Nashville Projects 2017 Year End Update

by Kathi Gilleland

Nashville Projects Year End 2017

Happy New Year!  Desana’s Nashville/Tennessee Projects ventured into new directions this fall and after a slow start, we found some wonderful opportunities to help improve the lives of children in Nashville and beyond. 

18th Avenue Family Enrichment Center was founded in 1934 and continues to make a difference in the lives of North Nashville families and individuals.  Their mission is to positively impact the quality of life for children and families through center-based and outreach programs.  Center-based, they provide a three-star rated Early Care and Education program for children ages six weeks to five years old.  In addition, they offer an After School and Summer Enrichment Program for children six to twelve.  Most of the children they serve are at a high risk to crime exposure and many live at or below the poverty level.  We are excited to be assisting them with some of their needs.  We were able to provide Thanksgiving food boxes to over 60 families. In addition, we were able to give canned and dried foods to another 60+ families.  Our Christmas project at the Center was a huge success.  With your help we were able to give gifts to 64 children. Be watching for details for an upcoming fundraising breakfast.
On December 16th, we were thrilled to join forces with Timothy’s Gift( and Rise Up Tennessee (two local non-profits) to visit the Maury County Jail in Columbia about 45 miles south of Nashville.  The women inmates had the opportunity to earn contact visits with their families by completing classes ranging from GED, parenting, anger management, to 12 step programs.  The moms and grandmothers were so proud and excited to see their children and grandchildren.  We were able to provide professional family photos, snacks, and gifts that the ladies chose to give their kids.  The women and their families were overwhelmed.  One mom was overheard saying this was the only Christmas gift her children would receive. This was a beautiful, meaningful day, and we hope to expand this program.
In mid-December, I heard of family with great needs.  I know this is way outside our norm, but sometimes God speaks and we have to listen. A mom, dad and six children living in a small mobile home with mattresses as their only furniture.  Can you imagine a working mom handwashing everything for a family of eight! The dad is former Army and served in Afghanistan. Both parents have been working so hard but through an unfortunate  series of events… a blown engine in one car(not worth repairing),  costly repairs to their other vehicle, and childcare issues, they were sinking fast and losing hope.  A plea went out and soon furniture and other items were donated by strangers from all over. This family lives in a very rural area about 1 1/2 hours southeast of Nashville.  They work 35 minutes from their home as Certified Nurses Aides. This was difficult with only one vehicle working.  This car would not hold the entire family so they couldn’t even go to church.  We decided it would be great to give them a dependable van.  We put the word out, and with your help in less than a week we raised enough money to buy a vehicle and cover their insurance for six months! Darrell Waltrip Automotive in Franklin located a 2009 Honda Odyssey that seats eight with only  64,000 miles.  This van is luxurious and well maintained, and the dealership gave us an incredible deal.  We didn’t tell the family what we were doing until we had everything in place.  You can’t imagine their surprise and their gratitude.  They were overwhelmed that folks from around the country came together for a family no one knew.  The van was delivered to them December 23rd and trust me, you guys made their Christmas!!! In addition, we were able to give each of the children three outfits, pj’s, and a toy. It is now much easier for both parents to work, they can go places as a family, and the mom intends to finish her college degree.  Through your donations and prayers, they now have renewed hope.  
As always, we know you have many choices when giving.  We are grateful you have chosen Desana.  Every dollar always goes directly to the projects. Thank you so much!
Kathi Gilleland