Meeting Needs, Creating Hope

Vine Street Christian Church honors work of local charity with grant.

Even in a thriving city like Nashville, individuals experiencing financial difficulties walk a difficult road. Senior men and women are especially challenged, given the likelihood of increased health needs and the prospect of age discrimination when trying to reenter the workplace.

To help ease these problems, Vine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recently awarded a one-time grant of $34,000 to Nashville’s Luke 14:12, a nonprofit soup kitchen that serves hot, nutritious, well-balanced midday meals to Nashville’s hungry, homeless and working poor. Established in 1983, Luke 14:12 serves meals in the dining room of Room in the Inn on Drexel Street downtown.

Alec Miller, chair of Vine Street’s outreach committee, which nominated Luke 14:12 for the grant, says the funds increase the ability of the organization to serve needy elderly men and women in the area over the course of a year. “Our prayers and encouragement are with this organization in its endeavors,” he says.

“Offering this grant is right in line with Vine Street’s mission for serving others,” says Jeff Miller, a member of Vine Street Christian Church who also serves on the Luke 14:12 Board. He helped to foster the relationship between the church and the soup kitchen.

“The Board of Luke 14:12 was thrilled by the news that we would receive this grant,” says the Rev. Amy Dodson-Watts, executive director, Luke 14:12. “These funds will allow us to better serve the most needy of our guests—Nashville's elderly, hungry and homeless. We are greatly appreciative of the opportunity to be considered for this grant.

“At every meal we provide an entree, vegetable, fruit, salad, bread, dessert and beverage,” Dodson-Watts continues. “These funds will allow Luke 14:12 to offer Nashville’s homeless elderly over 10,000 well-balanced, nutritionally complete meals for the next 12 months.”

“I don’t know another organization in town that does this kind of work as well as Luke 14:12,” says the Rev. Thomas Kleinert, senior minister of Vine Street Christian Church. “In addition to serving healthy meals, I love how they work with not only volunteers, but they meet some of their staffing needs with the homeless and the formerly homeless, giving them work to do, plus on-the-job training to help them move ahead.”

Luke 14:12 takes pride in offering a sit-down meal with table service, over a food line-style approach. For more than a year, Vine Street participants have volunteered to serve meals at least once a month, including Jeff Miller. “Once you go to Luke 14: 12 to serve a meal, you are called back. When you see the impact these nutritious meals have on a person’s daily walk and how appreciative they are, there is no other way around it but to go back to volunteer and to serve again.”

Funding for this grant was made possible in part by a generous bequest from Hallie Taylor Warner to Vine Street Christian Church, a gift that continues to make a difference for needy elderly in Nashville.