Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Volunteers give others a reason to give thanks

By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • November 24, 2009 For thousands of Nashvillians, the Thanksgiving holiday is a time for family, but it's also a time to volunteer. As of Friday, Don Worrell, president and CEO of the Nashville Rescue Mission, said more than 1,000 volunteers had signed up to work Thanksgiving Day serving food to about 1,000 people at the downtown shelter for the homeless. "This is a tradition for some families," Worrell said. "We literally have generations of families, grandparents, parents and grandchildren, that come out and spend their Thanksgiving with us." For more than 55 years, the mission has provided a Thanksgiving dinner for the needy. "We try to turn this into Grandma's house," he said. "We tell our volunteers that it's just not about serving food here. It's about the feeling of family and togetherness. "Our volunteers become these people's surrogate family." Check out these contacts to volunteer on Thanksgiving: • Assumption Catholic Church parishioner Gerry Searcy is organizing Thanksgiving dinner for about 2,000 people. Volunteers are needed to help prepare and deliver meals. To help, call Gerry Searcy at 615-733-1478 or 615-406-7446, or e-mail her at gjsearcy@aol.com. • The United Way of Nashville's Call United Way 2-1-1, Middle Tennessee's referral help line, is an option to connect volunteers with organizations. 2-1-1 is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day. Callers are connected with real people who can check the organization's database for volunteer opportunities. • The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's GivingMatters.com offers detailed information about a wide range of nonprofits. • The Community Resource Center's Web site, www.crcnashville.org, includes a weekly wish list and volunteer list.

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