Greenhouse Ministries has been suffering from growing pains for several years now. However, in the fall of 2020, behind their present location on Spring Street in Murfreesboro, founders Cliff and Jane Sharp, along with their staff and Board of Directors, were able to break ground on a much-needed new facility. It has taken five years of planning and fundraising, but the groundbreaking has brought a ray of hope for the constituents of the organization — the working poor. Still, more funding is needed to complete the project. Demand for their services is growing, especially in light of the pandemic.
More than twenty years ago, after retiring, the Sharps were volunteering at Franklin Heights federal housing project when they saw a need. They interacted daily with the working poor who made too much income to receive any type of assistance, but not enough money to do what it took to get out of their situation. The Sharps were determined to find a way to provide this group who slipped through the cracks with whatever they needed to move forward. Greenhouse Ministries was born.
Originally housed in a building off Lytle Street that was painted green, thus the name, the organization has grown steadily over the years. While the Sharps started with GED and computer classes at Franklin Heights, along with child care, their offerings have grown with the needs of their audience. They quickly added a furniture ministry for those who had lost everything to fire, a food pantry, and classes for single mothers on dressing for success and building self-confidence.
Developing trust and strong relationships with both their clients and the community at large, the Sharps began to burst out of their first headquarters and moved into the location on Spring Street, near City Tile. In the new space, they provided more classes, and open an upscale second-hand boutique called The Garden Patch Thrift Shoppe. All too quickly, once again they burst out of their home.
With a goal to serve anyone who is feeling hopeless and in need of a friendly face, the non-profit, although faith-based, serves anyone who walks in their door. With open arms, Greenhouse Ministries strives to provide love and understanding care to whoever needs it. As word of the loving kindness given to clients grows, so too does the demand for help.
The new building, which will be located on the corner of Academy and Sevier Streets, will provide space for 16 affordable housing apartments, offices, classrooms, a clinic, a counseling center, and meeting space. In these new facilities, Greenhouse Ministries will provide more space for their legal and medical aid programs.
Once they move many of their services out of their current space, Greenhouse will be making adjustments to their current space to expand The Garden Patch, have more warehouse space, and allow for classes on things like appliance repair, furniture repair, and more.
Now in their eighties, the Sharps are happy to have built a legacy that will continue far into the future, although it is their unwavering passion for helping those in need that continues to inspire so many — funders, volunteers, staff, their board of directors, and those who come to them for help.
In the more than twenty years since opening the doors to Greenhouse Ministries, thousands who had no hope or dreams have had their lives completely changed. And the organization also deeply affects those who volunteer as they see how so many lives are being turned around for the better.
Beginning in 5,000 square feet, then moving into 11,000 square feet of space, the new facility will cost $5 million and provide an additional 25,000 square feet. To make this dream come true, Greenhouse Ministries still needs to raise another $1million. To donate, go to their website at https://www.greenhousemin.org/.