Providing over 10,000 beds

to unhoused neighbors in Wilson County

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Our Story

In 2012, a group of Christians set out to make sure nobody froze to death in Wilson County. God blessed that effort. Since then, over 40 churches from 16 traditions have contributed to a ministry that has provided over 10,000 beds and 20,000 meals to hundreds of neighbors. Along the way, God broke down walls and built surprising friendships.   
God keeps expanding our vision!From sheltering unhoused neighbors in the winter to making efforts to end homelessness year-round. We are working with guests and community leaders to confront the issues that cause homelessness. In 2018, we developed a strategic plan that included a goal to acquire a facility to serve as office & ministry space. 
And then… 2020!  The year started with churches hosting overnight guests through the winter. We provided 2,085 beds, along with 5,100 meals, clothes, toiletries, and lots of friendship, encouragement and prayer. Best of all, we helped 20 guests move into stable housing as we worked toward our dream of ending homelessness in Wilson County.  
Then a tornado hit on March 3,  throwing Compassionate Hands into storm relief. It stretched our team to add a second ministry focus overnight. We learned that God’s preferred future was for us to serve new neighbors in new ways. That was good preparation for what came next…

COVID created more damage than the tornado. People got sick, lost income, and lived in fear. We got so many calls for help! Our ministry had never paid for rent or hotels, but the needs were valid, and we had money in savings. We discerned that God was expanding our vision again, so we decided to help neighbors through this crisis too. Where God guides, God provides… we qualified for CARES Act reimbursements for those costs!

As we looked toward winter shelters, God stretched us again...The shelter plan that worked for seven winters was not adequate for a pandemic. A team studied CDC guidelines for limiting the spread of germs in shelters and recommended two large sites that could be sanitized daily, with additional staff to implement new procedures. 

By July, a plan was in motion... Compassionate Hands hired Allen Tack as Director of Ministry Services.  The Glade Church offered a wonderful facility to house women. We searched for a site to shelter 40 men and came up empty - no churches, no government buildings, no suitable rentals. 
Days before we planned to sign a lease, 214 North College Street hit the market. It was large enough to shelter the men, and it could be ready by December 1. We purchased it on November 2 and opened a month later! 

The Compassionate Hands Center for Hope and Renewal will serve as the men’s shelter through winter 2020-21 and a multi-purpose ministry center for years to come.  We are grateful for God’s blessing and guidance, as well as for the support and prayers of generous individuals, churches, and businesses who made this dream a reality. 

Our vision is that the Wilson County community of faith be Christ’s
hands & feet to neighbors in need.
Our mission is to provide opportunities to serve, support, advocate,
and befriend neighbors in need.
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Our Services

We need you! Our program requires 175 volunteer hours every night.
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For 105 winter days, guests receive a hot dinner, breakfast, and lunch to go.

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Our current men's shelter on College Street and our women's shelter, at  Gladeville Church, provide guests a warm place to stay during the coldest nights of the year.

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Volunteers provide shuttle services to and from shelters each day, In addition, we are grateful to kind hearted volunteers who drive guests to work and doctor's appointments.

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Cleaning Services

Our shelter sites offer hot showers and
laundry facilities.

How to help

the homeless crisis

“Homeless. Hungry. God bless.” Do you look away or hand over cash?

Why is now the time?

So much good has occurred. God has blessed our work – protecting us from serious mistakes and providing everything we need, but we see signs of slippage. Even though 2017-18 was a successful season, we started the year lacking shelters (17 out of 21), we shuffled registrars at mid-year, and there were bus issues several nights.  Plus, we saw the same guests staying multiple nights without taking steps to improve. We care about our guests so we want to help them find stable housing. We can do better, and now is the time to start.

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Homelessness Statistics

3.5 million people homeless

There are currently 3.5 million people that experience homelessness in a given year in the United States alone.

600,000 homeless every night

Almost 600,000 men, women, and children are homeless each night in the United States.

Over 8,000 people a night experience homelessness in Tennessee

Each and every night somewhere in the state of Tennessee 8,000+ people will experience homelessness.

In Wilson County, Compassionate Hands provides beds for over 134 individuals each winter

In 2019-20, 98 men and 36 women spent at least one night in a Compassionate Hands shelter.

"Compassionate Hands has been such a blessing. God will be adding jewels to your crowns as well to hand over to the feet of Jesus"

- Wilson County tornado survivor

"We have a wonderful little girl in our congregation who took up a collection of gift cards for the homeless at her birthday party."

Compassionate Hands Volunteer

Ongoing Events

Friday Night Dinners
What: Food, Showers (Weather Permitting), and More
When: Every Friday at 5:30. Last meal of the season is 11/30/20.
Where: Spain House - 411 W. Main Street
Dec. 1 - March 15
What: Shelters Open Every Night
Partner Meetings
What: Partner Church Meeting
When: 7 p.m. on Monday evenings
Where: Spain House - 411 W. Main Street
Email to be added to the list.
Sunday Meal & More
What: Outreach Opportunity with All For Him
When: Every Sunday starting at 4 p.m.
Where: Cumberland Center Blvd Lebanon

Hot Food, Sleeping Bags, Tarps, Clothing, Showers, Bus Passes, Work Shoes & Uniforms, Recources for Recovery, Love & Conversation with people who care

SPEcial Events

October 23, 2020
What: Compassionate Hands Chili Cookoff
When: 5:00
Where: Spain House - 411 W. Main Street | Lebanon

the homeless crisis

As long as poverty persists, we all have a job to do. It doesn't take much to change a life. Start making a difference today.