GraceWorks Ministries

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The Power of a Volunteer

Volunteer work can open our eyes to the need of others and inspires us to help as we can.

Gloria Carter went a step further.

Required by her Catholic schools to do volunteer service, Gloria chose to help the hungry. She volunteered at the GraceWorks Food Pantry and another food provider in Nashville. She enjoyed helping people get the food they needed – until December 2019 when her eyes were opened wide.  

The Nashville food pantry ran low on potatoes. She was helping an older man find the produce he needed when they came to the potato bin. Inventory was so low, each family could have only one potato to ensure there would be enough to go around. The man begged for two potatoes, even offering to trade some of his other food for it. But Gloria had to refuse.

That was the day Gloria’s heart broke.

She could have gone home, shrugged her shoulders, thinking that is just the way it is. Or cried a little, said a prayer for the man and then gone on with her life. But Gloria chose differently.

She and her mother live with her grandparents on a farm. Gloria asked her 82-year-old grandfather if he would expand the family garden to provide enough produce to share.

He quickly agreed, and a family project was born. This past summer, the family doated more than 1,200 pounds of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, garlic and 5 pounds of hickory nuts, with the majority going to GraceWorks. Gloria’s grandfather searched for a winter crop and was able to send 500 pounds of turnips and turnip greens this month as well.

All this happened because a young girl saw a need and used her ability to fill it.

Pressed by her mother to choose a cute name for the project, Gloria chose simply “Our Garden,” signifying not only the entire family’s efforts but also the families who receive the bounty.

GraceWorks is in need of other volunteers to help our neighbors in their struggle. We have various positions available in the Food Pantry, Thrift Store, neighbor interviews and more. If you would like to make a difference in other lives, please contact our Volunteer Relations Manager Erin Saurers at

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