For the majority of this past week I spent my time at a laundromat with a group of teenagers, holding a handful of quarters, washing and drying sheets and towels for the resource shelters Open Table Nashville holds every 2nd & 4th Friday evening. Though my internship with Open Table Nashville has taken me to basically every nook and corner of Nashville, there are days where I find myself in one place, when I am finally able to take in all that Open Table Nashville does for our community.
With past internships I have had, I was used to meeting in one place every single day; this is not the case at Open Table Nashville. Every day is a new adventure. It’s very rare to find yourself being still if you are a part of the OTN team. There never seems to be enough time in the day to finish all that needs to be done. Although I would never change the experience I have had driving around all parts of Nashville to lend a helping hand, there is something to be said about being still for once, surrounded by a bunch of teenagers, telling them all about the amazing work the non-profit you are working for has done and is still doing.
I was able to step back, stand still, and watch as the group of teenagers split into teams: one team for quarters, another for washing, another for drying, and lastly, one for folding everything into their correct place.
Explaining the importance of clean sheets for our resource shelters, a simple task in retrospect, showed the teenagers that every step is vital to the greater goal we as Open Table Nashville are trying to achieve. I was able to step back, stand still, and watch as the group of teenagers split into teams: one team for quarters, another for washing, another for drying, and lastly, one for folding everything into their correct place. It was amazing to watch how important each one helped to make the whole job a success, and having so much fun doing a bunch of laundry at a Laundromat. It might have not seemed like much at first, but knowing that clean sheets were going to be on the beds for each our guests at the resource shelters that night transformed this everyday activity into a very important mission for this group.
So yes, clean sheets are a vital part of what we do. So is filling out housing paperwork, visiting encampments, listening to stories, delivering medication, moving folks into housing, and maybe, just maybe, being still for a moment. Every day here at Open Table Nashville is a new adventure. You never know . . . you might even be inspired by a group of teenagers at a Laundromat.
We thank Emily Crenshaw, summer intern with Open Table Nashville, for reflecting on her experiences. Interested in interning with us? Read more on our intern application page.