Malinda Hersh has worked at Hands On Nashville since January 2005, and is Director of Volunteer and Nonprofit Programs. She volunteered at the Nashville Rescue Mission this week alongside eight HON volunteers, and shares this reflection.
The trays kept coming — faster and faster — and were picked up by hungry diners just as quickly as they were filled. The eight people filling the trays had never met before this night, but they worked as efficiently and happily together as any well-practiced team would. The line workers delivered many wishes of “Merry Christmas” and “enjoy your meal” while they served, but it was those being served that provided the best sentiments. “Thank you for being here,” “we appreciate you,” and “God bless you” were the oft repeated phrases from the diners at the Nashville Rescue Mission.
I was one of the lucky servers at the Mission on a recent chilly Tuesday night who helped serve 525 men an evening meal. I left the Mission feeling as I’ve heard many volunteers state: that I received more than I gave. I said “congratulations” to someone who had just landed a job, I smiled with someone who was excited to see the slice of blueberry pie on his plate, and was thanked countless times for being there. I enjoyed getting to know my fellow volunteers: a mom making sure her young son experiences what giving back really means, a college student home from Atlanta, a couple who just relocated to Nashville, and two ladies who had volunteered previously with the Mission. I have a feeling that they won’t be the only ones to volunteer there again.
Hands On Nashville hosts two dinner service projects every month at the Nashville Rescue Mission. Join us! Click here for more info.