This past weekend, our crew at Puckett’s 5th & Church was gifted a special kind of holiday memory.
The place was packed Sunday evening with men from the Nashville Rescue Mission’s life-recovery program, guys who’ve worked with the organization to get back on their feet after experiencing addiction, abuse or some other life-debilitating situation. We collaborated with the Mission to host a private, sit-down dinner with an accompanying live performance from The Renegades—and it was a more joyful experience than we could have ever anticipated.
Let’s backtrack for a second. When the team at Puckett’s 5th & Church was brainstorming about ways to give back during the Christmas season, several of the staff members mentioned the Mission. We’re all familiar with the Mission and its programs through past projects, and know what a difference they make for the hungry and the homeless. Just working downtown gives us a front-row seat to the challenges they face every day, and it hits close to home. Our Director of Operations Claire Crowell reached out to Lee Ann Dichtel, the Mission’s marketing director, and they immediately set this event up.
The night started out with the 75-plus men filing in—all smartly dressed—and digging into plates piled high with pulled pork BBQ, Southern fried catfish and our special Chiliburger. Our all-volunteer staff spent time with each table, getting to know the guys and sometimes, sitting down to hear their stories.
After cobbler and coffee, the Renegades took the stage. Let’s start out by saying this group is not your average praise and worship band. The small man getting down on the harmonica all night? That was none other than Charlie McCoy, a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and musician who’s played on the records of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and more.
By the time the group’s hour-long set was over with, there wasn’t a man left in a chair. The whole room was clapping and singing to the likes of Collective Soul’s “Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Some were even dancing—we caught a fun moment with Tyrus and Michael on film (see below)!
The most emotional part of the night was one of the closing songs, “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin. Lee Ann said it’s a Mission favorite, and it stopped the whole room. Every man was on his feet, most singing along with our staff members.
From the moment the menus were passed out to the last tune, the night felt like a celebration…. A party for these guys and what they’ve accomplished. It was a special experience for both the men and our Puckett’s family: Program Director Curray Womack told us than in his 23-year experience with the Mission, the guys have never had a night like this one.
There was fellowship and and there was service, but I think everyone at Puckett’s that night would agree that we were the ones who were ultimately served.
More About the Mission
The Mission is dedicated to helping the hungry and homeless, and offers programs that focus on spiritual growth, education, employment and life-recovery. The men’s life-recovery program uses a Christ-centered approach to helping men 18 years and older resolve personal problems and chemical addictions.