holiday to prepare vegetables, serve meals, fill drinks, carry trays, wipe down tables, and show selfless love to the hungry and hurting.

“I hear time and time again from volunteers, that serving at the Mission has transformed them,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO. “For many people, looking into the eyes of a person who is desperate and in need, and then seeing that need being met—it takes away any preconceived notions they may have about being homeless. It gives them an opportunity to see our guests for who they really are—people, children of God. And while our volunteer spots fill up quickly during the holiday season, there is always an opportunity to serve with us in other areas and during other times of the year: donation drives, classes for program participants, arts and crafts with the children at our Women’s Campus, and even helping us sort and organize donations in our warehouse. It takes a lot of people working together to serve the many who are in need in our community.”

“I look forward to serving at the Mission on Thanksgiving Day all year long,” said Rhonda. “The atmosphere is hard to describe. I think joyful best sums it up. And I’m talking about the guests just as much as the volunteers. Everyone has a smile on his or her face. The joy is contagious.”

“It means so much to see people from the community take time out of their busy lives, especially on a holiday, to serve someone like me,” said William. “They don’t have to do it. I’m amazed so many people want to do it. I’m thankful for them and for the Mission.”

Nashville Rescue Mission is so thankful for our volunteers and for you. None of this would be possible without you! Your support is what makes this possible. You make Thanksgiving at the Mission amazing!


With Thanksgiving a little over a month away, the Mission is accepting donations of turkeys, potatoes, green beans (#10 cans), tea bags, rolls, and pies.

Donations can be dropped off at the Mission’s Donation Center located at 616 7th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203. 


The Gift of Volunteering

The Gift of Volunteering

“There’s a part of volunteering that feels selfish.”


Yearly Tradition

For the last four years, Lee and his children Lucy and Michael have spent either Thanksgiving or Christmas at the Mission volunteering to serve those in need.

“I’m from Maine but moved to Tennessee five and a half years ago to be closer to my children,” said Lee. “I wanted to do something meaningful with my kids over the holidays, and the idea of helping people in need was appealing. I looked online and found Nashville Rescue Mission. I wasn’t that familiar with the Mission but was excited to see it was possible for us to all volunteer together. That first time, I volunteered by myself on Thanksgiving to check things out and that following Christmas I brought Lucy and Michael with me. We’ve been going ever since.”


Loving Neighbors

Since then, Lee, Lucy, and Michael have been back to volunteer on many occasions. “It’s not something we just do over the holidays,” said Lee. “We look for other opportunities to serve throughout the year. I’ve even brought a group of my co-workers to the Mission to volunteer. It’s a great experience.”

Lee was drawn to the Mission because it offered him a place where his kids could serve and see first-hand the people being helped. “We talk a lot about what it means to love our neighbors. Serving at the Mission allows them to put that into practice.”

Despite having done other outreach projects through their church, like picking out Christmas gifts for kids in need, or helping to collect food for a food pantry, Lee says volunteering at the Mission was the first time they were able to volunteer together and actually see the faces of the people they were helping. “I want my children to know how fortunate they are and how blessed we are. I want them to know there are always going to be people in need. And we have a real opportunity to show them love and compassion.”


The Heart of God

“There’s a part of volunteering that feels selfish,” said Lee. “At the Mission, you see the love of God in action. It’s more than hearing someone say the words, ‘God Bless You.’ It’s seeing people carrying a homeless person’s tray of food and escorting them to their table. It’s very moving to me.”

Lee’s kids genuinely enjoy volunteering at the Mission. “Although sometimes I have to remind them it’s not a contest to see who can fill someone’s glass the fastest. They can be very competitive with one another. But I never have to twist their arm to go to the Mission, and it’s something we all look forward to doing together.”


The Experience of Hope

It’s been a blessing for Lee to see his kids serve those in need. Whether it was watching his daughter, Lucy crack dozens and dozens of eggs one year, or his son, Michael filling and refilling glasses of tea for two hours straight, he is grateful for the memories they are making. It’s something he will treasure for years to come.

“Volunteering at the Mission is a meaningful experience for my family and me,” shared Lee. “It’s a great way of showing love to people who are hurting and giving back to those in need.”

One thing that stands out for Lee is seeing how the staff and program participants express their appreciation and gratitude towards his children for volunteering at the Mission.

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for the staff at the Mission,” said Lee. “I see them living out their faith every single day. It makes me want to be a part of it—a part of something bigger than myself. I’m grateful I can give something back.”


Each day the Mission hosts as many as 85 volunteers who help serve and love on our city’s neediest neighbors.

Find out how you can join our team of volunteers who faithfully give of their time and talents while also making memories in the process.