“What can I do? I’m only one person!” In the face of a daunting social problem like homelessness, many people feel overwhelmed and turn away in despair. But here in Nashville in 1985 one person took peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to a cluster of homeless people seeking shelter against the cold in a church parking lot and invited them in. That one-person act of kindness was the start of Room In The Inn.
From the first of November through the end of March each year, West End United Methodist Church hosts 12 homeless men every Wednesday night, providing them safe overnight shelter, warm meals, and a grace-filled welcome. Across Nashville and some of the neighboring communities, 200 congregations step up and provide over 31,000 warm beds a year seven nights every week during the coldest months.
Listen to this short interview with Kay Gray to find out more about what happens each week and how you can be involved.
Room In The Inn
Room In The Inn’s downtown Campus grew out of the initial winter shelter efforts, opened in 1995, and in 2010 moved to 45,000 square foot facility, where they support the whole person through programs that emphasize health, education, self-help, employment, recuperative care, and long-term housing, in addition to providing shelter from the cold through the hospitality of area faith groups.
Room In The Inn’s core values are familiar to Christ-followers: “Through the power of spirituality and the practice of love, we provide hospitality with a respect that offers hope in a community of non-violence.”
What started when one person gave in to God’s call rather than to despair has now become an effective means of God’s grace for both persons experiencing homelessness and for volunteers extending hospitality. Having grown from one congregation to nearly 200 in Nashville alone, Room In The Inn has also been the model for similar programs in 37 other cities. When one person steps out in faith—with the power of The One—lives are transformed.