The Bridge, Inc. exists to alleviate the suffering of underprivileged children, the homeless, and the working poor by providing life-sustaining resources and a message of hope.
CANDY CHRISTMAS BIO
Candy Christmas is the Founder and CEO of The Bridge, Inc. Candy has spent her life giving to others through music. She began her career as an adolescent, and quickly climbed to the top of the Christian charts. Later, she married and happily settled into family life, but she wanted a way to continue her ministry of giving. Her heart’s desire is to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. That is what prompted her to start The Bridge Ministry with her husband Kent Christmas in 2004. Candy has appeared on over 50 Gaither Homecoming Videos and traveled on tour for 6 years with Bill Gaither and The Homecoming Friends. Candy wrote a best selling Christmas book in 2002.
HOW THE BRIDGE STARTED
In November of 2004, The Bridge was created with the intention of helping people experiencing homelessness in Nashville by providing them with food and clothes. Candy Christmas initiated this effort by cooking large pots of jambalaya and distributing them to the homeless residing under the Jefferson Street Bridge. As the demand for assistance continued to rise, she expanded her efforts by collecting clothing and non-perishable food items, which she stored in her garage. Friends who shared her vision pitched in, filling grocery bags with food. The ministry's growth accelerated as more people learned about it and became involved.
THE BRIDGE TODAY
The Bridge Ministry is located in a 17,000-square-foot warehouse in Nashville, TN. Apart from storing food, clothing, and other resources for Tuesday evening services and other outreaches, the warehouse serves as a local resource center for other local ministries and nonprofits. Additionally, the ministry assists school children in need by providing them with food-filled backpacks every Friday afternoon. This ensures that they have enough food to last them throughout the weekend.
A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
We are deeply committed to helping those in need and would love for you to join us in making a positive impact. The Bridge is a 501(c)(3) organization that is recognized by the federal government, so all donations are tax-deductible. We feel privileged to follow the teachings of our Lord, who said, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)
PHASES OF THE BRIDGE
CHURCH UNDER THE BRIDGE
Never missing a Tuesday for 19 years, Candy and The Bridge team have met under the Jefferson Street Bridge to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our city.
Hot meals are served to all of our friends who come out for Church Under the Bridge. Guests and volunteers gather together as one family to worship and hear a message of hope. During church, we have seen lives being transformed by the saving power of Jesus. Nearly every week, people are giving their lives to Jesus, discovering hope in our gracious God, and finding a family of believers to walk alongside them.
Post-service, numerous other resources, such as non-perishables, water, toiletries, clothing, and emergency camping supplies, are distributed to our guests as they need them.
Throughout the evening, our Outreach Specialist works one-on-one with individuals, connecting them to resources and organizations and getting them closer to self-sustained living.
BRIDGE TO KIDS
We firmly believe that no child in our city should suffer from the effects of food insecurity. To assist hardworking parents and local schools, we pack food bags for children in need called Bridge Bags, ensuring that our young friends have meals for evenings and weekends. These resources are packed with non-perishable foods that families can keep for moments when they find themselves without a meal.
The Bridge to Kids Program wrapped up the 2022-2023 school year, serving 95 schools and aftercare programs, serving an average of 7,000 kids on a weekly basis with Bridge Bags and snacks. Already, for the 2023-2024 school year, we are serving over 60 schools and serving over 4,000 kids weekly.
The program also partners with schools and communities to provide backpacks filled with school supplies. This year, The Bridge distributed over 1,500 backpacks to students in need.
BRIDGE TO YOU
This program brings the resources of The Bridge to where people are in need. Through partnerships with the Metro Nashville Police Department and the Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency, The Bridge has identified several apartment complexes and encampment areas in need of food and life-sustaining resources.
The Bridge To You program currently provides three weekly and three monthly outreaches. Resources are distributed based on individual needs, whether that is food bags, hot lunches, grocery boxes, water, or many other resources we have to offer. This growing program currently serves over 1,500 individuals and families every week.
While serving these resources, our Outreach Specialist personally assists guests in their steps to self-sustaining living. Above all, the love of Christ is shared verbally and through action at each of these outreaches.
BRIDGE TO COMMUNITY
The Bridge partners with many like-minded organizations and service providers to meet the needs of those in our communities. Bridge to Community allows us to collect and share resources with one another to serve our community in ways no one organization could do on its own. Through this program, The Bridge provides food, clothing, and other resources to organizations to distribute to the individuals and families they serve.
With these community partnerships, we are also able to connect the unhoused community served by The Bridge to organizations that specialize in housing, creating a path to self-sustaining living. We believe we are better together.
The following is a short video of the outreach impact of 2022.
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