But then Candy experienced depression, a chronic depression that wouldn’t let up. She didn’t want to use medication, but at the same time, the illness was crippling her, and she wondered if this was the end of her life as she knew it.
One day, she was speaking with a man. “You need to meet some people with real problems,” he told her. “Can you cook?”
She said yes then went home and made a pot of jambalaya. She took the stew and went to the Jefferson Street Bridge in Nashville, where a large number of the city’s homeless people live. What she experienced there changed her life.
“I found beautiful, gracious people who didn’t care if I was a gospel singer. They just wanted to know, ‘Will your gospel work for me’?”
Candy founded the Bridge Ministry in Nashville. For 15 years, she and other volunteers have met under the Jefferson Street Bridge every Tuesday to feed and clothe those living nearby, as well as have a time of music and worship.
“It’s what gets me up in the morning,” Candy said.
My brother and I went to the bridge last night. I expected a handful of volunteers, something small. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Hundreds of volunteers were there early. Schools had come from around the south, as far as Atlanta, to help out.
In total, over 1,000 volunteers and guests gathered under the bridge. I fought back tears most of the night, as we met and served the guests, sat with them, and listed to the band play. Candy would invite anyone willing to come up and sing. Some of the voices heard last night could melt even the prickliest of hearts.
Living in L.A., which has the nation’s highest percentage of homeless residents, I thought I was immune to surprise. But I nearly gasped when learning of Nashville’s homeless statistics.
There are 11,000 displaced women and men in the area, and 4,000 of those are children. In Davidson County, 3,000 homeless children are enrolled in the school system.
“It’s not just chronically homeless anymore,” Candy said. “It’s families with children and single parents, trying to connect the dots. The dynamic has completely changed in the last eight years.”
Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
What I saw last night were those words being put to action. The Holy Ghost was swarming on that bridge last night. It was the gospel in a painting, Jesus’s words being brought to action.
For more information, visit Bridge Ministry. If visiting the Nashville area, check it out, Tuesday nights at 6 pm.