By Brittany Selbert
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans joined forces with Second Harvest Food Bank Tuesday evening to assist The Bridge Ministry, serving hundreds of homeless people under Nashville's Jefferson Street Bridge in commemoration of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Bridge Ministry was founded 10 years ago out of a desire to help feed and clothe the homeless of Nashville. The organization shows its support for the homeless every Tuesday night regardless of the weather.
The Titans teamed up with the Bridge Ministry and Second Harvest Food Bank to assist hundreds of homeless people during Thanksgiving week under Nashville's Jefferson Street Bridge. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
"I founded the organization many years ago out of the trunk of my car with a pot of jambalaya because I was severely depressed," said Candy Christmas, founder and president of The Bridge Ministry. "I had lost my appetite and was losing a great deal of weight when an elderly gentleman told me there were homeless people that lived under the bridge and that it might cheer me up if I came down and served them. Little did I know how much my life would change and now I like to say that the homeless people have done more for me than I could ever do for them."
More than 100 volunteers from the Titans organization, including players, cheerleaders, the Titans Women's Association and staff participated under the bridge to provide hot meals, toiletries, groceries and clothing.
Titans safety George Wilson addressed the crowd on behalf of the players and does tremendous work in the community himself.
"When you're helping somebody else, helping to put a smile on someone else's face, it makes you feel good as well. So what better way than to spend our day off in the community helping those less-fortunate, to have a better Thanksgiving experience. This is the very same community that supports us throughout the entire season, so what better way to express our gratitude than to be out here with them tonight."
Following the meal, the homeless received their usual goodies of groceries, toiletries and clothing, but also received Titans apparel. Each person received a Titans sweatshirt, scarf, hat, and gloves distributed by ladies of the Tennessee Titans Women's Association.
As the night concluded, Titans owner Tommy Smith and members of the Smith family presented The Bridge Ministry with a $25,000 check to continue their long-standing efforts providing services to Nashville's less-fortunate population.
Thanksgiving is a time of gratification and celebration. For the Titans that's coming together in a way that can make the most meaningful impact.
Mission Possible Turkey Fry**
In addition to the Bridge visit, a few of our Titans players and Titans Cheerleaders visited the Nashville Rescue Mission to participate in the Tracy Lawrence Mission Possible Turkey Fry. Beau Brinkley, Brett Kern, Jake Locker, Andy Levitre and Nate Washington all came out to support the event and dropped a few turkeys in the fryer.
"There's a lot of people in need and a lot people that don't have the opportunity," said Titans wide receiver Nate Washington. "It's our job to give whatever way we can; to continue to give our time, to continue to give our hope to them. Our hard work is a little hope for them, so we've got to continue to believe that and continue to give whatever we can."
The Mission Possible Turkey Fry will provide approximately 600 turkeys for the Thanksgiving main course for not only the Nashville Rescue Mission, but for assisted living facilities in Wilson County. The Titans are proud to have participated in an event that has impacted not only Nashville but in other areas of the state.
Titans players and cheerleaders help out at Tracy Lawrence's 9th annual Mission Possible Turkey Fry. (Photos: Joshua Love)