The stressors of every day life are enough to make you put your blinders on… and not the good kind. We tend to go in survival mode, getting so caught up in ourselves and our struggles that we block out the heart cries of others. When I’m feeling like this, I get out of my own head by volunteering. Giving back gives me a heavy dose of perspective, and reminds me that even on my worst day I can BE love to anyone and everyone around me.
There are a lot of volunteer opportunities around the holidays, but now that we are well into the new year it’s more difficult to find ways to get involved. Below is a brief list of ways to plug in and love on some people here in Nashville!
This movement begins on January 27th, and is such an incredible way to unify the body of Christ right here in Nashville. You can download a prayer packet from the Awaken Nashville website, or pick up one in person from many local churches. Prayer Packets include a list of 15 residents, and postcards to send to the people you are lifting up in prayer. Awaken Nashville gives us a chance to come together and intercede for and with the people of our great city. To learn more, click here!
Nashville Rescue Mission
The Nashville Rescue Mission has a campus for men, as well as one for women and children. Both locations are constantly in need of volunteers to serve meals, tutor, assist with clothing donations/distributions, and even lead or participate in Bible studies! There are opportunities behind the scenes, as well as interacting directly with guests. Visit the website here.
This organization is close to my heart, as my grandfather was an avid volunteer for many years. Located in Williamson County, GraceWorks Ministries aims to provide food, clothing, medical support, and more to those in need. Opportunities to help include sorting food donations, stocking and organizing the thrift store, and even training to work with those in need directly. GraceWorks also has many seasonal events that they rely on volunteers to help execute. If you’re interested, sign up as a volunteer now!
The Bridge Ministry
The Bridge is a relatively new organization in Nashville (opening its doors in 2004), and aims to provide food to the undeserved in the our city. There are two ways to get involved with The Bridge: The first is sorting and bagging supplies in the warehouse. Secondly, every Tuesday night under the Jefferson Street Bridge. Each week they have worship music, the gospel, hot meals, clothing, and food for our homeless and less fortunate neighbors. Sign up or learn more here.
This idea is not my own, but is such an easy way to show love to those in our area. Start by going to the Dollar Tree, Costco, or really anywhere that you can buy in bulk. Small snack foods, water bottles, hats or socks, and hygiene products are all great ideas to include in your bags. I also like to decorate the bags themselves with an encouraging note or phrase. Keep the bags in your car (preferably somewhere you can reach them from the driver seat!) for easy access when you encounter someone who could use a care package! And to really get out of your comfort zone: ask to pray with your new friend. I have only gotten the chance to do this once, on the side of the highway in the rain, but I have rarely felt the presence of Christ so strongly. Write their name in your journal or on your phone, as a reminder to continually lift this person up!
I recently found out about this organization, and my husband and I have loved getting involved with them! ShowerUp has two mobile units, with three “shower suites” in each. Guests get a warm shower, hygiene resources, and basic health care screenings. Many times hair stylists and barbers will team up with this sweet company, providing guests with a clean shave or haircut after their shower! ShowerUp aims to restore dignity and hope by providing basic self-care needs. Volunteers help to clean showers in between guests, hand out hygiene products, pass out clothing, and spend time communing with guests. Visit their website!
There are so many more, but I didn’t want to write about a place that I have not had a chance to get involved with. I think this is a good place to start. If you do get a chance to visit any of these organizations, tag me in your pictures so I can see!
As always, thank you for believing in me and for taking the time to read my little space of the internet. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or additions.