One Saturday earlier this Spring, several members of the JP Events team cooked enough pasta bolognese to feed 200 people and headed to Tent City under Nashville’s Jefferson Street bridge.
It’s one of the homeless encampments that have cropped over the course of the past year as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on our economy and the ability of people to do the most basic things, like keep a roof over their heads and feed their families. I knew we could help with that last part, so we did.
That day, there were other organizations who came to provide clothes and toiletries. Mission615, the church that brought us all together, held a brief church service. Music played. It was chilly and damp, but the people who came were so appreciative. Everyone got a warm meal. Everyone got a cookie (or 3), and everyone who came hungry left full. I felt good about that. We all felt good about that.
At the same time, we realized how fortunate we are. Our business has suffered its share of challenges this past year, and yet we all got to go home that day. We all got to stay warm and dry. We all got to eat more than just one meal. a
We’ve done this sort of work since the start of JP Events. I always knew that if we were touting a commitment to service, serving our community had to be a part of that. It goes back to what I learned growing up: If you have it to give, you give it, and you don’t expect anything in return. Now, with my business, I want to leave a legacy of good customer service and good community service because I believe when the need hits hard, you’ve got to give back.
Each time we’ve done something in the community — whether that’s providing meals or volunteering or making donations — I’m filled with joy. I’m happy to be able to give. My team is, too. But the other day at Tent City, I was overcome by another emotion. It was part frustration, part sadness and part anger. We live in the richest country in the world, and yet there are so many people who don’t have access to the most basic necessities. These are individuals and children and families, and they deserve more.
There are big problems plaguing our society — problems made far worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t have enough shelters. We don’t have enough job training. We don’t have enough educational opportunities. Most people hover just one and a half paychecks away from homelessness. They’re hanging on by a thread. My thread just happens to be a little bit longer.
For that, I am grateful, but I also know that fate could just as easily be mine if certain things hadn’t worked out in my favor. None of us is immune to hardship. That means none of us should be above reaching out a hand to help.
I’m committed to being part of a solution for our homeless men, women and children. Right now, that means providing meals and service wherever and whenever we can. It also means rallying other businesses to do the same (if you’re a business owner, that means you). In time, I hope to do even more. As our business comes back from the challenges of the past year, we want to grow and, in the process, create job opportunities for these individuals. We need to build our logistics team, and we have new projects in the works. And I need people who want to work. I met some of those people at Tent City the other day, and while I know they appreciated the food, I know they’d appreciate a job even more. With a job, people can find housing. They can get their children back in school. They can get back their dignity and build their confidence. That’s the type of impact we want to have as a company.
Even though we give with no expectation of anything in return, it would be great if all these efforts produce a success story — even if it’s just one person. Then, hopefully, that one person pays it forward to create more transformation across our community.
But one person at a time is a good start.
Yours in service,
CEO & Founder
About JP Events
“Since 2008, JP Events has served Nashville and the surrounding metro county areas as the premier all-inclusive event planning and production company providing full-service catering, cake & pastry design, floral design & arrangements, event planning & coordination, event rentals, bar & beverage services, and more. Whether it’s a wedding, corporate event, or special occasion, we curate every detail to perfection to ensure a seamless, effortless experience that leaves every client, and their guests, smiling.”