NeedLink Nashville financial aid programs.

The disadvantaged in Nashville can turn to various local charities or churches for help, and one option is Needlink. The organization, which was formerly Big Brothers, may have funding available for basic needs, such as food, clothing or holiday boxes. In some cases direct financial aid is available in a crisis, though it is limited. Often times though people from the community just need someone to listen or maybe a referral to another service or government program, and NeedLink Nashville may be able to meet this need as well.

After an application and assessment is complete, if the person or family is found eligible for assistance, the case management process will begin. This is required as the support is one time only and is meant to address the underlying cause of the hardship. Clients should also note that all services offered confidentially to applicants.

Families, senior citizens, and other struggling community members with disabilities are some of the main clients that need one time help for water or light bills, or maybe heating costs. There are programs for customers with Nashville Electric Service, Piedmont Natural Gas, Metro Water Services, or Madison Suburban Utility District. If these are not paid, a disconnection or eviction notice arrives, and Needlink wants to stop homelessness in the city.

As indicated, financial aid and all resources are limited, however when possible Needlink will try to meet the needs of the less fortunate. Some of the main emergency programs are noted below.

  • Food pantries – These are focused on ending hunger in Davidson County, and based on donation levels, clients can receive a free bag of groceries or other support. Proof of residency, ID, and income may be needed in order to apply.
  • Homeless prevention – NeedLink Nashville may be able to assist individuals with an eviction or disconnection notice. One time financial aid may be offered for rent or energy costs.
  • Medical needs – There will be referrals to local clinics for care, or in some cases a voucher can even be provided for discounted prescription medications.
  • NeedLink can provide money for deposits to help low-income ans seniors in Davidson County residents establish utility services or reconnect their power.
  • Seasonal support – Students may get clothing or supplies for school, and Christmas and holiday toys or meals may be passed out.




When applying for help, bring proof. Examples may be a copy of eviction letter, utility bill showing the past-due amount, ID, Proof of income such as unemployment, retirement,  pay stub, and more. Some of the key partners include Bank of America Foundation, Sunrise of Nashville, Waste Management, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, and many others, so other information may be requested by Needlink as well.

Of particular focus is on food. There is a need in Nashville for just plain, everyday living needs such as fruits, milk, and similar items. Many parents, especially single moms, even need formula for their young ones. Therefore, by churches or Needlink passing out a low cost or even free bag of food or some canned groceries, this goes a long way towards reducing hunger. Another key service is the federal government USDA surplus Commodity Program.

A focus is also on students. School children in the area can receive milk, clothing, or notebooks. The supplies and assistance given to children in Nashville will help them build the confidence they need to be successful over time.

During the holidays, these programs around basic needs will ramp up, based on donation levels and the number of volunteers. People can contribute to NeedLink Nashville or its partners, and children or teenagers from lower income families may be able to receive a free toy or other item from the charity. Special Thanksgiving or Christmas meals may be served too.





Christmas and Holiday Food Boxes are passed out by volunteers. Hundreds of families benefit, and each huge box contains items such as peanut butter, canned ham, Turkeys' juice, milk, potatoes, soup, canned vegetables, beans, and other food.

Self-Sufficiency is always emphasized as well. Staff and volunteers from may be able to support lower income, working poor households or those that need news skills or a job. Among other things clients can get referrals to affordable housing or apartments, local job training centers and applications for other government benefits.

There are various supportive services in the community, and they can include life skills workshops, credit counseling, budgeting, and of course employment topics. So clients of NeedLink Nashville can even get advice on creating a resume or where to access a computer for job searches or other activities.

Assistance is also available for senior citizens as well. Many people from the community want to ensure the elderly can continue to live independently, so they offer support to them. This may range from a free meal to a ride to a doctor appointment or the store. There is also a Meals on Wheels service in Davidson County, and clients can get referrals to this program.

The main office of NeedLink Nashville can be called at (615) 269-6835, and the charity will try to help as possible. Priority is given to seniors, single mothers and people with disabilities in Davidson County.




By Jon McNamara

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