Tracy Lawrence is once again using his name for a worthwhile cause. The Arkansas native will return this year, for the 14th year in a row, for his Mission Possible Turkey Fry and Concert, where he helps provide food, as well as raises money, for the homeless in Nashville
"The week of Thanksgiving, 26th of November we'll be setting up in the parking lot of the Nashville Rescue Mission Tuesday morning," Lawrence told PopCulture.com. "We'll cook five to six hundred turkeys. We'll feed several thousand plates of food to the area homeless around the Nashville and greater Nashville area the week of Thanksgiving.
"Then Tuesday evening, I'll shift to go over to the Wildhorse [Saloon] and we'll play a concert," he continued. "I got Clay Walker, Rhett Akins, Justin Moore who I'm touring with next year, my buddies from Halfway to Hazard. We'll set up, we'll do some acoustic songs and auction some items off and raise money for the Nashville Rescue Mission."
The idea for providing meals for those in need began while hanging out with some friends over Thanksgiving many years ago.
"It started off with me and a handful of friends," Lawrence recounted. "We have been cooking turkeys at the house the morning of Thanksgiving and taking orders from old people at church and friends. You know, if you set up, it's just as easy to cook 10 as it is to cook two. And then you can drink two or three more Bloody Marys. So that was kind of where it started. And then we thought, 'We love doing stuff for the community. I think this would be a great thing to do,' and a handful of us just decided to get together at the Mission one year and do that. And it exploded into this thing that's happened. It was just completely organic."
Lawrence might have never found himself living on the streets, but he was still inspired to give back, thanks in part to his own childhood, as well as the successful career he has already had.
"I was raised that way," said Lawrence. "I grew up doing a lot of charity work with our church and local communities. I think it's part of the culture of the music industry. Most of the people that I know, the celebrities and people that are in this business came from small towns and we grew up with these kind of values and I think it's important for us to appreciate how different things could be in our lives. One wrong step or something could have gone wrong and we could have all been there very easily."
The event is a good reminder to Lawrence to focus on the things that matter, and not worry about the things that don't.
"I know some people that are pretty prominent in other fields around the country that have spent time at rescue missions, so it can happen to anybody, whether you lose your job or fall on hard times or get in financial trouble or an addiction or a mental illness or whatever," said the singer. "There's a lot of things that can play into that. There's times that I have to turn my own prejudices and personal feelings off about things, 'cause we all have them, about why somebody's there.
"This is the time of the year when you remove all your personal issues and say, 'This is what God wants me to do. And this is what I'm supposed to do to help my fellow man,'" he added. "I think that's very important for us all to do at different periods of time throughout the year."
For more information, visit TurkeyFry.org.
Photo Credit: Getty / Mindy Small