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Neighbors return for food, feedback as Trinity Community Commons opens its doors after fire

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Posted at 8:47 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 22:32:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Four months after Trinity Community Commons was damaged in a fire, the non-profit welcomed neighbors inside the church space for food and feedback.

Church officials say the help to continue giving out meals has been overwhelming but Tuesday night's meal was unlike any they’ve hosted before.

Local chef Nashville chef Juan Kirby heard about their efforts and decided to prepare a meal of his own. More than 100 people were served the vegan meal. It was also the first chance had to walk through the church in months.

Nate Paulk says he knew how much this church meant to the people of this Nashville community. But what he didn't know was to what extent people were willing to work and bring this place back to even a shell of what it once was.

“Even after the fire, we were still able to give people food. We haven’t missed a week," said Paulk, Executive Director, Trinity Community Commons.

He said work began quickly after the fire and "hasn’t stopped" since.

“This has always been more than just about calories. It’s been about creating a connection with any and everybody who comes into this space. Not just with the meal, but with everything we do,” Paulk said.

Tosan Cunningham grew up in this neighborhood and now works to help connect people with the services TCC has to offer now and some they hope to offer in the future. They’ve already found solutions to salvage their virtual learning program for students working remotely.

“Let’s figure out who needs help as far as jobs, who need shelter, who need rent assistance, who needs anything that our community needed before the fire," said Cunningham.

Tuesday’s meals are just one example of something they know they never want to lose. As for everything else, they’ve asked people to tour the building and offer feedback for they want to in this reimagined place.

After all, it’s never been about the property, but the people who make this home.

“This has always been more than just about calories. It’s been about creating a connection with any and everybody who comes into space. Not just with the meal but with everything we do," said Cunningham.