Harvest Hands began as a vision of the late Dr. Howard Olds—former pastor of Brentwood United Methodist Church—to partner with an urban neighborhood in Nashville for positive change. The idea centered on sharing resources, experiences, and expertise of the church and congregation in relationship with neighbors in South Nashville. In 2007, Brentwood UMC hired Rev. Brian Hicks to lead the efforts in making this vision a reality.
With the invitation of the local Neighborhood Association in South Nashville (SNAP), we began working with neighborhood residents to determine the assets and needs of the community and how we might work together to address our shared concerns. In the spring of 2008, Brian and Courtney Hicks began an after school program with 12 students and a handful of volunteers. Since that time, we have grown to establish programs in education, healthy living, spiritual formation, and economic development. You can learn more about each of our programs here.
As Nashville developed, several of our target neighborhoods began to experience a fast rate of redevelopment and gentrification, and many of the families we served could no longer afford to live in the community. In 2015, we made the strategic decision to move from Wedgewood-Houston to the heart of Napier-Sudekum, an area marked by poverty, violence, and joblessness.
Our facility houses after school programs, gym, community playground, and a micro-business that brings jobs to the neighborhood and teaches young adults business skills. Since the move in 2016, we have doubled the number of people our programs serve, created a higher potential for program growth, and are able to live among the people we serve—a value at the heart of our mission.
Everything that we do is born out of a need in the community. Our mission is not simply to “help” our neighbors but to work alongside them, empowering them to bring about positive change within themselves, their families, and their neighborhood.
It is our main goal to empower our neighbors—both young and old—to come to know their fullest potential in Christ.