Brightness crew member gets a hug from a happy shopperA Redstone Brightness Crew recently bought groceries and brightened lives of some Murfreesboro residents. In return, crew members received hugs, tears and lots of thanks. Giving to someone else is a great way to bring a smile to both the giver and the receiver. 

Redstone Brightness Crew brightens lives in Murfreesboro

June 15, 2017

Faia Hardy was excited that the Brightness Crew showed up at Aldi on Robert Rose Drive in Murfreesboro

Redstone’s Acts of Brightness take on a special meaning when our Brightness Crews meet other people who are out spreading their own kind of cheer.

That’s what happened recently in Murfreesboro when our crew set out to buy groceries for unsuspecting residents.  

We met Tammy Pirtle at the Walmart Neighborhood Store behind our Fortress Drive branch. Pirtle is mother of 8-year-old Charlie who used his Christmas money to start a ministry last year to help those less fortunate.

His mother was buying food items to donate through Charlie’s ministry. Tammy had been praying on her way to the grocery store because Charlie didn’t have enough money left in his account to pay for the groceries. But, the Brightness Crew was there to save the day. “This is such a blessing,’’ she said.

Tammy Pirtle says the Brightness Crew was an answer to prayer.Charlie started helping others by buying eyeglasses for a fellow student. He also began selling repurposed street signs to raise funds to purchase more glasses for children who needed them.

"He had to get glasses last year and he saw how expensive it was, and he realized other kids couldn't afford it," said Tammy.

He has already assisted about 50 families in the Murfreesboro City Schools system - which has 12 schools serving 7,200 students between pre-kindergarten through 6th grade.

Over the summer, Charlie plans to put together care packages for those families that fall through the poverty cracks. These families earn just a little too much money to qualify for public assistance – but have tremendous needs.

"He just wants to help people," Tammy said proudly of her son.

Redstone’s Brightness Crews hit the road once monthly to do good deeds. Last week, crew members visited three grocery stores in Murfreesboro and bought groceries for more than 100 families. In May, a Brightness Crew paid for gas at Murfreesboro gas stations.

Redstone has two full-service branches in Murfreesboro – 1749 South Rutherford Blvd. and 1141 Fortress Blvd. 

Mike Panesi, Tennessee Market executive, said he is excited about all Redstone does in the community. 

Brightness crew member gets a hug from a happy shopper.The Brightness Crew, in their fluorescent yellow T-shirts, also invited people to the Fortress Boulevard grand opening ceremony that was held June 8.  

Murfreesboro is located at the geographic center of Tennessee. With a population of more than 130,000, the city has been Tennessee’s fast-growing and one of the nation's fastest-growing cities since the early 1990s.

Despite its rapid growth, it has pockets of people who are just getting by.

The Brightness Crew bought about $35 in groceries for Andy Lynch, who has been homeless on and off in Murfreesboro and Nashville for the past seven years. Lynch had set up shop outside Aldi where he was selling copies of FaithUnity, a nonprofit "streetpaper" that supports people experiencing homelessness. He came inside to buy a few essentials and was met by the Brightness Crew.

"This means I can eat and be healthy," he said.

Lynch said he became homeless after having several strokes and experiencing other health problems. Now he lives in a tent and uses a hot plate powered by a car battery to cook food.

There are around 250 to 300 people experiencing homelessness in Murfreesboro, according to local nonprofit The Journey Home.

Also at Aldi, was Faia Hardy, who was buying groceries as she embarks on a healthier eating plan.

Faia said the free groceries from Redstone were a sign from God that she was making the right decisions.

"I’m buying healthy food to change my lifestyle. I want to feel better and change little things in my life," she said. "This is a sign from the universe, a sign that God is pushing me on my way."

Read more about Charlie Pirtle’s ministry here.   



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