Help Stand in the Gap

“To tolerate injustice and descend into apathy is to dissolve the bonds that are the formation of our community.” I read this quote from students at the University of Virginia in a news article recently, and it really struck a chord with me. Students used this quote to entice people to take action to form a more inclusive and prosperous community within their university, and Open Table Nashville is doing the same thing, right here in our community.

OTN can always use more volunteers, so I’m here to encourage you to recruit your friends and neighbors to become more involved with Open Table. There are an estimated 6,000 homeless people in Nashville., including 2,800 children. That’s 6,000 people who, without relationships with Open Table Nashville and a handful of other outreach service providers, have nowhere to go. NOwhere to go.

Can you imagine yourself in that situation?

Additionally, through partnership with How’s Nashville and with other resource providers, Open Table has contributed to getting 550 people into affordable housing since June 4, 2013. The Open Table team is effectively working towards their mission to end chronic homelessness in Nashville, and, let’s face it-who doesn’t want to be a part of a winning team? We all  have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters to ensure that all have a place to call home. Personally, I believe that, as a society, we have a duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. Open Table works hard to see that people in need of assistance get the help they need and deserve.

The other day, Natalie, Ingrid, and I went to hang out with our friends Smurf, Angel, and Cowboy. Before he sang us a song, Cowboy prayed a prayer with an ending that really moved me. Cowboy asked God that he and his friends be able to “help others while we try to help ourselves.” People experiencing homelessness are often dismissed as lazy or freeloaders looking for a handout, but these friends are truly loving, holy people who want to help stand in the gap with people because they have been helped in times of need, too. Will you lend a hand? I hope you will consider becoming involved with Open Table Nashville’s work in our community and to share your passion for helping our brothers and sisters who need it the most. (volunteer@opentablenashville.org) Thank you to so many who have already reached out to serve –– we couldn’t do it without you!

Peace,

Matthew

OTN Summer Intern

Asking, “Why?”

Earlier this week, a junior high youth group visited Nashville on their summer mission trip. Samuel and I led them around the city that morning, teaching and discussing with them the issues surrounding homelessness and poverty in Nashville. In the afternoon, we split the group in two; half learned about resource shelters and assembled hygiene kits, while the other half learned about our housing campaign and assembled Welcome Home kits. Read more “Asking, “Why?””

Mother’s Day on the Streets

In honor of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I want to tell you about a mother I’ve spent a lot of time with in recent months and who has often occupied my thoughts and become dear to me. I met her –– we’ll call her Jennifer, in late January. I answered my phone one afternoon while preparing for an Emergency Winter Shelter and heard a frantic voice on the other end of the line. She had just been released from a psychiatric unit and a nurse had given her my number. She burst into a tearful explanation of her situation –– living in a car, 6 year old son, car towed, severe mental health issues, no money, nowhere to go, no one willing to help. The Women’s Rescue Mission is the only shelter that will accept mothers with children, but it was full, and Jennifer’s combination of paranoia and anxiety left her unable to access those services.

Read more “Mother’s Day on the Streets”

Thanks for your support!

1470066_700917699919489_102173879_n - CopyWhat we do at Open Table Nashville cannot be done without the financial support of the individuals, community and organizational partners who share the vision and work we do.

In 2013, we are excited to report that we accomplished the following with only two staff members (until we were joined by Regina and Lindsey in the fall).
Our operating budget for 2013 was also under $150,000. At Open Table Nashville, we make a little go a long way!

12,557 volunteer service hours (that’s over 300 work weeks!)
62 friends moved into permanent housing
278 home visits
77 shelter nights (Emergency Warming and Resource Shelters)
2,627 friends sheltered on those nights
195 furniture deliveries
98 birth certificates ordered
$12,238 given in rent and utility assistance
1,037 people who received OTN education sessions
123 food boxes given to feed hungry households
360 people housed since June of 2013 through the collaborative, city-wide How’s Nashville housing campaign

If you’re in a position to help continue this amazing work, please consider making a financial contribution today.

 

DonateNow

We need you!

foot clinic resource shelterOTN is partnering with local congregations to provide bimonthly shelters on the second and fourth Fridays of every month. Resource Shelters allow for a consistent place to connect our un-housed friends with needed services and resources like birth certificates, housing applications, foot clinics, first aid, and haircuts. Guests also receive good food, hot showers, fresh clothes, and a safe space to relax and connect with volunteers. Volunteers help set up beds, serve dinner, cut hair, offer foot care, provide for basic medical needs, stay as innkeepers, and help with clean up. We are currently partnering with Barth Vernon United Methodist Church and Hillcrest United Methodist Church to provide these spaces to rapidly re-house chronically homeless and medically vulnerable individuals and couples who are desperately need in housing.

If you want to volunteer at one of the shelters or can provide supplies, please contact Anne at Volunteer@opentablenashville.org.

Hunger

Posted by Lindsey Krinks

Last week, we had four people in the same hospital: a hit and run, a baby born early, and two broken bodies driven to madness by broken minds. I cannot fathom what it would be like to feel my flesh and bones give way to a rush of metal, to give birth to a child without a home, to be haunted by voices no one else hears. I walked the sterile, weaving, windowless hallways feeling heavy, reminding myself I cannot fix people. They said both his legs were broken, that his lungs were not fully formed, that she was severely malnourished, that he would get to keep his feet. Plastic tubes with legal drugs spilled into their veins quieting the voices, numbing the pain. For now, they will all make it, but in their varying states, what do they hunger for? Is it stillness, silence, reprieve, escape? Is it human touch, meaning, answers, grace? When I visited him, he could barely speak. He opened the slits of his eyes long enough to know I was there, that it was me, and reached out for my hand. He took my hand in his, squeezed it, and kissed it. He knew he was not alone, and for the moment, that was enough. Read more “Hunger”