AWOL: Nashville - Housing & Food Security

Document Type


Publication Date



Service Learning


Nashville, Tennessee has been faced with adversity in many different circumstances and situations. Hundreds of years ago, it was the heartland of the Civil War, and today there is a housing and food crisis. Although the civil war controversy is over, Nashvillians are still faced with crippling hunger and unable to find permanent, affordable housing in today's age. A big part of this stems from the fact that as a whole, the United States wastes around $160 billion in food each year. Along with that, Tennessee has a minimum wage of $7.25; which is the same as the federal minimum wage. This winter break, USD AWOL sent 10 students to Nashville, Tennessee to work alongside community partners that vigorously try to prevent and reverse the crises that are facing a majority of the working population in Nashville. During the week that student volunteers were in Nashville, thirty-five hours were spent preparing and cooking nutritious meals, stocking pantry shelves, organizing thrift stores, learning about the underlying systemic causes of such high rates of homelessness and food insecurity, and interacting with individuals affected by these aforementioned problems. All of the volunteer work was done through gracious and educational community partners such as ThriftSmart, The Little Pantry That Could, Open Table Nashville, and the Nashville Food Project.Through this amazing service-learning experience, AWOL student participants were able to obtain a deeper understanding of the broken systems in the United States. With a newfound understanding, AWOL also encourages and advocates for students to implement knowledge gathered from their break and integrate it back into their home community.

First Advisor

Kim Albracht

Second Advisor

Sydney Venner

Research Area

Service Learning

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