The Nashville Salvation Army Annual Thanksgiving Feast to feed more than 100 of city’s homeless population

The Salvation Army Nashville Area Command will hold its annual Thanksgiving Feast 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 27 – Thanksgiving Day – at The Salvation Army Center of Hope, 631 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN.

Each year, 100-150 members of Nashville’s homeless community are picked up and bused in to and treated to a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. Clients will be served by gracious and willing volunteers providing them with a full dining experience.

Who: Members of Nashville homeless community and Nashville Salvation Army volunteers
What: Annual Thanksgiving Feast, hosted by The Salvation Army, Nashville Area Command
When: Starting 11 a.m, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014
Where: The Salvation Army Center of Hope, 631 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37201

Donations by the community help support The Nashville Salvation Army year-round programs, including: Christmas Angel Tree, three neighborhood worship centers, disaster services, emergency assistance and transitional housing for families.

About The Salvation Army Nashville:
The Salvation Army, a faith-based non-profit serving Nashville since 1890, extends assistance to individuals and families in greatest need, enabling them to lift themselves from crisis to stability. Nearly 40,000 individuals in the

Nashville community receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services that range from emergency services, disaster relief for victims, outreach to the elderly and ill, transitional housing for the homeless, opportunities for underprivileged children, Angel Tree Christmas assistance and much more. Seventy-eight cents of every dollar spent is used to directly support our programs and services in our community. For more information, visit

Entertaining Angels


The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree season is upon us here in Nashville and as shoppers shuffle through crowded malls, they may see our tall booths, manned by dedicated volunteers encouraging them to “adopt” an angel.  These angels reflect the needs and wishes of children and senior citizens throughout Middle Tennessee who would otherwise have little to nothing this Christmas.  The gifts that are purchased then delivered to our warehouse, end up in a red or silver bag, as seen in the photo above.  Each bag represents a family in the program and when gifts arrive, they are matched with the family bag by name and assigned code.  On distribution day, we will serve 100 families every 30 minutes for 3 days with the help of hundreds of volunteers who will collect the bags from the warehouse and bring it out to the families who sit patiently for their name to be called.

Where do these families come from?  Who are they?  Let me explain.  They are your neighbors, your co-workers, IMG_3603someone you go to church with, someone you walked past at the grocery store, someone who stands and waits patiently for the bus in frigid temperatures, someone who waits on you at a restaurant, someone who fields your phone call at an office, someone whose high paying position was eliminated due to downsizing, someone who took ill suddenly and drained their savings paying extensive medical bills and the list could go on and on.

If you were to look into the eyes of each person who registered their family for Angel Tree, you would have the opportunity to catch a  glimpse into their world.  Deep within the recesses of their blue, green, brown or hazel eyes, you would see sadness, pain and hopelessness, isolation, abandonment and loss.  You would see frustration, anger and fear  but if you would continue to stare, you would also see a glimmer of belief that someone, somewhere out there cares for them and their many struggles are temporary.  Many of these families, we have had the honor of holding their hand and praying with them as their tears silently fall.  They clutch our hands so tightly with a grip that so desperately seeks reassurance and love.  We are able to smile and let them know that God has them in the palm of his hand and even though they may be walking through a desert, soon enough, an oasis of relief will appear, they just need to remain faithful and trust.  For you, the donor who adopts an angel and purchases items for these families, you are providing them with a light at the end of their darkened tunnel.  You are showing them extraordinary levels of compassion and love for someone you’ve never even met.  This is a life changing event and is never forgotten by the thousands of families served.

We have many ways in which you can help this Christmas.  Adopt an angel at one of our local malls, The Mall at Green Hills, Rivergate and Cool Springs Galleria.  You can adopt by calling in to Mix 92.9 at 615-737-0929 or click here to adopt online from now until Dec 9th.

You can also adopt a “Forgotten Angel” at your Middle TN Dailys/TwiceDaily convenience stores or provide food for our Angel Tree families through the Kroger “Food Angel” initiative.

On behalf of our ‘Angels,” we thank you in advance for giving back and taking care of those who need a little help this Christmas.  You are a blessing!

Hebrews 13.2,”Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Seasons of Love

Retirement-66On a chilly November day, a child was born in a Salvation Army hospital.  As he was placed in his mother’s arms, his eyes opened and he encountered his very first vision of love.  Love from the parents who held him and love from the nurses and doctors who wrapped him in blankets and introduced him to this new world.  Little did the staff, nor his parents know what lay ahead for this young man.  They had no inkling as to the immense impact this one child would have on the lives of everyone he came in contact with.  But God knew……..

This infant soon grew to be a very outgoing and personable child, who never met a stranger, everyone was a friend,  This young boy watched his parents work in a Nashville Salvation Army Community Center and observed the love that each shared with the numerous children who walked through the doors.  He mentally took note of the words that were used, the kind gestures and the absence of judgement.

This child grew into a young man who served heroically in our US Military during Vietnam as a Marine and documented in various articles what was seen and heard amidst the war.  This young man came home, married and soon enough welcomed his own children into the world.  He worked tirelessly to advocate for incarcerated youth, then became head of Buddies of Nashville, now called Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  But, soon enough, where he started, is where he was destined to land and this man began serving at The Salvation Army in Knoxville, cultivating relationships and striving to bring awareness to the many works of “The Army.”

He eventually moved back to Nashville and kick-started the community center where he grew up into the Red Shield Family Initiative and introduced many new agencies to the shield and our mission.  He then moved over to the Nashville Area Command of The Salvation Army and continued his work of sharing the love, mission and ministry of this great Army!

All the while, no matter where he worked or how long he worked, this man always found time to meet a need whenever it presented itself.  Whether it’s driving a bus downtown to pick up those who are homeless and bring them back for a hot Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, or driving a canteen to serve breakfast to members of our street family on Tuesday mornings. Visiting a little buddy at a local elementary school, to help him with homework or just listen to him and encourage him.  Making time for anyone who walked into his office, stopping whatever he was doing, turn around and give his full attention; enabling you to feel heard and understood.  Visiting hospitals whenever he caught wind that someone had been admitted, initiating and managing a daily prayer warrior list and the list could go on and on and on…….

~2697015Now, this man is retiring from his full time work with The Salvation Army but not from serving Others.  On Friday, September 27th, family and friends gathered in the small gym of the local Salvation Army community center to pay homage but not to a career, rather a way of life.  A life that through numerous acts of kindness was able to manifest immense life change in others.  Many people took the podium and shared on how their life was affected by this one man.  Children, who fell under his mentor-ship, now accomplished  adults, wiped away tears as they recalled someone who provided them with hope and let them know they were never alone.

Now, has he stopped working altogether? Is he just relaxing on his back porch, soaking in the early morning sun with a fresh cup of coffee with his lovely bride Jo?  Yes and no.  He is savoring some very special time with his family, but he continues to work part time for The Salvation Army as the Community Relations Director as well as speak on love and hope to inmates at local CCA prisons with his wife Jo.

Full blown retirement is not on Mike’s radar as he feels need is all around us and as long as there is a heartbeat within him, he will constantly seek ways to make a difference and to love the least of these, for Him and Them.

We love you Mike!

No Fences

IMG_3749Every year, The Salvation Army embarks on a 30 minute trip to a farm out in the middle of Cheatham County with families from our various programs.  The mission?  To enjoy a Day on the Farm, an experience that vastly differs from the concrete and brick, traffic and combustion that frequents the neighborhoods in which they reside.

As the bus makes its way down winding roads, the noses of curious children are pressed hard against the windows taking in the foliage of changing leaves, while catching a glimpse of hawks flying overhead as they drift from tree top to tree top.  The bus parks and a hay ride transports the families to where the farm awaits.  A large lake filled with fish sits patiently, anxious for the fishing poles that will soon adorn it’s shores.  The grill, set amongst dulled red brick, contains gleaming coals that slowly cook the hamburgers and hot dogs.

The hayride stops and the families step out onto the soft green grass.  Children immediately run to the large tire swing or in the direction of the lake.  Peals of laughter and chatter can be heard throughout the farm and adults smile and observe from the luxury of the front porch swing and folding chairs.

The key word here is “relaxation” escaping the hustle and bustle of an every day existence, to simply stopIMG_3763 and just be.  To allow children to run and play, to laugh and to explore.  For parents, it’s a time to rest and find some momentary peace that may be hard to grasp in their daily routine.  The Salvation Army in partnership with Kiwanis of Nashville, looks forward to awarding this gift to our families each and every year.  And when it’s all over and the families head back to Nashville, the smiles that continually remain on their faces is all the thanks we need.  Our mission and ministry is to bless and to serve, to honor and to provide and since 1890 here in Nashville, this is exactly what we have been able to do!  Thank you to all of our partners, including the Vanderbilt CKI  for their many volunteers and The Spirit of Gold Vanderbilt Drum Line who perform an amazing number every year during this event and to our amazing donors who help to make this event and all of our other events and programs successful and life changing!

Operation: Love Thy Neighbor

homelessThis past Friday, we served dinner to members of our street family under the Jefferson Street bridge.  The evening held little humidity and offered a delightful breeze as volunteers set up tables piled high with clothes and shoes.  Our Salvation Army canteen was parked  in its usual spot, serving salad and pasta out of the sliding window and more staff and volunteers manned side tables with bottled water, juice, silverware and condiments.

Over 150 hungry men and women stood patiently in a single file line as each person shuffled to the window of the canteen, arms stretching upwards to receive their evening meal.

As I stood off to the side, a man, perhaps in his late 50’s walked over to me and thanked us for what we were doing.  He wore a weathered navy ball cap, grey -t-shirt and boots.  He clutched the to go box filled with food that he had just received and shared, “that he had never imagined ever having to ask for food.  He’d worked his whole life and was recently laid off and was struggling to find a replacement. ” He went on to say that, “he’d never lived on the street before and now has an understanding and empathy for those who call it home.”  He said, “it humbles a person.”  He went on to say again that , “he couldn’t believe that he was asking for food.”  I told him, “consider it a gift and that God will provide a way in the future for him to serve someone else once he gets back on his feet.”  He smiled and as he did, his eyes became red and swelled with tears.  These tears slowly escaped from the corners of his eyes and slid down his cheek, he whispered, “please don’t tell anyone here that you saw me cry.” I said I wouldn’t that is why I won’t mention his name, which I asked him for and let him know that he would be prayed for.

For those we see throughout Nashville and in neighboring suburbs standing on street corners, selling papers or asking for some type of ???????????????????????????????assistance.  For those sitting on park benches for hours and walking up and down various streets and intersections and sitting beneath overpasses and bridges, let’s pray for them.  And let’s try and meet the need, whatever that may be.  Find a way to serve and give back to those who are struggling, those who feel hopeless and unloved, those who feel rejected and alone.  Even if it’s just knowing their first name and calling them by it, this creates impact, this opens a door of hope, this can show them you care.  To hear their story, to see their eyes recall lives past, loves lost and to feel their hands in mine, roughened by the elements allows me to enter into their world.  It enables me to step outside of my life and into that of another and with it comes a greater desire to help.  With it comes a mission to help others feel accepted, loved, treasured, encouraged and safe.  It’s a mission that can’t be accomplished with just one person, it needs an “Army” and this is where you come in.  The Salvation Army has many ways for you to give back and make a difference, all it takes is serving that first meal, having that first conversation and you will be in it for life.  So what are you waiting for? Operation: Love Thy Neighbor has been initiated.

Up, Up and Away!


Major Ed Lee, Area Commander shares the vision, benefactor Jameka Usher shares on her graduation from the program and staff line up to release 5 red balloons L.I.F.T.S. to signify the skies the limit on what people can achieve thru Life Skills Learning!

The Salvation Army Center of Hope in Nashville Receives Grants Totaling $250,000 for New Adult Education Program

Life Skills Program “LIFTS” Assist Those in Need with Personal, Professional and Educational Skills

 (NASHVILLE, TN), JUNE 25, 2013 — The Salvation Army Center of Hope announced the Ansley Fund of The Frist Foundation and The Thomas Lyle Williams Foundation has awarded NAC $150,000 and $100,000 respectively to fund its newest program, LIFTS.

 A three -year demonstration project that is approved and recognized by The Salvation Army, “LIFTS” (Learning Is Fundamental To Success) is a program that provides professional, personal and educational skills to individuals who lack resources needed for a healthy, economically stable and independent life.

The official start of the “LIFTS” Life Skills Program will be Monday, July 1, 2013.

Established in 1982, The Frist Foundation is dedicated to sustaining and improving the quality of life in Nashville, Tennessee. As one of the larger foundations in Tennessee, it has been a philanthropic leader, serving as initiator, convener and catalyst among donors and nonprofit organizations.

The estate of Thomas Lyle Williams was left in trust for the benefit of The Salvation Army (nationally) and CARE, Inc. The Army’s share of the earnings of this trust is distributed quarterly to the four territories of The Salvation Army. The purpose of this fund is to encourage local units of The Salvation Army to develop new and creative approaches to alleviate the challenges encountered by poor people living within the community.


Time to Make the Donuts!

pix11This Friday, bakeries and famous donut stops like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts will celebrate in unity, National Donut Day by offering free, delectable, round, nuggets of goodness!

The history behind this delicious day goes back to WWI, when The Salvation Army “Donut Lassies” would drive up in canteens to where our soldiers were fighting and provide them with donuts, stationary, stamps and a clothes mending service.  It was difficult to obtain freshly baked goods so close to the front lines, so Salvation Army volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purivance came up with this concept of making donuts, rolled flat by an old wine bottle and fried in the helmets of soldiers, to help sweeten the lives of those serving to protect our country.

Then, in 1938, the first Friday in June became recognized as “National Donut Day” by The Salvation Army in Chicago as a depression-era outreach initiative and pays tribute to The Salvation Army women volunteers, called “Lassies,” who prepared donuts for thousands of homesick soldiers during World War I.

Today, in 2013, there are many ways you can enjoy “Donut Day” and help make a difference in the lives of Others here in Nashville!

  • On Friday, June 7th, stop by your local Krispy Kreme for one FREE donut
  • On Friday, June 7th, stop by any Dunkin Donuts and receive a FREE donut with the purchase of a beverage
  • Now thru June 7th, stop by your local Kroger or favorite grocery store and pick up a box of Entenmanns donuts and “like” their Facebook page, where for each like, they will donate $1 to The Salvation Army
  • As you enjoy your FREE or purchased donuts, click here and make a donation to The Salvation Army in Nashville, where 82 cents of every dollar goes to programming for youth, senior citizens, homeless outreach, GED classes and much more……

Want The Salvation Army’s Donut Recipe?  Here it is, compliments of The Food Network:734650_10200274760769439_457639924_n

Ingredients7 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup lard
9 eggs
3 large cans evaporated milk
3 large cans water
18 cups all-purpose flour
18 teaspoons baking powder
7 1/2 teaspoons salt
9 teaspoons ground nutmegDirectionsCream sugar and lard together in a large bowl. Add and beat eggs into mixture. Combine evaporated milk and water. Add water mixture to creamed mixture. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in large sieve and sift into wet ingredients. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Roll and cut. Five pounds of lard are required to fry the donuts.This modified version of the traditional donut recipe is somewhat more appropriate for the modern home chef.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 level teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 level teaspoon salt