By Maci Weeks
In 2013, a call to serve those in need led Trevecca graduate, Kathy Johnson Warner, to start a weekly meal program, The Eyes of Love, to serve Nashville communities in need.
Eight years ago, Kathy Johnson Warner, founder of The Eyes of Love, felt a call to tap into her social work roots and serve members of the Nashville community who were in need. Warner said she had been feeling the urge to return to serving people experiencing homelessness for quite some time, but did not know where to begin. Warner’s schedule was full as a social worker, wife, mother, caregiver to a parent and an active church member. She simply was not sure where this specific call to serve should start.
When Warner and her husband were delivering food to a church member at Casa Blanca apartments in Nashville, Warner’s next steps became clear.
“Casa Blanca is one of many motels that market themselves as apartments and rent by the month. Their target populations include people who need lower income housing, mentally ill, felons, and addicts. Many residents may not be able to rent from other landlords due to evictions, credit history or inability to pay,” Warner said.
After seeing the conditions of Casa Blanca, Warner recalls her husband saying that the apartments needed light. The same week, Warner and her friend, Jane Drolick, delivered food that was leftover from a church dinner. Warner recalls praying with Drolick for God to protect and direct them.
When they arrived, Warren saw children playing and brought food to the apartment that the children were running in and out of. Drolick set up food on a table and residents started coming out to share a meal and be in community with one another. This experience is what prompted the formation of The Eyes of Love.
“The Eyes of Love exist to provide food and fellowship for anyone who is hungry for either. It is obvious the needs are much larger than just food,” Warner said.
For the last eight years, The Eyes of Love program has continued to serve meals at least once a week. Location has varied through the years, but Warner said the mission has always been the same.
“God defines himself as love. The ministry is called The Eyes of Love because we are called to see the people we serve the way God sees them,” Warner said.
Trevecca’s J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Neighborhood Empowerment Program, directed by Iris Gordon, partners with The City of Refuge Center, the umbrella organization Eyes of Love falls under, to serve the Nashville community.
Trevecca students who would like to be connected to service opportunities such as Eyes of Love can reach out to Iris Gordon or Kristen Adams in the Center for Social Justice.