So we are in the holiday spiral…past Thanksgiving, on our way to Christmas, the season to spend with friends and family, eat lots of food, and participate in this time of giving. I wanted to share a pretty cool story of giving back that has been happening here in Nashville:
One of the sites that we are able to work with is called Campus for Human Development. They offer a wonderful program called the Odyssey program that helps men who are living on the street gain a foothold on life including classes to overcome addictions, support, an apartment, job, and, the part we help with, Monday night family dinners.
Throughout the year, this program has been giving back to their community. They have spent time “to get down and dirty” as they “reach outside [themselves] and into the community.” These outreaches include volunteering as crossing guards at Nashville’s Walk In Their Shoes. They spent time making care bags full of toiletries for a neighborhood town that was hit by tornadoes. A group of 15 traveled to Second Harvest Food Bank to spend hours sorting frozen food that will be handed out to those in need in the community. Lastly, some of the Odyssey men traveled to a local retreat center where they pulled weeds, tackled yard work, and sorted recyclables.
You always hear the phrase “it’s better to give than to receive,” but this story helps me realize that in a whole new way. The Odyssey program is somewhere that the students that come serve in Nashville go to give of themselves. However, when we serve others, we can forget the gifts, talents, and abilities that they have to give because we are focused on our own service.
This group of men and their story helped me to remember that all people have worth and the ability to give.
-Kristin Quarles, CSM Nashville Associate City Director