Friday, October 18, 2013

Update on the Shasta Camper & Supplies Needed

Hello All,

Operation Sleep Tight is currently taking donations for the mobile distribution site.  Through Operation Sleep Tight, there are various ways to get involved in serving our homeless neighbors and friends. 

One way to get involved is to help the kids stock up the mobile site with supplies.  We are currently asking for the following items:

Bar Soap
Travel Size Kleenex
Plastic Silverware (to be dispersed into baggies)
Deodorant (both male & female)
Travel Size Wipes
Toilet Paper
Socks (any size, both male & female)
Band aids
Travel Size Lotion (many deal with dry skin)
Gallon Size Ziplock Bags
Sandwich Size Ziplock Bags

We can pick up donations on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings or they can be dropped off at one of our homes during the week.  An address will be provided upon request.

Any monetary gifts can be sent to Reunion Christian Community's Paypal Account: 
Please click on "give" and enter in the Paypal notes that this gift is for Operation Sleep Tight's fund. 

We will be updating our list as needs arise.  If you'd like to receive our emails, please send us an email and you'll be on the list. 

Operation Sleep Tight will be going out weekly to a couple of different locations as we partner with other organizations that serve the homeless community.   We would love to have families join us once a month when it is convenient with your schedules. 

In the past two years, the kids of Operation Sleep Tight have handed out 207 sleeping bags to our homeless neighbors.  The desire to have a mobile distribution site started with a dream of one young boy.  It became a reality when the members of Reunion Christian Community donated enough funds to purchase the Shasta Camper.  The outside of the camper is almost complete and renovations to the inside will begin in the next few weeks. 

If you have any questions or would like to partner with us in anyway, please feel free to email me at 

Thank you,
Jackie Rizo

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For where He is, there is hope....

This morning I flipantly asked a homeless man, "How's it going?" 

He humbly whispered, "Mam, it's hard. I beg for money everyday just to eat. The positive side to my life is that it cannot get worse. Honestly, Mam, I'm not complaining. I simply know that by my hardships God gives me joy. God is with me." 

I looked into his deep, hungry eyes and I had no words of my own. For in that moment, he reminded me of a deep truth that is often forgotten.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13

Scripture. It speaks when we cannot.

For where He is, there is hope.
And where there is hope, peace is found.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Back in December, Josiah wanted to continue helping the homeless community in Nashville after all the sleeping
bags were passed out.  I honestly didn't know where his heart would take our family.

If this is your first time hearing about Operation Sleep Tight, let me give a quick overview.

*Back in 2011, We had been regularly attending a Wednesday night church service that feeds the homeless
community.  Josiah (he was 7yrs old at the time) began asking questions on where & how the homeless sleep
during the winter months.   After not being pleased with my answers, he began to dream up Operation Sleep Tight.

*The first year, we discussed a goal of raising enough funds to purchase 10 sleeping bags.  Through the generous gifts of many donors, Josiah personally handed out 56 sleeping bags to the homeless community in Nashville.  When asked why he is doing this, he simply answered, "I want them to have hope."

*The following year, he partnered with 3 other families and together, the kids raised and handed out 148 sleeping bags!  That makes 204 sleeping bags since 2011!!

The lessons learned from Operation Sleep Tight have been life changing.

We have made friends with many that received sleeping bags.

One of which has become a part of our family.

We have visited two separate tent cities and learned about their culture.

Our children are learning through experience that it is better to give than to receive.

I pray we are raising a generation that seeks to change the world for God's glory.

Operation Sleep Tight is the children's ministry with parental supervision.  They raise the funds, receive the bags, and pass out each sleeping bag.


A few months ago, Josiah mentioned about purchasing a camper and becoming a "mobile site" for the homeless community.  He has dreams of passing out water, lemonade, undergarments, and even putting in a generator to provide a way for the homeless community to charge their cell phones.  His dreams are as big as his heart.

As his mother, I didn't know how far I should allow his dreams to grow.  So, I looked at him and asked him to pray.  And so we did.  It wasn't a daily prayer, but we did pray often.  Josiah and I discussed options and I allowed him to dream out loud.

One of my Facebook friends that I met once here in Nashville liked a company called "Fine Designs Camper Sales".  It popped up on my news feed, so I thought, "why not?!"  and I liked them, too.

I prayed a few times with Josiah and felt the Lord saying that it was time to email this company.  After corresponding and talking to the mother of the company, we decided to purchase a 1969 Shasta camper.  However, our family did not have the funds to purchase it, so we prayed.  Through a HUGE donation from our church, Reunion Christian Community, the camper is PAID IN FULL!

And she is a BEAUTY!

Here are the plans for Operation Sleep Tight's camper:

1.  We will work on painting the outside & inside of the camper.
2.  Since it is already gutted, we will work on building shelves to hold and store supplies.
3.  Sergio and Josiah will work on a survey to ask at least 40 homeless people what their needs are and how Operation Sleep Tight can help.  Once the surveys are compiled, we will review them and raise funds for their needs.
4.  We are currently praying for funds to purchase a cheap vehicle that will transport the mobile site to different locations.

We are all very excited to share this news with you all.  We would covet your prayers!

If you would like to partner with Operation Sleep Tight in any way, please feel free to email me at

If you'd like to donate, you can do so through our church's website and Paypal account.  Simply add "Operation Sleep Tight" into the memo.

All checks can be sent to:

Operation Sleep Tight
C/O Reunion Christian Community
PO Box 281075
Nashville, TN 37228

Checks payable to Reunion Christian Community with "Operation Sleep Tight" in the memo.

We look forward to documenting the camper renovations and updating you all with our progress.  It is sure to be an adventure and we are excited to see where the Lord takes us & what He teaches us.

"We love because He first loved us."  
1 John 4:19

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Year: Big Plans

If you've been following Operation Sleep Tight on Facebook, you'll know that we've have recently partnered with East Nashville Cooperative Ministry to provide sleeping bags to those whom this ministry serves.  

"ENCM envisions a Nashville where citizen’s needs—
spiritual, educational, economic, mental, physical, and emotional—
are holistically met and neighborhoods are enabled to thrive. 
We contribute to this vision with food, clothing and education."

Operation Sleep Tight is excited about this partnership and how God will provide to those in need. 

Josiah (8) sat down with the Director, Allen Murdock, last week to discuss plans, goals, & strategies.  One of the things Allen mentioned to Josiah is that by the partnership of both Operation Sleep Tight & ENCM, the two ministries are helping save lives of those living on the streets.

Currently, three families have partnered alongside Operation Sleep Tight.  The total of children working hard at raising support to purchase sleeping bags is 10!!  In only one year, God has strengthen Operation Sleep Tight in numbers!  We are overwhelmed at the work of His hands and the hearts of our children.  

The goal this winter is to provide 100+ sleeping bags to those in need.  Operation Sleep Tight has partnered with ENCM because although the children can not personally journey alongside those in need, ENCM has the resources and volunteers to meet the spiritual, physical, & emotional needs of those to whom they serve.  

ENCM will be hosting a huge Thanksgiving Dinner to the community on the 21st of November.  It is our desire to be able to have sleeping bags to pass out at that time.  We currently have 3 sleeping bags on hand. 

If you'd like to donate, you may do so through the "Donate" button at the top-right of this page. 

Reunion Christian Community has allowed us to use their Paypal account for donations.  With the growth of Operation Sleep Tight, we thought it best (for many reasons) to have our funds all in one place accountability.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at  

If you'd like to purchase the sleeping bags from Wal-Mart, you can find the ones that have worked the best for the homeless here:  

We can pick them up at the Wal-Mart on Dickerson Road (Nashville).  Or another option is shipping them to our home address.  Please email me for that information.  

Any amount of donation is greatly appreciated.  The 21st of November is only 9 days away and Operation Sleep Tight is in need of your help.  

Thank you for journeying alongside Operation Sleep Tight in providing "a warm bed this winter" to the homeless!  

Please "like" Operation Sleep Tight on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the most current news.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"I Want Them to Have Hope" (2011)

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Psalm 62:5

I doubted the possibilities of Operation Sleep Tight.  I questioned myself in allowing Josiah to follow through with his thought of providing some warmth to the homeless this winter.  Is this the right thing?  How will this work?  Can our family afford 10 sleeping bags just in case he is unable to raise support?

Because of my doubt, I've been left with humility, gratitude, and amazement at what God has done through Josiah's mission.

Instead of raising 10 sleeping bags, as was the goal, Josiah was able to deliver 25 sleeping bags to those in need on Monday night while working alongside People Loving Nashville.  Then, an additional 15 sleeping bags were given to those at Green Street Church.  And as I write this, he has 6 more sleeping bags beside our Christmas tree and a few more coming in the mail.

Operation Sleep Tight has provided at least 46 sleeping bags to the homeless this winter!  And from the mouth of one man who received one, he sang, "I'm not going to be cold tonight!  Oh no!  I'm not going to be cold!"  (The dance he did was quite comical when reenacted by Josiah!)

Josiah personally handed out each sleeping bag and greeted each person respectfully.  When the last sleeping bag was handed out on Monday night, Josiah looked up at Sergio and asked, "Dad, what else can I do to help?"  Although there were no more sleeping bags to give, Josiah's sweet heart was not finished serving.  They joined a youth group and began passing out clothing items.

Josiah has been encouraged by his friends making homemade doggy treats to purchase some sleeping bags, he's been encouraged by our realtor whom he just met on Sunday, grandmothers, my long-time friends, Sergio's co-workers, a couple in our church here, & some of our neighbors.

Friends from Joplin, MO
I'd like to share one more thing about Josiah that I think you should know.  On Wednesday night, Sergio stood up before those at Green Street Church and interviewed Josiah.  Josiah was so shy and pretty much kept his face in Sergio's arm.  However, when Sergio asked Josiah, "What would you like everyone to know that receives a sleeping bag?"  Josiah quietly replied, "I want them to have hope."

I stood in the very back keeping our 2 & 3 yr olds quiet during their interview.  I watched as some clapped, some chanted his name, & as Josiah walked down the middle aisle to me, a man gave him a high-five.

We can not simply give them a title as "homeless" and be comfortable with all that it entitles.  No, because they are not just homeless; they are men, women, teens, and children who are hurting.  So, what can be done?  I couldn't say it any better than what the People Loving Nashville have already stated:

We are all hungry, so we bring food.
We are all shamed in our nakedness, so we bring clothes.
We are all broken, so we bring ears to listen and hear.
We are all scared, so we bring comfort.
We are all guilty, so we bring acceptance and honesty.
We are all living in chaos, so we bring peace.
We are all lonely, so we bring friendship and community.
We are all hurt, so we bring love.

Josiah showed me as well as others the meaning of unconditional love.  A love that shows no favoritism based on status, looks, needs, or what someone can give back to us.  Josiah showed me how to have faith like a child and believe that God will provide for His children.

His words play over again in my head, "That they have hope", and I couldn't agree with him more.

Mother Teresa is quoted saying, "If you can't feed 100 people, then just feed one."

I think that it can also be said in other ways.  If you can't clothe 100, then clothe one.  If you can't provide 100 sleeping bags, then provide one.  If you can't share the Gospel with 100, then share it with one.

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.  Psalm 9:17-19

Operation Sleep Tight was not done by one person, but was accomplished by the generosity of many.   We are truly grateful.
Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.  -Mother Teresa

*Please excuse the quality of pictures taken as they were taken with our cell phone.*

First Delivery Preparations (2011)

Before lunch last week, I asked Josiah to pray.  His prayer went something like this, "God, thank you for telling me to get sleeping bags for people in need.  I am having so much fun."

Wow!  I listened to him pray, looked over at the tower of sleeping bags, and my own heart was convicted.  Josiah has worked very hard and has done so joyfully.  I couldn't help but pray, "Lord, how many times have I walked away from a task that you've called me to and miss out on the 'fun' that You have for me and for others?  Or how many times have I grumbled over a task that You've given me?  Lord, I'm so sorry!"


Tonight is Josiah's first night of deliveries!  We are heading out to meet up with People Loving Nashville.

Here are the plans....

I will finish cleaning out our van this afternoon, buckle in our four kids, pack every corner of the van full of sleeping bags, strap the double stroller on top of the van, pick up Sergio from work, head to pick up Dwayne (our friend who has already been blessed by People Loving Nashville), and then go to our destination.

That's the easy part!

Here's where it gets hard.  How many sleeping bags do we take?  What will be our response when we pass all of them out and there is still someone who needs one?  Or what if there are 100 more in need?

My eyes fill up with tears just thinking about the 'what ifs'!

But let me tell you what I do know & where I choose to place my focus.  I am confident that the Lord has planned all of this and has been in charge of  "Operation Sleep Tight" this entire time.  He has given Josiah a heart of service and we are grateful for our son's love.  We have been praying that those who receive a sleeping bag will feel the love of Jesus and the hope that only He can give.

We are grateful for all of you who have donated funds and sent sleeping bags.  The total is in the 40's and I will have a definite number in the next couple of days.  There have been a couple of families who have bought some online and have had them sent to our house.  Any bags that arrive after Wednesday, will be taken to Green Street Church the following Wednesday where they can be passed out to those in need.

I will post soon about tonight's experience and hopefully will have some pictures to share of what the Lord is doing because of your generosity & prayers!

Many will be a little warmer this winter because of Operation Sleep Tight.

Thank you for partnering with Operation Sleep Tight!

*Sorry about the quality of pictures, they were taken with our cell phone.*

"Thank You" (2011)

I would like to send a big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in donations for Operation Sleep Tight.

As of today, 23 sleeping bags have been purchased and donations continue to come in, so this number is still growing.  We are truly grateful!!


Our initial plans were to take the sleeping bags to one location, a church off of Green Street in Downtown Nashville, but God has been working on another location as well. On Monday, the 12th, we will meet with "People Loving Nashville" at the Belmont Church in Downtown Nashville to deliver some of the sleeping bags.  We were connected with this ministry through our friend, Dwayne, who has been blessed by them.

"People Loving Nashville" meet at a church, fix meals for 150+ people, pray, and then deliver them out into the community.  They are meeting people face-to-face and building relationships.  Some of them already know of people who could use a sleeping bag now.

Josiah may not be able to meet one-on-one and to build these relationships, but through Operation Sleep Tight, he's able to come alongside and help meet a need of another ministry, like People Loving Nashville & Green Street Church.

Here's their mission statement taken right off of their website:

As People Loving Nashville…
We do not make assumptions about the people we meet.  We cannot know what life is like in another person’s shoes.  We do not pretend to have answers for every problem.  We do not bring judgement, control, disrespect, arrogance, or violence.


We are all hungry, so we bring food.
We are all shamed in our nakedness, so we bring clothes.
We are all broken, so we bring ears to listen and hear.
We are all scared, so we bring comfort.
We are all guilty, so we bring acceptance and honesty.
We are all living in chaos, so we bring peace.
We are all lonely, so we bring friendship and community.
We are all hurt, so we bring love.

Check out their video.  It's only 2 minutes long & well worth the time:

On December 14th, we will head out to Green Street Church to worship, serve a meal, and hand out the remainder of the sleeping bags.  Josiah will be talking about his heart to give everyone a warm bed this winter and how he could not have done this alone.

We are very thankful for all of your donations, sweet words, and prayers.  God's love has been shown through so many of you.  There have been mothers who have given on behalf of their kids, grandmothers donating in honor of their grandkids, birthday gifts being given by purchasing sleeping bags, a fundraiser ran by two siblings in order to donate, long-time friends from my childhood years, relatives, Sergio's sweet co-workers, and much more.... the list of people given keeps growing.

Thank you for your generosity!
 Thank you for supporting Operation Sleep Tight!