Thanks to an idea developed by Belmont University students, the new Mobile Loaves and Fishes Photography Exhibit will be unveiled on the Belmont campus next week. The exhibit will display photographs taken by many of the homeless and working poor people from the streets of Nashville. Public viewings are scheduled for Wed., April 9 from 6-9 p.m. and Fri., April 11 from 10-11 a.m. in the University Ministries Student Lounge in the Gabhart Student Center at Belmont.
Mobile Loaves and Fishes (MLF) is a growing social outreach ministry to the homeless and indigent working poor that seeks to provide food, clothing and dignity to those in need. MLF started its Nashville relief efforts in Summer 2007, and before long, Belmont’s Sociology Department had signed on with a commitment to lead the way in providing volunteers. Numerous Belmont University students, faculty and staff have since joined in efforts to assist the organization. The goals of this exhibit include raising awareness about local issues of hunger and homelessness, introducing students to the work of Mobile Loaves and Fishes and showing the artistry that can be found in unexpected places.
Cash Forshee, a Belmont student who has volunteered with MLF and who first had the idea for a photo exhibit, said, “This project has been a year-long effort that began in the sanctuary of Trinity Presbyterian Church. My best friend, Micah, has been my partner in creating the project. Together, we wanted to create a project that would bring reality to the Belmont community, acknowledging the enormous differences and surprising similarities, as privileged students, that we share with the homeless. We had to de-generalize the homeless and remove the stereotypes that surround the homeless and their personal stories.”
Dr. Andi Stepnick, chair of the Belmont Sociology Department, added, “It’s been an incredible opportunity to help bring MLF to Belmont’s campus. The work they are doing is so important and it dovetails beautifully with our departmental mission and values as well as with many of our students’ interest in justice work. Belmont’s Sociology department emphasizes applied and service learning, and students’ service with MLF allows them to do both. When coupled with research and related class projects, students’ service with MLF helps them to understand poverty in a more meaningful and complex way.”
Sara Hylton, program director for MLF-Nashville, said, “This year alone MLF will serve 25,000 meals in the Nashville area. With the help of Belmont’s students, faculty and staff, we’re able to do that, but there are always volunteer opportunities available in this fast-growing outreach ministry, and we are always looking for new partners.”
For more information on Mobile Loaves and Fishes, visit mlfnow.org.