Face of Homelessness convo outlines volunteer opportunities for students

One does not have to go far to see the many faces stricken by poverty and homelessness on the streets of Nashville. Take a jog off of Belmont’s campus and one will encounter many people in search of money, resources and some sense of security. This seemingly hopeless situation does not go unnoticed.

On Oct. 3, Belmont welcomed CEO and president of the Nashville Rescue Mission, the Rev. Glenn Cranfield, to share about the many opportunities surrounding the Nashville Rescue Mission including the opportunities for the homeless and volunteer opportunities.

Nashville Rescue Mission opened its doors in 1954, serving, at the beginning, five men. Today, the mission has expanded to two campuses and helps 850-900 men, women and children and serves around 2,000 meals a day. Even with an increase like that, Cranfield still vocalized the importance of serving people’s needs on an individual level.

“There needs to be some stability for them. There needs to be some security for them. There needs to be some help. There needs to be some hope,” Cranfield said.

Next, Cranfield described the tri-level program the Nashville Rescue Mission applies to spread hope to the people who walk through its doors every day in search of a better life.

First, is “Hope for Today,” which Cranfield described as meeting the immediate needs of the people that walk into the mission. This can include things like food, shelter, medical and emergency services and is focused primarily on providing immediate stability.

Secondly, is “Hope for Tomorrow,” which Cranfield described as looking toward the future. In this step, the mission assists a person in a transition period and provides them with resources to get a job, learn budgeting and interviewing techniques and participate in work therapy.

“It’s all designed to move them out of homelessness and into productive living. That’s the idea,” Cranfield said.

Lastly is “Hope for Eternity.” Because the Nashville Rescue Mission is a Christian organization, it offers various ways for a person to learn about the Bible and apply its ideas to his or her own life. Though being a Christian or converting is not a requirement to being accepted into the mission, programs are still offered allowing people to transition out of homelessness using Christianity.

“The Bible says, ‘I was hungry and you fed me,’ not ‘I was hungry, so you told me to go find a job,’” Cranfield said. “What we do is centered in God’s command to help the poor.”

After speaking about the process that the homeless go through at the mission, Cranfield briefly discussed the opportunities for one to get involved in the ministry before opening the floor to a couple of questions.

These opportunities range from constant involvement to simply donating money, clothes, books and other items. It is really based on how much time one desires to help and the need the mission has.

“It’s a 12-month, a year ministry,” Cranfield said.

For more information on volunteer oportunities, visit nashvillerescuemission.org and click on the “Volunteer” tab.

At the end of the convocation, Cranfield noted how important Nashville Rescue Mission has been in his own life and how important it has been within the community.

“Let me just encourage you to volunteer,” Cranfield said. “It will change your heart. It will change your life.”

Article and photo by Kelby Bibler.

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