Tag Archives: volunteer

Volunteers assist in repairing a flood damaged home in Nashville.

Flood survivors need volunteers like you to help on their path to recovery

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Connect with survivors who may still need support: Small groups of volunteers will canvass flood-affected neighborhoods on Oct. 24. We especially need Spanish speakers to ensure we can connect with as many families as possible! Can’t make it on Oct. 24?
Join us for another canvassing project Nov. 12, 15 or 16!

2. Rebuild homes with Inspiritus: Volunteers will help residents rebuild homes impacted by the flood. Activities range from painting, flooding, installing drywall and insulation. Training is provided with on-site leadership.

3. Use your skills or form a group to help with the rebuilding effort: As recovery and rebuilding continues we need skilled construction volunteers as well as groups of volunteers who can help with demolition, construction, and community outreach.





Volunteer during Fall Break!

With the leaves beginning to change and the smell of fall in the air — it’s time for this year’s fall roundup! Opportunities range between Oct. 8 – 17 and are great for college students home for Fall Break, or a parent looking for wholesome (and free!) ways to spend time with their kiddos.

Reminder: Many of our nonprofit partners have opportunities available all year long. Click the title of each opportunity to learn more and sign up. You can also find opportunities to volunteer all year long by visiting our calendar!

Pick up litter and keep Shelby Park beautiful
Friends of Shelby Park
Minimum age: 18, or 6 with an adult
When: Saturday, Oct. 9

Join the Friends of Shelby Park and your neighbors for a park-wide sweep of Shelby Park. Volunteers will be picking up trash to keep the park beautiful and keep litter out of our streams and rivers.

Share a meal with residents at Dismas House
Dismas House of Nashville
Minimum age: 18, 12 with an adult
When: Monday through Thursday, Oct. 11-14

Prepare dinner as a family (or order something in) and dine with the residents of Dismas House! Volunteers can prepare a meal in the Dismas state-of-the-art kitchen, or attend a Thursday night meal and help prepare dinner with the group.

Help prune and prep Nashville’s first permaculture park space
Grow Enrichment
Minimum age: 18, or 8 with an adult
When: Oct. 11  

Spend time as a family learning more about Nashville’s first permaculture
park. This park explores urban farming and woodlands to maximize food
production and utilizing space. Volunteers will help spread wood chips, mulch,
and transplant trees.

Sort and pack items for relief and hygiene kits
The Community Resource Center
Minimum age: 15, or 8 with an adult
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 

Set up production stations, sort materials (like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste) and compile kits for distribution. These kits are then given to people in need all over the community, from tornado survivors to those currently experiencing homelessness.

Prepare and distribute food bags to guests in need
The Branch of Nashville
Minimum age: 15, or 8 with an adult
When: Mondays through Saturdays

Volunteers and their families will be assisting with guest intake and preparing and distributing food bags for guests, while the little ones can help clean and assemble empty carts.

Help improve the farm at Mill Ridge Park
Friends of Mill Ridge
Minimum age: 18
When: Fridays, Oct. 8 – Oct. 15

Volunteers will help construct improvements to the farmyard and farmhouse, which involves planting, mulching, and pruning trees; removing invasive plants and weeds; debris and trash removal; farmhouse repairs; fence work, and more.

Prepare dinner as a family to share with local hospital guests
Hospital Hospitality House – Nashville
Minimum age: 18, or 10 with an adult
When: Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 12 and 14

Prepare dinner at home with your family, then bring the meal to the Hospitality House to share with its guests. Dinner guests consist of patients and caregivers that stay at Hospitality House while seeking medical treatment in Nashville. Meals should feed approximately 30 people.

Help deep clean and organize the reuse center
Turnip Green Creative Reuse
Minimum age: 18
When: Monday, Oct. 11

Organize, clean, sort, and find fun ways to display donations at Turnip Green’s Reuse Center! Deep cleans are held on Mondays when the center is closed to the public. This is a great way to keep shoppers safe, and keep the store organized and tidy!

Direct guests and offer assistance at the Fall Craft Fair
Tennessee Craft
Minimum age: 18
When:  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Oct. 8 – 10

Volunteers are needed to direct vendors to their booth locations, bring in artwork and tents, keep traffic flowing, and assist fairgoers as they come to explore.

Tend to the community garden and prepare for the next planting season
Friends of Shelby Park
Minimum age: 18, or 12 with an adult
When: Oct. 16

Spend time as a family in nature helping the Friends of Shelby Park prep the community garden! Volunteers will help plant herbs, weed, and tend to existing plants. This is a great opportunity to teach young minds more about gardening!

How to help flooding survivors in Humphreys County

With a record-breaking flood devastating parts of Middle Tennessee, we know it’s our instinct to rush in to help. BUT, the situation in Humphreys County remains dangerous, and all volunteers are being asked to join a recovery group or organization for detailed instructions on how to be the most helpful. Please see the resource list below on how you can help.

Donation Information:

NOTE: All donations must be NEW. No used items are being accepted at this time!

The Community Resource Center is collecting most-needed items, recruiting volunteers, accepting items from their Amazon wish list, and collecting monetary donations. Visit their website at crcnashville.org.

For the CRC’s Waverly Flood Support Drop Off locations, click here.

Mother to Mother, Inc. has posted a list of donations they’re collecting. Items range from diapers to formula to towels and baby hygiene products. Click here for the full list and where to donate.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has activated its Tennessee Emergency Response Fund. Grants from these funds will be made available to nonprofits supporting relief and restoration in areas of Middle Tennessee affected by the severe storms and floods.

United Way of Humphreys County has also established a relief fund. Proceeds will help meet immediate and long term needs of residents affected by the flooding. One hundred percent of all donations will be used to help the flooding survivors.

The Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office posted about collecting items for those displaced at the National Guard Armory, located at 1421 US-70, Waverly, TN 37185. Items can also be donated to Compassion Church at their Student Building, 1452 Clydeton Road, Waverly, TN 37185.
NOTE: These items should be new or in like-new condition.

The American Red Cross is assisting with four shelters and has set up a disaster helpline at 1-800-985-5990. The organization has an online registry where survivors can register and send messages about their well-being. 

The Dickson Fire Department reported water rescues Saturday morning after about 10 inches of rain caused flash flooding. [Photo by the Dickson Fire Department]

Volunteer Information:

At this time volunteer efforts are being organized by the Waverly Department of Public Safety – Police & Fire. Those interested in helping with clean up or recovery are asked to call (931) 888-8011 or (931) 888-8012. Volunteers will be meeting at the staging area at the Dollar Tree, 515 W. Main St, Waverly, TN 37185.

The Community Resource Center has also begun compiling hygiene and relief kits to be distributed to those affected, and also need support unboxing and preparing donations to be transported to Humphreys County. Click the button below to sign up.

Compassion Church of Waverly is also utilizing volunteers. Those interested can text “flood” to (615)375-8333.

Flood Survivor Information:

If you have been impacted and need clean-up assistance please call the crisis clean up line at 615-338-7404. The phone will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. This number is for all counties affected by the flooding.

The Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee is offering disaster relief to union members for those affected by the flooding on August 21.

The following are flooding shelters for those displaced. For more information, visit the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

  • Waverly Church of Christ, 438 West Main St., Waverly, TN 
  • YMCA of Dickson County, 225 Henslee Dr, Dickson TN 37055 
  • First Baptist Church, 300 E. Main St. Waverly TN 37185 
  • Fairfield Church of Christ, 1860 TN-100, Centerville, TN 37033 

Thank you for loving Nashville.

Last Saturday we said there was a need and volunteers showed up. Because of you, many residents in South Nashville are a step closer to recovering from recent flooding that devastated so many neighborhoods. Thank you!

On April 3, 350 volunteers cleaned up at around 90 houses. They hauled supplies with their pickup trucks and helped other volunteers find parking and get checked in. They translated languages to help keep the communication flowing. They also handed out more than 400 boxes of food, 420 flood buckets, and 100 hygiene kits to families in need.

And thank you to the many partners that helped put the day of service together: the Nashville Office of Emergency Management, American Red Cross, Conexión Américas, WeGo, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Community Resource Center, Nashville Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Metro Parks and Recreation, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

There’s still LOTS more work to be done in South Nashville, and we need your help. Find a project here:

Join the 2021-2022 HON AmeriCorps cohort

Applications are officially open for our upcoming cohort! The 2021-2022 Program Year runs from August 2021 to July 2022. AmeriCorps members spend a year at a local nonprofit, government department, or civic agency, where they build program capacity and receive skills and professional development training, an education award, a living stipend, and more. 

Nashville is powered by people of all ages, races, ethnicities, skin tones, sexes, genders, sexualities, religions, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses engaging in service together. This is a city where YOU matter and YOU make a difference. Join us as we tackle the community’s most pressing challenges through service by becoming a Hands On Nashville AmeriCorps Program member.

Ready to get started? Click the buttons below!

11,689 vaccines in arms, all because of volunteers like you!

WOW. That’s about all we can say about the mass vaccination event on March 20. Hundreds of volunteers — including many medical professionals — helped vaccinate thousands at Nissan Stadium, Lee Chapel AME, and Music City Center on Saturday. It was an emotional day, but many volunteers said they would do it again in a heartbeat. In total, 11,689 people were vaccinated with the help of volunteers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Photographs by Madison Thorn, HON volunteer 

Spring Break volunteer opportunities for the whole family

It’s Spring Break! With temperatures finally getting warmer and the kids home for the week (or the past year, depending on your situation), you may be going a little stir crazy looking for ways to keep them engaged while also building memories as a family. Well, we’re here to help! Below are a few options for things to do together, ranging for kids as young as 5 years old to those who are young at heart. 

Here’s a quick and easy video that explains how to volunteer as a family! 


Wrap and pack diapers for new parents in need as a Diaper Bank Volunteer
Age minimum with an adult: 12  
Minimum age: 16+  

Nashville Diaper Connection is looking for volunteers to help count, wrap, and package diapers. The diapers will then be labeled and organized for distribution to the Diaper Connection’s community partners. Opportunities are offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 

Compile hygiene relief kits with the Community Resource Center 
Age minimum with an adult: 8+ 
Minimum age: 15+ 

Volunteers are essential to setting up production stations, sorting materials (like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste) and compiling kits for distribution. These kits are then given to people in need all over the community, from tornado survivors to those currently experiencing homelessness. Opportunities are offered from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Write letters to seniors and people with disabilities to brighten their day 
Age minimum with an adult: 1+ 
Minimum age: 16+ 

Help bring some cheer to isolated seniors by creating drawings and writing letters to those in nursing homes and those who are in disabled living facilities. Families can create their drawings at home, and after “expressing interest” in this opportunity a volunteer leader will share how to mail them. For March the theme is “Spring and Easter.” 
This opportunity is virtual and can be completed at any time. 

A child writes letters for seniors and those in assisted living communities.
A young volunteer writes letters for the elderly and
those with disabilities with the Greater Nashville Regional Council.

Prepare a meal for families in the hospital with a loved one
Age minimum with an adult: 10 
Minimum age: 18+ 

The Hospital Hospitality House is looking for volunteers to graciously provide dinner to the patients and caregivers who are staying at the Hospitality House while receiving treatment in Nashville. These dinners provide comfort and a sense of community. This opportunity is offered with a flexible schedule. 

Plant trees at at Westmeade Elementary
Age minimum with an adult: 6+ 
Minimum age: 16+ 

Planting trees provides shade, helps filter air pollution, creates an oxygen rich environment, and reduces flooding by absorbing great amounts of groundwater. Together, families can learn how to plant and care for trees, while also joining forces to make Nashville a greener community! This opportunity is from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. 

Help remove weeds at Ellington Agriculture Center
Age minimum with an adult: 7+ 
Minimum age: 18+ 

Help remove invasive species of plants from Ellington Agricultural Center to prepare the ground for planting. Once the invasive plants have been cleared, white oak seedlings will be planted in their place! This opportunity is from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 20 

Unload donations with GraceWorks Ministries
Age minimum with an adult: 7+ 
Minimum age: 18+ 

Unload donations from people’s cars and assist in getting them sorted. GraceWorks Ministries  collects donations for its thrift store on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This opportunity is offered daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

For a full list of our opportunities, click here.

Join us in celebrating AmeriCorps Week!

“This program is changing lives. These members are creating a greener and more equitable city. They are so passionate and we are so fortunate to have them here loving on our community.”

Nicki Avila, Hands On Nashville AmeriCorps Program Manager

It’s officially AmeriCorps Week! In the past year our AmeriCorps members have faced challenges we could never have predicted, but they continue to astound us with their positivity, ingenuity, and most importantly their commitment to service. This #AmeriCorpsWeek we’ll be featuring outstanding servant leaders from across Middle Tennessee, and showing what it’s like to #ServeLikeMe.  

Join us on Instagram Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, when three AmeriCorps members will take over our stories and give you a behind-the-scenes peek at how they serve Nashville. 

Tuesday: Dalia from The Nashville Food Project 

Wednesday: Kelsea from Shower The People 

Thursday: Rachel from Turnip Green Creative Reuse 

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn any time to see what the HON AmeriCorps cohort is up to, and how you can get involved today.  

‘You always have something you can do,’ says volunteer who logged hundreds of hours of tornado relief activities

When the tornadoes hit, Melissa Alexander wasted no time finding a volunteer project to help survivors.

That’s who Melissa is, though — she goes above and beyond for people, and doesn’t seem to think twice about it. That makes her among the most prolific tornado-response volunteers in HON.org’s database, having registered for dozens of projects and logged hundreds of volunteer hours.

“After the tornado hit, I knew I couldn’t just stay home,” she says. “I’m from Texas, and that’s just not what you do there. After a disaster, if someone needs your help, you just go.”

Melissa Alexander, left, spent more than 300 hours volunteering in response to the 2020 tornadoes.

Melissa lives in Hermitage, about a block away from the path of destruction that spanned more than 60 miles overnight on March 2, 2020. She was without power for four days, and, looking back, is grateful to have had the opportunity to get out of the house and be of service to others.

She began volunteering at the Hermitage Community Center, sorting donations of apples, oranges, and other food and essentials. After about a week, when the center was running smoothly, she began looking for other ways to help. She had already attended volunteer leadership training at the Hands On Nashville headquarters. A liaison from Mayor John Cooper’s office determined she would be a great fit to begin supporting case management by alerting survivors to the resources that were available.

Melissa began canvassing the Hermitage area daily, going door to door to ask residents a series of questions:

“Are you working with a good contractor? Are they licensed?”

“Do you have your tetanus shot?”

“Do you know how to get to the community center?”

“Do you have your water and power turned on?”

It was more or less what she had been trained for, Melissa says, and she enjoyed the spark of hope residents would show when she was able to share information on a resource they were previously unaware of.

“‘They would ask, ‘Who are you with?’” and I would say, ‘Oh, I’m just a volunteer with Hands On Nashville, going around to make sure you’re aware of all of the services available in the community after a tornado.’ They loved it,” she says. “They were so grateful that somebody was just coming around and checking in on them.”

Melissa volunteered for weeks this way, reporting each morning to the city’s liaison, receiving her neighborhood assignments, then heading out with her bags of apples and oranges to distribute throughout the community. She estimates she spent more than 300 hours volunteering over the course of three months.

One day in particular stands out to Melissa — the day she was reassigned to North Nashville, on March 27. Rain was moving into the area, and the city needed additional help identifying houses that needed tarps.

“I went to Project Connect Nashville and started volunteering over there, four days a week, for about three months,” she says. “I’m still pretty committed to Project Connect. They do a lot for that North Nashville community.”

Once in North Nashville, Melissa says she found strength in the community to keep coming back day after day. The work was tiring, but, without fail, each morning when she arrived, there would be 30 people waiting outside Project Connect’s doors for a hot meal.

“When you see that many people waiting to get a hot meal, you can’t just say no,” Melissa says. “And the people were so eager for help. They wanted to know what resources were available or how to do something.”

Melissa Alexander and Mary.
Melissa (left) with Mary.

And that’s how Melissa met Mary.

“She’s the lady who made me cry on my first day,” Melissa says. “A neighbor had called to bring her meals, and I was the first one to have checked up on her since the storm. That day she was upset because her FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) request was denied, and she just bawled.”

Melissa bonded with Mary, who is 83 years old, right away. She worked to get Mary’s phone back in service, reinstall her security light, and create some raised garden beds for her. They still talk or text regularly.

“I even helped her organize the inside of her house, and we shredded papers for three days,” Melissa says. “She kept everything. She had checkbooks from the ’80s. So I helped her shred papers, and it was so fun. Older people have the best stories.”

Throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns, Melissa continued to work with Project Connect. She’s an avid mask-wearer, and says she practiced good hygiene long before the pandemic, crediting her work as a behavioral analyst who often worked with clients with auto-immune disorders. She says the Red Cross and Project Connect were thorough with their protocols, and that she never felt unsafe while volunteering.

Call the Tornado Recovery Connection at 615-270-9255 to get help.

Melissa’s background has proved invaluable throughout her time volunteering. Being from Texas, she was familiar with disaster response and FEMA, and by working with lower-income families she’s also familiar with food-assistance and housing programs. As Project Connect transitioned their services to working mainly from the resource center, Melissa jokes that she became known as the “resource guru.” To this day she has about 60 bookmarks — in multiple languages — stored in her phone to offer to people for help.

“You always have a skill,” she says, “and you always have something you can do that goes toward something that someone else needs.”

And while the recovery process has spanned the past year, Melissa knows there’s still more recovery and healing that needs to happen.

“There’s so many houses still not touched,” she says. “You can drive through Hermitage now and see the changes. But in North, there’s still boards on the windows, tarps on the roofs. There’s still so much work to be done.”

Tornado survivors can get access to a variety of resources and support through the Tornado Recovery Connection. If you know any tornado survivors, please make sure they know to call TRC at 615-270-9255.

Looking for a way to help this holiday season?

It’s here — our guide to where you can donate items this holiday season to help out many of our partner nonprofits! We’ve rounded up some of their most urgent needs at the link below. From books to gloves to hearing aids, no donation is too small.