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GraceWorks Ministries Neighbor Serving Neighbor Dinner

GraceWorks Ministries Neighbor Serving Neighbor Dinner

GraceWorks’ Neighbor serving Neighbor benefit dinner presented by Gresham Smith and Atmos Energy was on Thursday, May 9th at the Factory of Franklin. Nearly 570 guests filled the main floor and the young professional’s balcony hosted 70 guests.

Before the evening began, an intimate champagne toast with event sponsors and table hosts kicked off the evening. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction in a room filled with butterflies.

The “Butterfly Effect” was the theme of the evening, inviting guests to consider how their small actions taken with GraceWorks can lead to big impact in the lives of our neighbors. Every place setting featured a butterfly and the stage backdrop displayed 10,000 white butterflies, each one a symbol of a food cart that GraceWorks provided last fiscal year.

Rodney Chester, CEO of Gresham Smith and Chairman of the GraceWorks’ board announced the Neighbor Serving Neighbor Award recipient – The Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, awarded for their loyal partnership to GraceWorks food pantry. Nancy Keil, CEO of Second Harvest, accepted the award.

The night was particularly special as it honored Valencia A. Breckenridge, the CEO of GraceWorks who plans to retire at the end of June after eight years. First, she was surprised by the audience singing her happy birthday as her favorite carrot cake was delivered to celebrate her 70th birthday on Monday, May 12th.

Second, she was surprised to be presented with the one and only Legendary Neighbor Serving Neighbor Award for her incredible service to GraceWorks and received a standing ovation.

Breckenridge then addressed the crowd, reflecting on a year of robust services in GraceWorks’ Food, Shelter, and Support programs. She detailed how small actions such as donating to the thrift store, rounding up to donate at your local grocery store, or participating in a diaper drive has had lasting impacts on the lives of our Neighbors. Her comments ended with the crowd donating to GraceWorks while enjoying music from Eve Selis and Kim McLean.

Lastly, Breckenridge introduced Alicia Bell, her successor as GraceWorks CEO. Bell, a Franklin native, addressed the crowd committing to keep GraceWorks focused on loving God and loving our Neighbors. Pastor Jamie Crampton from Parish Presbyterian Church prayed over both women before the night closed.

GraceWorks Ministries is a Christ-centered nonprofit based in Franklin, TN. Since 1995 GraceWorks has provided Food, Shelter, and Support programming to serve those experiencing poverty or crisis. They invite all to participate in their mission of Neighbor serving Neighbor, by the power of God’s grace.

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