NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A burrito ministry that delivers dinner on a bike twice a week to people experiencing homelessness is marking 10 years in Memphis and Nashville.
"The idea is to build relationships and to offer them really a listening ear because they don't often get that and you know, when you've had a bad day, you need to vent and you need to talk about it and we kind of like to just be good listeners if people need that," explained Urban Bicycle Food Ministry Founder Tommy Clark.
Clark started making burritos two nights a week for the homeless community when he was a pastor in Memphis and continued the ministry when he moved to Nashville in 2016.
"I love doing this and it's become a big part of my life," he explained. "For every person that we meet with on the on the street, there's a bigger story behind that situation."
A group of volunteers meet Clark at his church, West Nashville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, every Monday and Thursday afternoon to make nearly 200 burritos.
Clark brings those burritos to Christ Church Cathedral on Broadway in downtown Nashville where about 20 volunteers on bicycles meet him and fill their backpacks with food before setting out to find those who might be looking for dinner.
"We enjoy doing it. We feel like there's a need. Our friends and neighbors on the streets, they like to see us two nights a week and we feel like there's a need to give out meals and with those, the other items that we hand out, you know, we send out toiletries, blankets and some clothing during the wintertime as well... so we just kind of follow up with two nights a week, we can do that," explained Clark. "[For example] on Monday night if someone says, 'I can really use a new pair of shoes,' you can say, ‘OK. I'm gonna try to find you some shoes and I'll have them for you on Thursday.’"
Amber first learned about the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry when she was living on the streets in Memphis.
"They always come in the same exact area. They know our friends. They call them by their names. And they know like if you need something," she said. "They're consistent, very consistent... always there and they don't turn their backs on you."
After years of living on the streets, Amber said it was such a relief to be able to count on a meal and have some steady friendships.
"You can give them a hug and they know who you are," she explained.
"I think people need to know that love and kindness is real and it's there. And yeah, we're hoping that it's contagious," Clark said.
The ministry is always looking for volunteers, food donations and toiletries.
To learn more about Urban Bicycle Food Ministry and how you can donate, visit their website.