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Thanksgiving and Christmas Volunteer Opportunities in Nashville


Thursday November 18, 2021

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Earlier this month, we posted a list of the upcoming holiday festivities in Nashville. We also wanted to use our platform to highlight something more important: namely, exciting volunteer opportunities in our fair city. Whether you’re visiting to connect with family or have lived here for years, we invite you to consider giving back this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Nashville Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities

 

Farm Friday at Mill Ride Park

Antioch is getting a new park! Mill Ridge Park is set to occupy over 600 acres of nature, right in the heart of Davidson County. Supporters hope that this area will help to strengthen bonds in the community – between residents, their neighbors, and nature. Farm Fridays are a great opportunity to help improve the farmhouse and farmyard at Mill Ridge Park. Volunteer alone or in a group to remove invasive plants, pick up trash, repair structures and fences, or plant and mulch trees.

Host: Friends of Mill Ridge Park

Date and Time: 11/19, 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM

 

GraceWorks Ministries Turkey Trot

Every year, GraceWorks hosts a Turkey Trot 5k and 10k on Thanksgiving Day! This is one of their most important fundraisers of the year, and all volunteers will be finished by 11:00 AM (leaving plenty of time for family fun). If you sign up to work this event in Franklin, you can help with set up, tear down, handing out goodies, directing routes, and passing out water to the runners.

Host: GraceWorks Ministries

Date and Time: 11/25, 6:00 AM to 10:30 AM

 

Dinner at the Hospitality House

Hospital Hospitality House provides weekly meals for families on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This place serves as a home away from home for patients and caregivers in Nashville area hospitals. HHH stays include meals, lodging, and supportive services. If you own a restaurant or have any culinary flair, this could be a great chance to give back to the community. HHH asks that the dinner be able to feed 30 adults – that’s the number of residents they host at any given time. There are no dietary restrictions.

Host: C. Wright Pinson Hospital Hospitality House of Nashville

Date and Time: 11/23, 11/25, 11/30, 12/2, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

 

Share a Meal with Dismas House

Dismas House offers case management, clinical support, life skills training, and fellowship for formerly incarcerated men who are seeking second chances. Their motto is “More than a chance: a change.” On Thursdays, the Nashville Food Project provides fresh, healthy food for Dismas House residents. As a volunteer, all you have to do is bring yourself and enjoy dinner and conversation with this community.

Host: Dismas House of Nashville

Date and Time: 11/25, 6:00 PM to 7:09 PM

 

Christmas Coat Drives, Hygiene Kits, and More

 

Cheekwood Holiday Lights

Remember Cheekwood from our holiday activities post? We’ve found a way to see the lights and promote a good cause. If you sign up for this event, you’ll serve as a greeter or way finder for this seasonal display. As a bonus, volunteers will be granted free access to the event after their shifts. Cheekwood asks that each participant be 16 or older, wear a mask while indoors, and show proof of COVID vaccination.

Host: Cheekwood Estate & Gardens

Dates: Every day except 12/25, 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM or 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

 

Family Holiday Drive-Thru Extravaganza

That’s right, we’ve got an extravaganza on the docket. Are you one with the holiday spirit? Do you love nothing more than decking the halls? The Family Center is seeking volunteers to help them string lights, decorate for Christmas, and pass out gift bags to their families. They need people for both of their locations – in Nashville and Murfreesboro – so if it fills up, you still may be able to have fun for a cause. The Family Center provides a safe space for parents and children to cope with trauma and break multi-generational cycles of child neglect and abuse.

Host: The Family Center of Tennessee

Date and Time: 12/11 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, or 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

 

Donating Items

For many of us, the holidays are a time to appreciate just how much we have – and to give back however we can. There are many Nashville-area nonprofits who have requested items like toiletries, winter coats, and other supplies for this season.

Bethlehem Centers of Nashville needs women’s socks, large print books, wipes, dishwashing liquid, batteries, and deodorant.

Building Lives has asked for materials for “welcome home kits” that they give to veterans who move into permanent housing (sheets, pillows, shower liners, cutlery, and other household items are included on their list here).

CommuniServe has requested senior supplies like walkers, canes, and adult diapers.

Fannie Battle Day Home for Children asks for donations of school supplies, including crayons, glue, markers, notebook paper, and pencils. Click here for the full list.

Morning Star Sanctuary has recurring needs for their emergency shelter, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrushes, soap, deodorant, and bus passes.

Mother to Mothers is always looking for new or gently used baby gear, including strollers, high chairs, pack-n-plays, and car seats. You can also donate wipes, formula, baby clothes, and diapers.

Poverty and the Arts is in search of art supplies, including canvases, colored pencils, pastels, paint pens, markers, frames, mat board, and jewelry-making supplies.

Second Harvest Food Bank needs non-perishable items. Canned goods, peanut butter, rice, and pasta are at the top of their list.

The Nashville Food Project is also in need of food items, many of which are seasonal. They’ve requested olive oil, fresh fruit, graham crackers, nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews), pumpkin seeds, honey, cranberries, canned pumpkin, and unsweetened applesauce.

YWCA requests one-day MTA bus passes, gift cards for gas, full-size toiletries, soup bowls, and full- or twin-size bed linens.

 

We hope that this list has inspired you to volunteer or donate during this holiday season. Webconsuls is a digital agency based in Nashville, TN.

Reading Time: 9 minutes

‘Tis (almost) the season! As the time for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and other festivities draws nearer, the Webconsuls team wanted to find the best holiday activities in Nashville. If you’re looking for family fun or small business shopping, browse the calendar below.

East Nashville Night Market

Do you love shopping local? Are you sad about it getting dark at 5 PM? Do you want something fun to do during one of those too-early nights? We recommend the East Nashville Night Market! Each month, more than sixty local vendors gather to sell boutique clothing, plants, vintage items, art, and more! Complete with food trucks, bar fare, and live music, these are always can’t-miss events. The last Night Market of the season takes place on December 3rd and, since it’s getting cold out, it’ll take place inside. Entry and parking are free, and dogs are welcome!

Date: 12/3
Time: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Christmas Pop-Up Bars

This is probably one of the best trends to emerge in Music City. Each November and December, a handful of Nashville bars transform into winter wonderlands. Here are a few of our must-visit Christmas pop-up bars:

  • Reindeer Games (Headquarters Beercade in SoBro): 3D displays, countless ornaments, 2,000 feet of twinkle lights, life-size sleigh, and festive menu items. Guests under 21 are welcome on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00, and on Saturday from 11:00 to 2:00. You can also rent out the space for a private event.
  • Home Alone (Hidden Bar in the Noelle): They turn the bar into the house from Home Alone! Except there are snacks and cocktails.
  • Camp Bobby (Bobby Hotel): These rooftop igloos have already become famous around town, but Bobby Hotel has taken their winter wonderland a step further in 2021. This year, they’ve added a “frozen pond” where you can skate. Soak up those downtown views while you skate on a roof. Talk about a novel experience!
  • Saint Nicky’s (Nicky’s Coal Fired in The Nations): Running from Black Friday through the New Year, Nicky’s Coal Fired transforms into a holiday-themed pizzeria. Pop over for great food and to check out how they deck the halls – it’s something to see.
  • TBD: There are a few local businesses that usually offer holiday pop-up bars, but that haven’t yet announced any 2021 plans. These include L27 (a rooftop bar), Rosemary & Beauty Queen, Chopper Tiki, Dream Nashville, and Walden.

East Nash Holiday Bash

If you’re in the Five Points area between December 2nd and 4th, you’ve got to check out the Holiday Bash. Sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, this event has everything: live (holiday) music, family activities, campfires, festive cocktails, and an array of East Nashville vendors. Admission is free for all ages, with one exception. On the 3rd, guests can choose to purchase an upgraded Holiday Cocktail Bash ticket for $35 (basically, you’ll get five exclusive cocktails, special treats, and access to a build-your-own s’more station).

Here’s a quick list of all the fun they’re packing into this weekend:

  • Fire pits (with s’mores)
  • Wreath making
  • Letters to (and photos with) Santa
  • Tree decoration (BYOO – bring your own ornaments)
  • Ornament crafts (you can use these for the decoration!)
  • Holiday cocktails
  • Tree lighting ceremony

Dates: 12/2 – 12/4
Times: TBD

East Nashville Holiday Market

A recent addition to the EN holiday scene, the East Nashville Holiday Market has quickly become a community favorite. Beginning at the end of November, The Marketplace in East Nashville transforms into a showcase for local entrepreneurs and makers. The Marketplace is a giant venue – this converted warehouse spans over 30,000 square feet, which means there’s plenty of room for vendors and shoppers alike. Goods typically include candles, vinyl records, accessories, bath and body products, vintage clothing, and handmade jewelry. Santa will be available for photo ops with your little ones (and possibly dogs? We feel like it’s worth asking).

(Bonus: Events by The Marketplace in East Nashville always include a great selection of food trucks, so you can snack while you shop!)

Dates: 11/27, 11/28, 12/4, 12/5, 12/11, 12/12, 12/18, 12/19
Times: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Holiday Lights at Cheekwood

No event list is complete without Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. A staple of the Nashville area, this expansive property is decked out in stunning holiday lights beginning November 20th. This year, there’s a new addition: the Peppermint Path. Kids will love the reindeer village and s’mores stations, and adults will enjoy a selection of holiday spirits. This ticketed event usually goes quickly, so we advise you to pick up your tickets soon! Prices range from $9 to $26.

Dates: 7 days a week from 11/20 to 1/9, with the exception of Christmas Day
Times: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

 

We hope this list helps you to make some memories this season! Happy Holidays from the Webconsuls team.
Webconsuls is a digital marketing agency based in Nashville, TN.

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Every year, Nashville residents count down the days until the Tomato Art Festival: a bastion of the Middle Tennessee calendar. This observance bills itself as “a uniter, not a divider – bringing together fruits and vegetables since 2004.” The Tomato Fest and its associated concert are completely free to attend, and costumes are encouraged. Today, we’ve got your insider’s guide for can’t-miss activities in East Nashville’s favorite Five Points celebration.

 

The History of Tomato Fest

Founded in 2004, this beloved event was the brainchild of Meg and Bret MacFayden, owners of East Nashville’s former Art and Invention Gallery. When their first fruit-and-veg-themed art show achieved wild success, the duo decided to bring it back in 2005. From there, a flavorful local tradition was established. Every year, thousands of people gather to celebrate the creativity and spirit of East Nashville (and the humble tomato).

 

This Weekend’s Schedule

August 13th
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

August 14th
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

*NOTE: Some events, like the 5k and Kid’s Fun Run, will take place before the official start time.

 

Tomato Fest Contests

The Tomato Fest’s website says that the essence of the festival is found in the “wacky and hilarious contests” associated with the event, and we’d have to agree. Here are a few of our favorite competitions that take place over the course of the weekend:

 

Poetry Contest

Entrants were challenged to write engaging, amusing, non-rhyming poems about – what else – tomatoes. Categories included Heirlooms (adults), Greenhouse (youth), Funnies (humor), and Oddities (poems that don’t follow the haiku format).

The first place Greenhouse winner, 8-year-old Luca Whitson, wrote the haiku we’d like to share with you today:

Tomatoes are red
But they are more than just red
They are works of art

 

Home Decorating Contest

Like the poetry contest, this one has already been decided; be sure to get in on the action next year! Turn your front yard into a tomato-tastic display to win (but bring your A-game – there’s some serious competition).

Tomato Fest home decoration contest winners

Photo of 1st Place Winners Meg & Seth Williams of S 13th Street, Courtesy of the Tomato Art Fest

 

Tomato Fest Costume Contest

Have you got the quirkiest, funniest, reddest getup at the festival? Show it off at the Garden Stage at 1:00 PM for a chance to win this year’s costume contest! Be sure to register online before the day.

Categories include:

  • Best hat
  • Tomato talents
  • Kids
  • Best dressed
  • Red hair, don’t care
  • Other uniters

 

Beautiful Tomato Contest

You’ve heard of beauty pageants. Get ready for a tomato pageant. Bring all the glitz and glamour to your heirloom’s presentation – think showstopping outfits, kooky theming, and creativity to the max.

 

Pro tip: Worried that your homegrown tomatoes are too bumpy or lumpy for the beauty contest? Enter them in the “Biggest, Littlest, Ugliest” category instead.

 

Nashville Tomato Fest Beautiful Tomato Contest

Some of our favorite “Beautiful Tomato” entries from years past, Courtesy of the Tomato Art Fest

 

Ice Cream Naming Contest

Pied Piper Creamery needs help naming their newest flavor. Do you have what it takes to brand a frozen treat based only on its key ingredient? Stop by their booth this Saturday to taste that concoction and submit your suggestion. Winner takes home a package of six pints of Pied Piper’s most popular flavors!

 

Artistic Attractions

Tomato Fest Art Show

Invent Nashville is hosting this year’s tomato art show. The gallery will be brimming with tomato-themed pieces – pick your favorite and bring it home with you!

 

Pro tip: Masks encouraged inside the gallery, even if you’re asymp-tomato-ic.

 

Kid’s Art Show

The Tomato Fest also has a contest for the little ones in your life. Coordinated by local artist Debbie Flynt, the kid’s art show is a favorite among festivalgoers. Any two-dimensional art is approved for entry and all pieces should be drawn or painted on paper or thin cardboard. Best of show, first, second, and third place ribbons will be awarded within each age category. Submit your entries today!

 

Push, Pull, and Wear Parade

On Saturday, local fruit and veggie lovers will gather in the streets of 5 Points to march down the main drag in tomato regalia. Whether you don an elaborate costume, enter with a non-motorized float, or create giant vegetable-themed signs, all entries are welcome! Get ready for an exciting parade complete with local bands, drumlines, and serious crowd involvement.

Event details:

Saturday, August 14
9 AM – 10 AM
Meet at the corner of S12th and Russell

 

Delicious Diversions

The Tomato Fest is an event with true local flavor. Join us for a cornucopia of culinary wonders this weekend.

 

Recipe Contest

Lockeland Table challenges you to create a marvelous marinara sauce and a bright, fresh tomato salad. Bring your dish to their restaurant on Saturday at 10:00 AM for official judging. Winners will be named later in the afternoon. Be sure to pre-register here!

 

Bloody Mary, Anyone?

The Bloody Mary Garden is a fixture of the festival, and it sells out quickly! Sample up to 15 different mixes and create your perfect beverage, complete with a whole spread of yummy garnishes. Yard games, a hat contest, brunch bites, music, and mimosas are also included.

 

Local Vendors

Is your mouth watering yet? You definitely won’t go hungry this weekend. It seems like every food truck, drink peddler, and café will be in attendance tomorrow.

 

Pro tip: Don’t want to stand in the sun waiting for a Homestyle? You can skip the line by pre-ordering your drinks through the event’s digital menu. Link here.

 

A few of our top recommendations:

  • Southern Spoon
  • Retro Sno
  • The Grilled Cheeserie
  • Loveless Café
  • Dreamers Food Truck
  • Wild Bill’s Craft Beverage Co.
  • Diskin Cider
  • ZingZang
  • Tito’s Vodka
  • The Mac Shack
  • Yellow & Lavender Vegan Eats

 

Tomato Fest 5k: Walk, Skip, or Sprint

Wear bright red and start your day off with a neighborhood 5k! Saturday’s festivities kick off with a friendly roam around East Nashville’s Five Points area at 7:30 AM. Don’t worry if you’re struggling to ketchup – this inclusive event is fun for the whole family. Be sure to attend the kid’s fun run before the race! Register here.

Tomato 5k

East Nashville 5k Runners, Courtesy of the Tomato Art Fest

 

Support East Nashville at the Tomato Fest

Finally, you can expect a strong showing from local artisans and boutiques. The Tomato Fest is always full of pottery, glass, art, clothes, toys, jewelry, and more. While many pieces will be themed for the event, original items will also be for sale. The official vendor list has yet to be released, but when it’s live, you can find it here.

As you can see, there’s a lot to love about this quirky celebration. We hope that you’ll stop by this weekend and support our local artists, restaurants, and vendors. For more information, visit the Tomato Art Fest website.

 

Webconsuls is proud to be based in East Nashville, Tennessee.

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Today marks one year since an EF-3 tornado ripped through Nashville. Truthfully, things haven’t felt the same since. One of the biggest changes we’ve noticed at the office is an increase in anxiety whenever a severe weather rolls through. As we prepare for another spring of hail, rain, and tornadoes, we wanted to share how our team is coping with storm anxiety. We’d also like to talk about how things have changed since March 3rd, 2020.

 

Trauma and Storm Anxiety from the Nashville Tornado

We write a lot of blogs about PTSD and sub-acute trauma: ongoing emotional responses to negative stimuli. We’ve found that whenever you read a list of traumatic events, natural disasters always make the cut. These overwhelming, distressing experiences cause widespread devastation, but they also prime us for a lifetime of anxiety.

A year later, the first springtime storms have arrived, and Nashvillians are wondering if, when, and how tornadoes might make an appearance. Some people compulsively refresh the weather radar, while others are glued to the news.

Here’s what we’ve learned about managing storm anxiety.

 

Preparation is key.

Planning can help you to take some control in the face of a storm. Stock up on flashlights, batteries, and other disaster preparedness items. If you know the weather will be bad, charge your devices ahead of time. Finally, be sure that your family has a plan for where to go in the event of a tornado or flood.

Stay informed (but don’t obsess).

Staying up to date on weather changes is key, but you also shouldn’t spend the day anxiously watching the radar. Sign up for weather alerts from services like NashSevereWx. By turning on notifications instead of doomscrolling, you’ll receive major updates without having to constantly obsess over minor developments.

Seek support.

You’re not the only one who’s worried! Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors if your storm anxiety begins to rise. You can discuss your feelings until you feel better.

Focus on your emotional well-being.

Large-scale weather events raise a great many concerns – it’s common to be distressed about the possibility of property damage and personal danger, especially after the 2020 tornado. As storm season approaches, try to find ways to self-soothe your storm anxiety. For example, breathing exercises and weighted blankets have both been found to reduce anxiety symptoms.

Distract yourself from storm anxiety.

Finally, if you can’t stop worrying, find something fun to do until the storm passes. Scavenger hunts, crosswords, snacks, music, pets, exercise, movies, and video games – all of our favorite pandemic activities – can take your mind off the weather.

 

Nashville’s New Tornado Warning System

In the wake of last year’s tornado, there have also been some significant upgrades to Metro Nashville’s tornado warning system. The Nashville Office of Emergency Management worked in conjunction with Commtech Radio, Federal Signal, and Metro Information Technology Services to add 20 new siren sites.

The system itself has also been modified for the better. Previously, when one siren went off, every siren in the county activated, too. This resulted in widespread confusion throughout Davidson County – just because a tornado passed through Bellevue, for example, did not mean that East Nashvillians were in its path at that moment. Another consequence of this broad warning system was that citizens began to ignore sirens after so many irrelevant alerts.

The upgraded PATSS (Polygonal Alerting Tornado Siren System) will now issue warnings to potentially impacted areas, without regard to political boundaries, at the proper time. We hope that information about this advanced warning system will reassure our fellow East Nashville residents that, if a tornado touches down, we should be alerted this time.

 

Local Businesses Rebound After Disaster

It hasn’t been an easy year for small businesses. The 2020 tornado, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the February winter storm have all resulted in temporary and permanent closures throughout East Nashville. Here’s an update on which businesses have reopened – we ask you to consider supporting them on the anniversary of the tornado.

Noble’s Kitchen & Beer Hall – After closing for five months for repairs, Noble’s has reopened. “Our margins are super thin, given everything that’s going on,” manager Nicholas Gajewski said in an interview with News Channel 5. “If we can break even on a given week, we’re excited.”

High Garden Tea – East’s favorite heirloom herbal and tea craft storefront has moved online in the wake of last March. “No walls, most business possessions gone, but the earth was still beneath our feet… We created an online shop to support our family and y’all did the thing! When walls crumble, you do get a better view. Here’s to 2020 – one of our most influential teachers,” wrote owner Leah Larabell in a recent Instagram post.

The Basement East – Freshly repaired but closed due to COVID, The Beast has switched up its approach to concerts. You can now attend virtual (live streamed) shows from the comfort of your own home or purchase tornado relief merch from their website. “I am ready to get back to doing the job that I love, with the people I love, in the city that I love,” said Billy Marchinkevich, an employee of The Basement East, in an interview with News4 Nashville. “I survived that, and we all survived it.”

Reopened: Boombozz (coming soon), Gym5, Edley’s Bar-B-Que East, Attaboy Nashville, GReKo, Poppy & Monroe, Koi Sushi & Thai, 3 Crow Bar, Music City Vintage.

Continuing / Permanent Closures: Burger Up (East), Molly Green (East), The Soda Parlor, Marche Artisan Foods, Eastland Cafe, Setsun.

 

Webconsuls is a digital marketing company based in East Nashville – just off E Trinity Lane + Gallatin Pike.