About The Love Kitchen

In 1984, Helen Ashe first dreamed of creating a program to serve the needy of Knoxville. One day as she was watching a news broadcast, she saw a story about a soup line operated by Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville and she knew then what her mission was to be: help feed God’s children. Her twin sister, Ellen, shared in her excitement and joined Helen in her calling.

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

On February 14, 1986; the Love Kitchen first served 22 people in a small church in east Knoxville. Today, the Love Kitchen has its own building about 2 blocks from where it started and serves over 3,000 meals each week with more than eighty percent of those meals being delivered to homebound recipients. Every Wednesday there is an in-house breakfast and emergency food bags filled with both canned and dry goods are distributed. Thursdays, an in-house lunch is served and volunteers deliver meals to the elderly, disabled, and homebound.


From the beginning, Helen wished to only employ volunteers with no paid staff. More than 27 years later that spirit of volunteerism still survives through the generous donations of time and resources from all of our wonderful volunteers. If you would like to join in, please visit our “Volunteer” page for more information.

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