Trevecca Nazarene University

Students feed the homeless

(This article was published in the October 2013 issue of TrevEchoes - written by Nadia Smith.)

Annah Hite has been feeding the homeless under a bridge at 1122 2nd Ave. North for a year now.

A year ago, Hite, sophomore, organized a small group, around three to four people, to bring food to the homeless gathered under the bridge. On September 20, she took 18 students with her to feed several dozen.

“I am wonderfully pleased by how much the group has grown,” Hite said. “Last year I was losing hope thinking that our students didn’t have as much of a heart for ministry as I thought, but this year’s participation has blown that thought out of the water.

Every Friday the group partners with Nashville’s Salvation Army to bring healthy meals to people living on the streets.

A long line of hungry people are waiting each week when the group shows up under the bridge around 6 p.m.

Volunteers for the Salvation Army prepared enough lasagna, green beans and garlic bread to feed 150 people. It is hard to tell the exact number of people that will come out for food each week.

“Giving an average is hard because of the way it fluctuates given what part of the month it is and the time of the year. Tonight we are probably looking at 120 to 130,” Misty Ratcliff, director of volunteer service for Nashville’s Salvation Army, said.

Other volunteers provided drinks and snacks for the people.

Trevecca students Summer Woolum and Kristen Mannan served coffee to the homeless as they waited in line for their food. One man stopped them and started to tell them about his near death experience due to alcohol.

“Four months ago my girlfriend found me unconscious on the floor,” Danny Turnquist said.

He entered into rehab shortly after. As of Oct. 8, Turnquist has been homeless for five weeks now and has not had a drink since.

Turnquist is just one of the many homeless people who have a story.

Kerry Conrad has been homeless for seven years. He has traveled throughout most of the Midwest and the West Coast, but in his older age he decided to settle in Nashville, the place that he calls home. He has always dreamed of going to New Hampshire and seeing Mount Washington, but he has never made it.

“Maybe someday I will make it up North, but right now I’m tired,” Conrad said.

Conrad thinks that it is nice of the volunteers to give up their time to go feed the homeless.

“I’ve seen this sort of thing 700 times over the years, but it’s always nice to see,” Conrad said. 

For Trevecca student J.J. Bewick, serving the homeless on Friday nights is a call from God.

“Sometime last year God did something that made it more apparent that he was bringing my heart to the homeless, and this is a great opportunity to go out and do that and be a consistent light and hope to these people,” Bewick said.

For the Salvation Army, it is important to show God’s love through action.

“The Salvation Army likes to focus on showing God’s love through action rather than words,” Ratcliff said. “We do both but we focus on the action first because you can’t really focus on God if you’re hungry.”

Hite continues to organize the group because she wants to be obedient to the gospel, she said.

“Christ told us to take care of the broken, the needy, the homeless, the widows, and they are all there,” Hite said.

For more information on how to get involved, contact Hite at akhite@trevecca.edu.