Yesterday was our first full day in Nashville and first day to volunteer, and it was perfect! We started the day at the men’s center of the Nashville
Rescue Mission at 9am. Where we were taken to the basement to get to work. We met our wonderful supervisor BB, as they call him, who is a product of the Men’s Life Recovery program at The Mission. The Recovery program lasts for six-seven months and is designed for men who suffer from chemical addictions. Throughout the program the men work at The Mission, take educational courses, GED classes, receive counseling, and live at The Mission. Many of the men we worked with yesterday were either currently in the program or had completed the program and are now full or part time staff. BB completed the program in July of 2013 and was hired full time in August. He is now responsible for all the donations brought to The Mission. The men’s center houses basement houses all donations for The Mission, whether for the men’s or women’s programs, and boy is it a lot! He sorts clothes and food, and fills the orders for each program as needed.
I don’t think BB gets many volunteers sent to “the dungeon” because most volunteers want to serve meals because it’s a glorified job-and I use that term loosely. He operates the entire warehouse alone so it was ‘roughly’ organized. When he was brought ten people to delegate jobs to he seemed to be a little overwhelmed. But we got rolling and sorted 5 pallets of recent clothing donations along with a load of brand new Converse shoe donations. It was a lot to take in!
We ate lunch at The Mission and then were asked to work in the kitchen. Aprons, gloves, hair nets and all! Half of the group chopped veggies and the other put bacon on pans to be cooked for the next mornings breakfast. I was apart of the bacon group. Never in my life have I seen so much bacon (not good for my clean eating kick). While we laid out strips of bacon one of the men working in the kitchen came to help us. Brody, who couldn’t have be more than 21 years old, is currently in the Men’s Recovery Program. He told us some fun things to do in Nashville and we talked about his daily life in the program. He was down to earth, so helpful, and fun to be around. Nothing about my interaction with him would have ever made me think he was in a recovery program. I sure hope I get to work with Brody throughout the week and get to know more about his story.
After our day of service ended, we hit up the town! We headed to Broadway, eat delicious Jacks BBQ, and stopped in the local shops. There were troubadours strumming their banjos, folks dressed as leprechauns for St. Patty’s, and even homeless people trying to get a dollar. Seeing homeless men and woman among the party that is Nashville made our work here even more meaningful. Even in the fun, I saw a bigger need.