Healing for the Soul
Tucked away in two small buildings in south Franklin, and one in Fairview, is an organization providing so much care, compassion and love for its neighbors in Williamson County, it can literally take your breath away. Yes, Williamson County, the seventh richest county in the United States and also the wealthiest when it comes to helping neighbors in need.
Meet GraceWorks Ministries, founded in 1995 when concerned area residents and faith leaders came together and decided Williamson County needed a central place where people could go for help with food, clothing and financial assistance. Church resources combined with private and public sectors, and GraceWorks was born.
Today, GraceWorks has expanded upon these relationships to establish a referral network with other agencies providing help for immediate and long-term needs. GraceWorks consists of four programs making up the acronym F.I.S.H. — Family Support, Instructional Programs, Seasonal Needs and Hunger Prevention. 9,722 Williamson County neighbors were served by the GraceWorks program this past fiscal year (July 2017 – June 2018).
516 households in threat of eviction received financial assistance
1,534 households received financial assistance to keep heat, water and other essentials on
197 homeless neighbors were provided temporary shelter or transportation to a shelter
60-plus families received multiple weeks of free financial guidance mentoring
183 mentor instructional hours provided to families in need
4,021 people received Christmas gifts through the holiday program, the Manger
2,400 children given backpacks filled with school supplies
446 families received free tax preparation, providing $304,983 in returns
8,665 neighbors received food
5,081 food carts left GraceWorks for food pantries to fill neighbors’ kitchens
10 community mobile food pantries filled 6,900 trunks of food for neighbors in Franklin, Fairview, Cottage Grove and other communities
“GraceWorks formed because we had a problem to solve. A person had to go to many different churches and service organizations to get help,” says Alicia Bell, GraceWorks’ director of development. “We are blessed to inherit the wise solution our founders imagined nearly 25 years ago. Now we have two community centers where someone in need can access many different resources simultaneously. This type of wraparound care is now recognized as some of the most effective and preventative work we can do to alleviate poverty, and our community had been doing it for 24 years.”
GraceWorks West opened its doors five years ago, with a poverty rate more than double that of Williamson County; 8.3 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
GraceWorks Thrift Stores raised more than $1 million for GraceWorks programs this past fiscal year. Every item purchased helps change the lives of your Williamson County neighbors.
“GraceWorks is a place where neighbors who can help walk alongside neighbors in need of help. It truly is Williamson County’s community resource center, connecting your time, your resources and your financial donations with those in our community who need it most. We are so grateful to serve this community with GraceWorks,” says Valencia Breckenridge, GraceWorks’ president and CEO.
GraceWorks is a United Way of Williamson County agency and a member of Community Foundation of Middle TN, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN, Williamson County Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Nonprofit Management. GraceWorks Ministries received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the most-utilized charity evaluator in America. It has also earned the 2018 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, which provides information on 2.5 million nonprofit organizations. Both ratings are the highest awarded.
Eighty-nine percent of every donation to GraceWorks went directly into programs this past year, thanks in large part to the generous work of volunteers who donated 88,678 hours, changing not only the lives of neighbors, but their own lives as well.
For more information, visit GraceWorksMinistries.net.
104 Southeast Parkway, Franklin, 615.794.9055
2382 Fairview Blvd., Fairview, 615.799.0006
Thrift store hours
Franklin: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Fairview: 9:30 a.m. –2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.– p.m. Saturday