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Friendship Diner gets $10,000 grant

August 26th, 2012 9:36 pm by staff report

The Friendship Diner at First Broad Street Methodist Church has received a $10,000 grant in honor of Northwestern Mutual financial representative David Lively for his exceptional volunteer commitment as part of the company’s 18th annual Community Service Award program.

Founded by Lively in 1997, the Friendship Diner provides a hearty breakfast every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year to anyone in the Kingsport community in need of food and fellowship. The diner is operated and staffed by volunteers who serve an average of 200 guests each weekend.

“In the last 14 years, the Friendship Diner has served over 100,000 meals — approximately 169,000 eggs, 267,000 biscuits, 2,290 gallons of gravy, 10,000 pounds of bacon, 5,600 pounds of sausage, 5,800 gallons of orange juice and 4,300 gallons of milk,” Lively said. “The Friendship Diner provides a vital service to the community that goes beyond basic food provisions. It is a second family for many of the guests, and for some, it is their only family.”

“Dave is a fine example of what can happen when one individual says, ‘I have an idea. Wanna help?’” said Danny Howe, First Broad’s missions director. “Fourteen years ago, Dave had an inspired idea. His vision was to have a safe place where anyone could come enjoy the friendship and have a wonderful meal. The diner has become much more than a place to have breakfast. We have laughed and cried together. We have celebrated births and watched friends die. Some would have died alone. It has been a blessing to the volunteers and the friends who have enjoyed the meals that have been served over the last 14 years. We have come to realize that are all the same. We have realized that ‘There but for the grace of God, go I.’”

The diner program is funded primarily by individual contributions to the church. Howe said the $10,000 Northwestern Mutual Foundation grant comes at a critical time to help support the growing number of guests and the program’s emergency fund, which addresses the urgent needs of diner guests.

Lively is one of 26 Northwestern Mutual financial professionals recognized nationally as exceptional volunteers in this year’s Community Service Award program.

This is the fifth year Lively received a Northwestern Mutual Community Service Award for his volunteer service with East Tennessee non-profit organizations. It’s the second time the award has benefited the Friendship Diner. In previous years, he won the award for his service with Hope Haven Ministries, a shelter for men, women and children in Kingsport (2001); Mountain Region Donor Services in Johnson City, an organ and tissue donor registry (2003); and Transplant Speakers International, an organization that trains volunteers of local and regional transplant organizations (2006).

“Helping even one person can strengthen a community. Dave Lively and our other exceptional volunteers have helped hundreds,” said Northwestern Mutual Foundation president John Kordsmeier. “We’re excited to see Dave and the Friendship Diner continue their essential work.”

Since Northwestern Mutual started the Community Service Award program in 1995, the company has donated more than $3 million on its representatives’ behalf to over 300 nonprofit organizations across the country.

For more information about the Friendship Diner, visit

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