A new year means a chance for new beginnings, and one way to make a change is to get involved with a local nonprofit.
Wilson County has dozens of charitable organizations working within the community to help those in need. Here are a few of the ways people can pitch in during 2021.
Wilson County Habitat for Humanity (606 E. Main St., Lebanon)
Four homes are slated for building through Wilson County Habitat for Humanity this year, and the community is always welcome to help their new neighbors with construction.
“We’ll be putting the word out for volunteers, and the best thing for people to do is keep a lookout on our website and Facebook page,” Veronica Mallicoat with Wilson County Habitat for Humanity said. “We’ll be building two homes in May and June, and another two between September and October.”
Another major goal for Habitat this year is to build a new location for its ReStore, a furniture resale outlet that accepts donations from the community and local businesses. Proceeds go toward the organization’s home builds.
“We’re mainly looking for companies to donate items for that,” Mallicoat said. “We’ve had one open here for about 16 years, but it closed last year because the existing facility is too small … that’s a big community endeavor, and we may need volunteer groups to help us transport things from the old location to the new one.”
Habitat does not have a location slated for the new ReStore, and the organization is searching for warehouse space it can potentially rent out.
People can also support the nonprofit through its events like Houses of Hope in April or the Wilson County Habitat for Humanity Golf Challenge in October.
To learn more about opportunities for getting involved with Wilson County Habitat for Humanity, contact Mallicoat at 615-964-6595 or email@example.com.
Compassionate Hands (214 N. College St., Lebanon)
Despite facing a volunteer shortage brought on by COVID-19, Compassionate Hands has pushed forward with its mission to shelter local homeless people through the winter months.
But the organization is still seeing a need for volunteers, especially those able to stay overnight in its shelters. This year’s season runs through March 15.
“We’re holding on,” Director of Ministry Development Shelia Weathers said. “But there’s much need for volunteers … we like to have three hosts spend the night each night. Another thing that is a need for the shelters is people to do laundry, because each day we have laundry like the sheets and the blankets, and it’s a lot.”
Bus drivers to transport people to the shelters are another high priority, and there are also opportunities for groups to sponsor a meal each night.
“We are constantly in need of bus drivers when our regular ones are unavailable or backed up,” Weathers said. “And it sounds minor, but right now one of our biggest needs is razors for the men, shaving cream, lip balm and really insulated mesh gloves.”
To learn more about opportunities for getting involved with Compassionate Hands, call 615-784-9897 or email compassionatehandsTN@gmail.com. Those looking to donate items can also order from the organization’s Amazon wish list at https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/VLGDACSGXQ7Q?ref_=wl_share.
Jesus Provisions Ministries (505 Sunset Court, Mt. Juliet)
Jesus Provisions Ministries maintains a food pantry that feeds 20-30 families a week and counting in the Mt. Juliet area.
The nonprofit doubles as a church without a building, and its members help feed as many as 300 of Nashville’s downtown homeless population every Sunday after traveling there for services.
“We meet at our home first and then travel out together,” Care Coordinator Kerry Wilson said. “That way there aren’t people out there waiting by themselves.”
Wilson said the church is seeing an increased demand for food service, which means a need for more donations to the food pantry. Nonperishables are the highest priority, but they also have a freezer for items like milk and eggs.
“Right now I’m working on doing a food drive,” Care Coordinator Kerry Wilson said. “People can help support that food drive either by giving monetarily, dropping off food at the center here or even setting up a food drive at their local business. They can volunteer in the food pantry itself, or in downtown Nashville on Sundays with us.”
The church also works on different causes throughout the year, like adopting families for Christmas, and typically partners with other organizations on those projects.
“We took the month of January off because November and December were crazy busy,” Wilson said, noting that church members met Friday evening to prepare plans for the year. “None of us take a paycheck for what we do … all of the money that’s donated into the ministry goes back to the community.”
To learn more about opportunities for getting involved with Jesus Provisions Ministries, contact Wilson at 615-424-9422.
New Leash on Life (507 Jim Draper Blvd., Lebanon)
Animal lovers have plenty of ways to help their furry friends through New Leash on Life, a local animal shelter and spay/neuter clinic.
“They can do anything from general housekeeping to dog walking to socializing,” Director Angela Chapman said, adding that clinic volunteers can also help staff get ready to perform surgery. “Everything can be shown or trained or picked up pretty easily.”
There are three shifts for volunteers (10 a.m. to noon, noon to 2 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.), and those interested need to schedule ahead of time because the shelter only allows one person to help per shift.
Needs vary depending on the day of the week and what people are interested in doing, and people can pitch in for longer at off-site adoption events.
“We are always looking for cat team people to help out at PetSmart, and then we have dog team people that go offsite for adoptions on Sundays,” Chapman said. “Those don’t have quite as many restrictions because you’re working alone or in smaller groups, so we can have longer shifts for those.”
Minors can also help at New Leash on Life as long as their parents come with them the first time they work, which provides a chance for students to gain volunteer experience.
To learn more about opportunities for getting involved with New Leash on Life, call 615-444-1144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilson County Community Help Center (203 W. High St., Lebanon)
The Wilson County Community Help Center offers a variety of services, from a food pantry and free clothing items to assistance with prescriptions and gas.
That means there’s always a need for volunteers, and plenty for them to do. The center is facing a particular need for sheets, towels and meat for the food pantry, and there are several opportunities for people to spend time working there.
“We can always use volunteers for a multitude of things,” Director Carmella Ingram said. “They could be hanging clothes and putting them on the rack, stocking our shelves with our thrift, they could even be picking up trash out of the parking lot. There’s just so many things.”
Each day’s work at the help center contributes to assistance for thousands of people in the community. Ingram said that in 2019, they served more than 33,000 meals, contributed $31,847 in utility payments and provided clothing to 2,191 families.
Figures for 2020 are still being completed, but Ingram said the number of people in need between the tornado and the pandemic means the center offered even more assistance last year despite having to spend some time closed down.
“As of right now we’re back to normal,” Ingram said. “Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
To learn more about opportunities for getting involved with the Wilson County Community Help Center, call 615-449-1856.
There are many more civic organizations active in Wilson County, and those interested can visit the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce’s online nonprofit directory to find out more about each of them.