To pack a house

How do you pack a house?
How do you take things off walls?
How do you throw away trash
When each piece is a memory?
What is trash?
How do you pack a box?
One by one?
How do you move
When there is no where to go to?
How to pick up a box
With no where to set it down?
How do you leave
With no where to take you?
How do you move out
When there is no room in the inn?
How do you teach a heart to break?



autumnAutumn Dennis is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. Autumn has a degree in Religion from Martin Methodist College and is a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Autumn is a thankful member of Amos House Community, a Catholic Worker house church through which Autumn was ordained as a minister and deacon on October 18, 2015. Autumn lives in the Nashville Greenlands Community, which is also affiliated with the Catholic Worker Movement. Autumn is engaged in ministry with the children of God who live lives on streets and in prisons. In Autumn’s spare time, Autumn skates as Sinister Minister for the Nashville Rollergirls. Autumn is currently serving as an intern Open Table Nashville.


Winter survival kits

Winter Supplies

Download this list >>

Winter is here, and that means we continue to need survival kits for outreach workers to take to camps. Our 12-15 outreach workers will each need at least 25 kits to take with them, which adds up to about 375 kits for the coming months.

Will you help us make this happen?

You can drop off items on Monday mornings, from 10:30AM-Noon at Woodbine United Methodist Church [2621 Nolensville Pike] OR at any of our resource shelters [every 2nd and 4th Fridays] from 5:30-9:30PM at the following locations:

  • Hillcrest United Methodist Church [5112 Raywood Lane]
  • Barth Vernon United Methodist Church [6200 Robertson Avenue]
  • First Church of the Nazarene [510 Woodland Street]
  • Flatrock Coffee, Tea, and More [Suite C, 2640 Nolensville Pike, Nashville]

These kits will need to contain:

  • Emergency blanket
  • Warm sleeping bags (preferably rated 10º or lower) or warm blankets
  • Tarps (8×10 or larger)
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Warm socks (wool, if possible)
  • Warm gloves
  • High protein snacks
  • Water

Other items urgently needed:

  • Thermals in all sizes
  • Waterproof windbreakers
  • 4 person tents
  • 16.4oz propane tanks
  • Heaters that take 16.4oz propane tanks
  • Cough drops, tissues, and chapstick
  • Firewood and wooden pallets

We have an Amazon Wish List for additional items >>

We are unable to pick up items, but if you’ve got questions, please contact Liz.

Community Partner Spotlight: FYK Realty Group

Tiffany Fykes, Real Estate Consultant

This month OTN would like to highlight one of our community partners, FYK Realty, and thank them for their committed hours of service at our Resource Shelters and their generous financial contributions. Lauren recently sat down with real estate consultant, Tiffany Fykes, to hear about their experience as OTN partners and volunteers.

LHow did you first hear about Open Table?

T: We were actively looking for an organization to partner with. We work with a lot of real estate in the Crieve Hall community, so we reached out to neighborhood leaders about non-profits in South Nashville, and a friend pointed us to Open Table.

L: How are you currently involved with OTN?

T: Our staff volunteers every month to do set-up at OTN’s housing Resource Shelters. We also contribute a welcome home kits every time we close on a house. So far this year we’ve had 80 closings, which means we’ve provided the funds for 80 welcome home kits for new residents and friends of OTN. Our goal this year is to provide one of those kits for everyone that OTN gets into permanent housing.

L: What have you enjoyed about partnering with OTN?

T: We’re passionate about helping people make good housing decisions for themselves. For us it’s not about the commission, but about helping people find a home that suits their needs and is sustainable. There is such a strong connection between our mission and yours at OTN. It just so happens that your clients or friends at OTN can’t afford a mortgage, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve housing options.

L: Have you had any experiences that stand out in your time volunteering with us?

T: We don’t get to spend as much time with OTN friends since we do the set-up at the beginning of shelter nights, but the most meaningful thing to me has been that most of us can bring our kids to help make up the beds. It’s great that 1. they love doing it, and 2. they’ll grow up with this being a normal experience. It takes away the fear built into stereotypes of people who are homeless, so now our kids can grow up without that. One night we went and OTN was celebrating someone’s birthday, so our boys got to be part of wishing her a happy birthday –– that was fun to see.

L: Is there anything you’ve learned about homelessness that you might like to share with the broader community?Fyk

T: I think it’s a mindset that has to change about our understanding of homelessness. Everybody should have a safe place; everybody should be able to stay warm in the winter. Just because there may be events from people’s past that have contributed to their loss of housing, we have no idea what those things are, and that shouldn’t keep them from having a better future. Housing shouldn’t be a consequence that gets held over someone’s head.


Thanks, FYK Group! For anyone else interested in volunteering at our Resource Shelters or assembling welcome home kits, contact


Five Year Anniversary

Dear friends,

Believe it or not, this week marks the five-year anniversary of Open Table Nashville! Five years ago this week, Nashvillians were working together to stabilize and rebuild in the aftermath of the flood, displaced people from Tent City and all over Nashville were sleeping in Lipscomb University’s Red Cross Shelter, and homeless outreach teams were working round the clock to gather supplies and find safe camping space for over 140 unhoused friends who were flooded from the banks of the Cumberland River. At this time five years ago, sick to death of seeing our most vulnerable neighbors slip through the gaps that exist in our social service networks, the idea for an alternative community was born out of the waters of chaos. The Open Table founders had a vision of holistic healing for broken bodies and spirits to be re-membered into their community. We committed to being a voice that would disrupt the cycles of poverty that crush the marginalized, to walking side by side as friends with the friendless, and to educating people about the roots causes of homelessness.

The original Hobson House crew

What a journey these last five years have been! Our first crisis response effort in the wake of the flood was a temporary encampment in Antioch, on land donated by the Beaman family. From there, we moved to the parsonage at Hobson United Methodist Church and created a one-of-a-kind transitional community house where residents had the opportunity to rest, heal, share, and re-build on their way to permanent housing. In the spring of 2013, the parsonage was sold, and we stepped back to imagine again how our scrappy team of outreach workers and volunteers could best stand in the gaps.

David and Teresa recently moved into their new apartment –– the last of the original Hobson House crew to FINALLY have a place of their own!
David and Teresa recently moved into their new apartment –– the last of the original Hobson House crew to FINALLY have a place of their own!

We’ve always believed in the Housing First model of care that says the safety and rest of permanent housing is the first and most vital form of “treatment” people need in recovery and is a human right. It just so happened that the How’s Nashville campaign (based on Housing First) was incubating that winter and spring, and we were able to jump into the planning and implementation full force. This marked a transformative year for our city as collaboration between government entities, homeless service providers, and the private sector turned a vital corner. We all joined efforts, finally planning and working together to end chronic homelessness in Nashville. In the first 2 years of this campaign, our city has housed 1000+ people, and the OTN team has personally provided the outreach, housing navigation, and support for 205 of those folks! We cannot stress enough how vital these collaborative partnerships and our willingness to share resources are in tackling homelessness, maintaining housing retention, and in changing the perception of homelessness in our city.

We are growing and changing, too. In the past five years we have grown from an unpaid staff of 1 to a staff of 5 full-time and 2 part-time folks, and a dedicated board of directors. We’ve been through some lean times and some deep heart-aches, but we have never given up or been abandoned. We recognize (and frequently recount) all the people who have showed up along the way to offer prayers, funds, and helping hands when we needed themIMG_1220 most. We give thanks for all of you who have shown up in a pinch, saved lives in the darkest winters, brought meals, pulled strings, raised money, hauled furniture, kept vigil in hospital rooms or camps, marched with us, sent encouraging notes, and ridden out the storms with us. We are truly grassroots –– funded and held together by the might and love of hundreds of people.

We’d like to thank you all in person, and we invite you to our Anniversary Celebration on September 17th at Acme Feed & Seed! We can’t wait to celebrate with you the work of these last five years, and we’ll unveil the results of our strategic planning committee and all the good things we hope to do in the years to come. Stay posted for more news and an invitation to follow!

Until then, as always, feel free to email to plug in at a resource shelter or become a monthly donor.

With love,

Your OTN family

2014 Highlights

In case you’ve ever wondered what it is that we actually do at Open Table Nashville, here is a numerical overview of some major victories in 2014:

Outreach calls responded to: 4,357
“Home” & hospital visits: 428
Bus passes: 1,761
People receiving first aid care: 189
Birth certificates ordered: 86
New state IDs: 59
Transport to and advocacy at appointments: 349
Housing/resource meetings with friends: 593
Donated furniture pick-ups: 135
New households receiving furniture: 198
Overnight shelters: 156
People who attended OTN trainings or educational sessions: 1,720
Beds filled through shelters: 4,180
Made possible by 13,115 volunteer hours

And finally –– 91 PEOPLE moved into permanent housing in 2014! (That’s a whopping 47% increase from 2013). There is still so much more to be done, but we rejoice in the community partnerships, support from volunteers and donors, and hard work done by these individuals themselves to make these life changes possible. We are so thankful for YOU, and thankful to be on this journey together.IMG_1220