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Rest Stop Ministries
restore survivors. stop oppression.
P.O. Box 156
Hermitage, TN 37076

(615) 965-2647

Affiliated with -

 

News and Events

A Letter From Our Founder

Dear Supporters of Rest Stop Ministries,

Today, I marveled with our resident who graduates our program January 12, 2020.  Through tears she explained how God is giving her important glimpses of recollection of the very broken child she was when she walked in our doors 16 months ago.  Only 21 years old, she had just been released from jail in a strange city because her trafficker sold her across state lines then abandoned her. We had only talked with her by phone and she agreed to come to a partner rehab facility here in TN for 30 days before coming to live in the Rest Stop Community.  At rehab, they did a group activity requiring each person to look in a mirror and give positive affirmations to the reflection staring back at them. She remembered how she COULD NOT DO IT. Then, she was so excited to tell me that same mirror activity had been utilized in a group just this week at Rest Stop.  THIS TIME she grabbed the mirror shouting many affirmations while gazing at the beautiful, healthy young woman staring back! Then, she proudly reported that EVERY SINGLE DAY now she looks in the mirror and tells herself “You’ve got this kid! Look how far you have come!! Don’t stop now! There are no limits to your freedom!!!” 

THIS is what YOU make possible!!  Horrifically abused children getting a new lease on life; a fresh start to reimagine the possibilities. A God-ordained second chance.  What work could be any more important?

I want to share some very significant news with you that impacts the future trajectory of RSM.

  1. September 2019 was the best financial month in the history of RSM.  Our annual fundraising gala this year felt a little bit like a “coming of age” celebration!  We sense a keen awareness of the blessing of momentum and firmly believe we are to capitalize on this season by expanding our vision.  Some of you have been with us from the very beginning, and you should feel a real sense of accomplishment for helping us get to these special days!! Others of you are newer supporters and should feel like you’ve joined us during very exciting days!!  

  2. As if to punctuate this strong affirmation from you, our private donors who have been our only means of support thus far, we got the news on the last day of September that we have been awarded our very first grant from the federal government.  Anti-trafficking is high on the nation’s agenda and funds have been earmarked for those on the frontlines of this battle to stop the horrific crime and restore the victim survivors. There is also a recognition by both the federal and state government that partnerships with faith-based organizations are key!!  This grant is a significant 3-year award (2020-2022) and was highly competitive; we were one of only 33 organizations in the nation and the only one in the state of TN to have been awarded in this particular area of specialized services to human trafficking victims. This is important professional acknowledgement from the field that Rest Stop is a model worthy of the federal government’s support.   

 

These two facts serve as the springboard we’ve needed to launch important strategic growth.  The need for subsidized transitional housing for our graduates is huge and the priority goal for 2020.  Safe, affordable housing in the Nashville area is a challenging hurdle for women just starting out again toward leading lives of financial independence.  We MUST take this next step to insure that the cycles of vulnerability do not repeat!!  

 

Will you help us leverage this momentum?!  Your continued support is needed now more than ever!  The government funding is reimbursed to us at a shared percentage of 75/25, meaning we still must raise the same amount annually that we have been raising PLUS 25% of the grant award amount.  You know the old saying “it takes money to make money!” TRUE. Also true is the dynamic that people want to give to SUCCESSFUL organizations. Please consider honoring our recent successes by continuing to partner with our vital mission & vision!!

One more critical factor as you consider making a year-end gift to Rest Stop Ministries:  It is crucial that we have a strong finish in 2019.  Here’s why: we have the opportunity to re-finance our mortgage in March of 2020 at the same INCREDIBLE rate offered by Pinnacle Financial Partners 5 years ago when we purchased Good Hope Farm.  Through a state government tax incentive program, Pinnacle was able to offer us prime minus 4%, which meant 0% interest rate for the first 2.5 years of the loan and miniscule interest since then!!  We are thrilled to learn that they will continue this same deal with us for the next 10 years. The terms are that we pay down the debt by $100,000 in March; we can do this because YOUR FAITHFUL GIVING has enabled us to save this amount in escrow since taking out this mortgage loan!!

After a moment to bask in that victory, here’s the ASK:  Please help us continue this level of wise financial stewardship while advancing our mission by helping us raise the $100,000 we still need in 2019.  It is a proven statistic in the nonprofit sector that about one fourth of the annual budget comes in during the month of December. This has been our experience every year and is true again this year.  We have raised approximately 75% of our $406,580 annual budget through November. Will you help us with the final 25% by making a tax-deductible year-end gift? The women we serve are worthy of your support!

I am eternally grateful for the humbling leadership experience of utter dependence on God and the people he moves to give.  Without moving the hearts of people, the resources don’t get shared. By sharing in our journey, the abundance of reward is yours too …the deep satisfaction of knowing LIVES WERE TRANSFORMED by your gift.

As we move into these great days of momentum building at Rest Stop, I keep hearing an encouraging promise from God regarding our ministry: “I myself will be a wall of fire around it…and I will be its glory within” – Zechariah 2:5.  I sense God’s wall of protection around us, and that He is pleased with what is going on within our walls. I want to continue in faithfulness with the work He has given us to do!  

 

With Sincere Gratitude & Good Hope,

 

Rondy Smith

Founder & CEO

Gratitudes + Giving

There are so many ways you can support Rest Stop this week!

Thanksgiving

If you're not following us on social media, now is a good time to start!  We're sharing videos all week about things our staff and residents are grateful for.  We hope you'll join us on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter!

Black Friday

Are you registered for Amazon Smile?  If not, head to smile.amazon.com to select Rest Stop Ministries as your charitable organization!  .5% of all your purchases will then benefit RSM!

Small Business Saturday

There are a few small businesses that sell our products or support us with their own!  Show your support by shopping small on Saturday, November 30th!

Lady Crew - an apparel company where each piece has a story.

The Adopted Farmhouse - find our Good Hope Farms mugs there!

The Faith Store - a local boutique that sells fairtrade items (including some of our ReStore items!) and fights human trafficking.

The Darling Home Co. - amazing, clean burning candles with purpose.

Giving Tuesday

This is an international day of giving, meant to spark a movement of generosity.  It happens every
year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This year, we have a $3,000 donation to match! We hope you'll mark your calendar for December 3rd and participate by supporting Rest Stop Ministries!

RSM + LadyCrew

Lady Crew has created some beautiful apparel that directly supports survivors of sex trafficking!  When you buy a shirt, tank, or sweatshirt, 100% of proceeds goes to Rest Stop Ministries!  You can find out more and shop at https://wearladycrew.com/!

Save the Dates

Mark your calendars for these BIG upcoming events!

 

Hope Sees

Our Seventh Annual Gala will be held September 14th, 2019 at Oz Arts in Nashville.  We are so excited to share this with you!  There are so many fun things in store for this night - we hope you'll join us!  You can find your tickets here - https://hopesees2019.eventbrite.com

Volunteer Orientation

We have a Volunteer Orientation Saturday, April 13th at 10am.  We will meet at The Journey Church in Lebanon.  Please e-mail Sydney if you'd like to attend!  It takes all kinds for us to do this work - crafters, cleaners, landscapers, drivers, teachers, cooks, etc.  No task is too small!

Free Indeed

Our friends at The Journey Church are putting on an event to benefit Rest Stop!  It will be a night of celebration, beauty, and fellowship.  There will be refreshments, a silent auction, life giving testimonials, and a live fashion show featuring local boutiques and salons.  You can find out more and buy tickets here.

The Big Payback

The Big Payback is on May 2nd - less than a month away!  This is a day dedicated to giving back to non-profits in Middle TN.  All the giving is online, so be sure you are following along on all our social channels - FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!  We hope you'll consider giving at least $10 on May 2nd!  You can learn more about The Big Payback here.

A Month to Celebrate

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Here is how we're celebrating!

We can have some hard days around here, but there are so many exciting things to celebrate too.  In this past year, our residents have hit some pretty exciting goals, and we are so excited to share them with you!


Coming from life on the streets to a residential program with lots of space can make for a lot of firsts.  We've had women who saw all kinds of animals for the first time - sheep, emus, and donkeys.  We've had one go to a coffee shop for the first time - she loved her latte!  One resident cut down a Christmas tree for the first time this year!  And our annual summer vacation was a first for quite a few.

If you didn't know, addiction recovery is a big part of what we do.  Women who are enslaved by people, are often also enslaved to substance abuse.  This year, we celebrated a lot of different sobriety milestones - from six months all the way up to five years!

There can also be a lot of legal hurdles for our women.  From court fines and fees to child support.  We had two residents with overwhelming drivers license requirements - after a lot of hard work, both were able to drive legally for the first time in many years.  We had someone complete their probation period and fully pay all their fines.  (A huge victory!)  

We've had residents able to gain employment and start saving money for their future.  This can be a big hurdle for those who have records and possibly very little work experience.

We have lots of great medical partners who have helped us achieve great goals for our women.  We've had 3 get new dentures or denture repairs.  We've had multiple residents able to get glasses or contacts.  One resident received Hep C treatment, and is now FREE of that diagnosis!  And even now, one is preparing for a major skin graph treatment to fix the effects of her previous life.

We have had many, many women with broken relationships come through our doors.  Through lots of healing and reconciliation work, we have seen some of those relationships restored!  Relationships with moms, dads, siblings, and children have improved.  We've been able to support residents through the passing of relatives.  We've even been able to rejoice with one resident who became a grandmother for the first time this year!  What a gift.

We've celebrated birthdays - we make a big deal about those.  Having a sober birthday can be a new thing for some.  We celebrated Christmas - a first for one - and just hard for others.  And WE MADE IT!  The holidays can be tough for anyone, but especially for these women who have broken relationships and difficult memories during this time of year.  It can be a reminder of what they don't have.  It is a big deal for us to have the same number of residents before and after the holidays.  We hope you'll celebrate that with us!

And finally, we celebrated our first graduate this year!  How exciting to be able to see all her hard work pay off.  She moved into her own apartment, with her own car and full time job.  We are so proud.  She is paving the way for the women behind her.

Rest Stop Gala 2018

All. Here. Now.

You are invited to Rest Stop's Annual Gala!  This year's theme is All. Here. Now. 

We want ALL sex slavery abolished. 

We want it abolished HERE in our community. 

We want it abolished NOW.

Join us on September 15th at Trevecca University!  It will be a fun night of food, jazz music, ReStore shopping, and a moving program featuring Shamere McKenzie.  Shamere is a Survivor-Leader and international activist.  She gives voice to the voiceless.  Shamere also gives program leadership to an emergency shelter for trafficking victims through the Salvation Army, as well as serving as Chief Executive Officer for SunGate Foundation, a scholarship program providing educational opportunities for Survivors. If you want to learn more about Shamere, visit www.sun-gate.org.

To see more about the event and to buy tickets, click here.

Thanks to our Platinum Sponsor for supporting this year's gala!

Big Payback Success

 

BIG thank you to all our friends and supporters!

Donations: 

$11,835.00 from 203 unique donors

Prizes: 

Most Unique Donors 3-6 AM: $1,000

3rd Place Prize Most Unique Donors: $1,000

Extra Goodness:

Two RSM supporters matched an additional $2,000

Our Big Payback total was $15,835!

Thanks for all the ways you made this happen!   When you help us, you help her.

The Big Payback

Our 2nd biggest fundraiser of the year!

Rest Stop friends - mark your calendars for May 2nd!  The Big Payback is a community-wide, 24-hour online giving challenge hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.  And Rest Stop is participating! 

 

All you need to give is $10. There are prizes all day for non-profits who get the most unique donors, raise the most money, etc.  Keep an eye on our social media that day for extra pop-up prizes!  Check out the big payback website that day to see the leaderboard and follow along.

Set your alarms for these time frames to help us win prizes - 

Most unique donors from 12:00 - 12:30 AM - $1,500

Donation closest to sunrise (5:53 AM) - $1,000

Donation closest to breakfast (7:30 AM) - $1,000

Donation closest to noon - $1,000

Donation closest to lunch (12:30 PM) - $1,000

Donation closest to dinner (6:30 PM) - $1,000

Donation closest to sunset (7:36 PM) - $1,000

Most unique donors from 7 PM - Midnight - $3,000

In addition to these, we hope to get the Most Unique Donors overall!  The prize for this is $5,000!  We've come so close every year!  Help us do it this year by spreading the word!  Share our posts on Facebook that day, and encourage your people to donate!  We can make a big collective impact!

Visit our HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP!

ANNOUNCING OUR HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP!  Do you love our beautiful hand-poured Honey Almond scented, clean burning soy candles with the wood wicks?  They make wonderful gifts!  NOW you can order them online as easily as pulling out your phone! Just follow the POP-UP SHOP tab in our menu to begin!

While shopping you can also "purchase" items that will benefit our residents as Holiday Gift Giving!  For example, would you consider adding a $30 gift to your cart that would supply medical care or medical prescriptions for one resident for a month?  Check out the other options!  Happy Shopping!  Remember us on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday! and All Month Long!! 'Tis the Season!

Tennessee High Score

Did you hear the BIG News that Tennessee received the highest score in the country for our anti-trafficking infrastructure?!  Shared Hope International is one of the leading advocacy groups who publish an annual State report card.  We are part of this great collaborative coalition creating collective impact in our state fighting this crime and serving the victims. Be very proud! #RestoreSurvivors #StopOppression

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