Tracy Lawrence Continues His Mission to Help The Homeless

His annual Turkey Fry and benefit show takes place Nov. 26 in Nashville.

Written by Bob Paxman
Tracy Lawrence Continues His Mission to Help The Homeless
Tracy Lawrence; Photo credit: Jon-Paul Bruno

For thousands of homeless people in Nashville, it literally would not be Thanksgiving without Tracy Lawrence. Since 2006, the “Time Marches On” singer has helped provide Thanksgiving meals for Nashville’s homeless community through his Mission: Possible Turkey Fry, which benefits the Nashville Rescue Mission, a community dedicated to aiding the homeless and hungry. Lawrence added an all-star concert a few years ago, and the day-long event is now billed as the Mission: Possible Turkey Fry & Concert. This year’s fundraiser, Tuesday, Nov. 26., includes the daytime turkey fry in front of the Nashville Rescue Mission and the 7 p.m. concert at the Wildhorse Saloon, featuring special guests Justin Moore, Clay Walker, Rhett Akins and the duo Halfway to Hazard.

Lawrence definitely takes a hands-on approach to the Thanksgiving benefit. He’ll be out in the early morning hours orchestrating the turkey fry, helping cook more than 500 birds and making sure that everyone receives a plate of food. Later, Lawrence will join his artist buddies for a unique in-the-round show at the Wildhorse. “This is our fifth year for the concert,” Lawrence tells Sounds Like Nashville. “It is a long day for sure, but I’m always excited about it. I’m amazed that it has been going on for this many years.”

The Mission: Possible footprint is also expanding and fast becoming a holiday tradition in such cities as Dallas and Louisville. “They have followed our blueprint and are doing everything that we are doing,” Lawrence proudly shares. “We’re hoping we can grow this into a national event and do some more just like the one we started in Nashville.” Over the years, Mission: Possible has raised more than a half million dollars and served more than 84,000 meals for the homeless and hungry in Nashville. “They estimate that about 7,000 plates of food will be served this year,” Lawrence notes. “It does require a lot of people and volunteers. We have people who donate turkeys, and that is such a big help. We’ll keep cooking until we cry ‘uncle,’ as we like to say.”

Lawrence’s involvement extends beyond the one-day fundraiser. Mission: Possible, he explains, is a year-round effort designed to raise awareness of homeless issues. “We want to change the public perception of homeless people,” Lawrence says. “Some of these people have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. Many in the homeless community are children. We need to understand the different situations that lead people down that path of homelessness. That is part of our purpose, to help educate people about the plight of the homeless.”

The day concludes with the Wildhorse Saloon concert, featuring an in-the-round format. This year’s star-studded show promises an evening of humor and hilarity, along with each artist’s litany of hits.

“They are all great guys, and we all know each other, so it should be a lot of fun,” Lawrence agrees. “And they really support what we are doing with Mission: Possible. Clay called me earlier this year and said he wanted to be part of it. The Halfway to Hazard guys have done this before, and this year we also have Rhett Akins.”

There’s a particular, easygoing bond between Lawrence and Justin Moore,  The Arkansas natives (and “long-suffering Arkansas football fans,” as Lawrence laments) have formed a solid friendship and will be heading out on a joint tour in 2020. “We do have a great chemistry together,” Lawrence says. “We’re really pleased that Justin will be joining us this year.” Fans who attend the concert have the extra opportunity to take part in a silent auction, with a number of celebrity items up for bid. Proceeds from the show and the auction benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission.

“There is a growing interest in this event, both in the Nashville community and among the artists,” Lawrence notes. “To see the support that we are getting is tremendous.”