Love Kitchen Beginnings
In 1984, Helen Ashe first dreamed of creating a program to serve the needy of Knoxville. One day as she was watching television she saw a soup line operated by the Church Street United Methodist Church and she knew then what her mission was to be. Her twin sister, Ellen, quickly shared in her excitement and joined in her new quest.
The sisters, born in Abbeville, South Carolina, feel that the concept of The Love Kitchen has always been with them in the ideals instilled by their parents. Ellen and Helen are very thankful for the teachings of their parents and will always remember the three "truths" their father taught them:
- 1. There is only one Father and that is the Father in Heaven.
- 2. There is only one race, the human race.
- 3. Never take the last piece of bread. Someone may come by in need of it.
Helen and Ellen's dream became a reality in the basement of a small church in February 1986. The first day the Love Kitchen opened its doors, they served 22 meals. Today The Love Kitchen prepares over 2,000 meals each week and more than eighty percent of these meals are delivered to homebound recipients.
On Wednesdays there is an in-house breakfast served and emergency food bags prepared and distributed. Thursdays, an in-house lunch is also served and preparations continue for homebound meal deliveries.
In 2001, The Love Kitchen celebrated the "dawn" of The Love Kitchen Community Center. This center will offer training classes and be a "safe haven" for Knoxville's underprivileged children.