About Us


History of Luke 14:12


Luke 14:12 began serving Nashville’s homeless community in 1983!  In 1983 Miss Laura B. McCray, a member of Edgehill United Methodist Church, served a pot of soup to two people in need. Luke 14:12 was born out of Miss Laura’s desire to serve a dinner-style meal to all who would come. After Miss Laura's death, an independent ecumenical board of directors was created to guide Luke 14:12 and in 1998, Amy Gallagher, the first Executive Director, was hired. As our number of guests increased, additional part-time staff were hired from the homeless community to assist in preparing the noon meals each Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

In August 2006, Luke 14:12 moved its operation from Edgehill United Methodist Church to the Fellowship Hall of Belmont Church on Music Row. In January 2011 Luke 14:12 moved again, this time to the dining room of Room In The Inn at 705 Drexel St, Nashville, TN 37203.

Luke 14:12 is one of the oldest continually operating soup kitchens in the Nashville area. 
It is the goal of the Board of Directors that a variety of faith communities, individuals and businesses join together in a common purpose to feed those who are unable to feed themselves.

Board of Directors


Rev. Amy Dodson-Watts

Executive Director



Chris Highfield


Jeff Miller

Vice President

Mike Carroll         


Ed Wilkinson   


Mark Brewer


Kinisha Floyd



Joy Gooch


Loree Howse


Monique Hunter


Ellen Koonce


Brandi Randesi


         Rosalee Skoog




Alec Miller

           Volunteer Coordinator



Amy Gallagher

 Executive Director, Emeritus





About the founder of Luke 14:12: Miss Laura B. McCray

       In 1983 at Edgehill United Methodist Church, Miss Laura B. McCray, a church member, brought a pot of soup to a hungry staff member. A homeless man passed by, asked for some food and all three shared the pot of soup. Miss Laura was and extraordinary woman who recognized the need to feed the homeless and hungry of Nashville, and so began Luke 14:12.  The quality of the meal was important to Miss Laura, for she knew this meal could perhaps be the only one her guest might have that day. In keeping with the namesake verse from Luke, each day a banquet was to be served.

In 1997 Miss Laura's life was featured on an NBC documentary, "A Lifetime of Sharing." She was an example of an African-American woman who had worked through church and community structures to further the civil rights movement, hunger relief, African-American education and Christian service. She was also featured on "Passages," a 90-second radio series produced cooperatively by the United Methodist Communications and Presbyterian Media Mission. She remained active in community outreach into her 90s and was quoted as saying: "You never stop trying to do the best you can so that you can help someone else to be the best that they can be."


Nashville songwriter Radney Foster wrote of Miss Laura in his song, "Everyday Angel."

"In 'Everyday Angel,' he (Foster) fixes his gaze on ordinary folks who make their marks on the world by helping those in need ...one is the late Laura B. McCray, an Alabama woman who started a program to feed the poor at Luke 14:12 in Tennessee. McCray had been an active part of the civil rights movement, Foster says, as well as an instrumental figure in the early career of the Commodores at Tuskegee Institute. She offered the musicians a place to practice and use of a piano when such things were precious commodities to the fledgling group. Foster says the Commodores never forgot Miss Laura's kindness, and would send a limousine to fetch her to a front-row seat whenever they performed near Nashville. "


Foster says,  more than 500 people showed up to memorialize McCray and remember her good deeds at her funeral. "In the music business, they talk about star quality, that indescribable charisma someone has," Foster says. 'Usually it's someone young and beautiful. She was elderly, movin' slow and peaceful. But when she walked into a room, she lit it up.' " (Mary Colurso, The Birmingham News). Taken from Radney Foster's Website, www.purespunk.com.