CEO and President Valencia Breckenridge said Graceworks was started by a group of residents from different churches who asked, “How do we address the needs of our community?”
“They wanted a central place that everybody would refer someone to and that everybody would support, and they came up with the concept of Graceworks,” she said.
Last year, the organization served almost 10,000 people by providing rent and utility bill assistance as well as food and clothing, Breckenridge said.
The nonprofit also operates a thrift store and food pantry. The thrift store sells discounted clothing and furniture and had more than $1 million in business last year, she said, while the pantry served almost 9,000 people. More than 4,000 people received help from Graceworks with their rent or utility bills, according to an annual report.
Breckenridge said some people in the county may not see the needs their neighbors have.
“For us to be a voice for those who might be marginalized by the [county] growth is a privilege,” she said. “To say to the community, ‘Everybody’s not okay,’ and then to see the community respond, ‘Well, let’s help them be okay’ … I love that.”
Besides the core programs, the organization also provides services, such as budget mentoring, school supplies, Christmas gifts and more. Graceworks is also a resource for instructional programs and has volunteer opportunities, Breckenridge said.
During the last school year, Graceworks provided weekly bags of food to more than 700 food-insecure children in the county to take home over the weekend, according to the yearly report.
“It is often said that it takes a village to raise children,” she said. “I feel like it is a village here of community members, of other nonprofits, of for-profits, of our city government. … Every aspect of our community seems, at some point, to be engaged with Graceworks.”
Graceworks Ministries Inc.
104 Southeast Parkway, Ste. 100, Franklin