NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Pastor Glenda Gleaves Sutton is a dreamer. She had a dream as a young girl picking cotton in a Louisiana field, and that dream finally became a reality. "In the midst of my brokenness because I had been beaten." She remembered.
Her journey was unimaginable. "I was the victim of abuse." She said.
The married mother of two boys hit rock bottom in May of 1989.
"The right side of my face and the left side of my face didn't look the same," Sutton said.
But she is also a dreamer, and she has used her life and everything that she has to give hope and dreams to others.
Without money, a job, or even a place to live, Sutton moved with her kids to Nashville. She was homeless for 21 days, but she is a dreamer. She not only dreamed of a better life for her family but also anyone else who was dreamless.
"The statement from my life has come walk with me. I believe the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you live, and the way you give sets the pace for everything else." Sutton said.
Over the last 32 years, Sutton has used every second living that statement. She moved into Cayce Homes and began her journey of giving. That proved to be successful. So much so, she ran a Family Center in Berkshire Place Apartments.
"They could renovate the building, but they couldn't renovate the people. So they said, 'I'll tell you what, let's partner together, and it's been an amazing partnership," Sutton said.
Twenty-two years later, it's still going strong. Now Sutton has a 5,000 square foot facility where she houses any, and everything people may need to make ends meet. From food to diapers, and even a soon-to-be library for kids to read and, of course, dream. But don't mistake this for a food bank.
"We are not a handout. We are a hand up." Sutton said. "There's a difference. A hand out you just give somebody something. A hand up, I will give you this, and I will pull you up with it. So let's use this, and let's go to the next step. Let's find out what we can do to make things better."
Her passion for helping others stems from her upbringing as an underprivileged dreamer in Louisiana.
"I was in a cotton field when I was in Louisiana chopping cotton, and I looked at a plantation house that I didn't have access to. I saw people sitting on a porch, and they were drinking tea or lemonade or whatever they were drinking. But I didn't have access to it." Sutton remembered.
Now, she has Papa's Place, named after her Heavenly Father. It's a plantation that sits on 20 breathtaking acres. Sutton's non-profit company Family Affair Ministries owns the plantation. But, as rocking chairs sit lazily on the front porch, know that Papa's Place is not an Airbnb. It is not for rent, and Sutton does not live there. Instead, it's a place of rest. A place to retreat. A place for the dreamer.
"The wounded. The broken. The dreamless. The grandma is raising their grandbabies because their parents are locked away, and she doesn't know how to dream. So I bring grandma. Put her in the rocking chair. Give her some lemonade. Give her some tea," She said.
Pastor Sutton says she and her husband have helped thousands of Nashvillians through their work. But, she said the most important thing people need is hope, and she is prepared to give them that and so much more.