The Love Kitchen: Everybody is God’s Somebody

“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. Never take the last piece of bread. Someone may come by in need of it. 2. There is only one race, the human race. 3. There is only one Father and that is the Father in Heaven.

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.

When you come to the Love Kitchen, either as a volunteer or someone in need; that is the welcome you will receive. Well, that and one of the biggest, warmest hugs you can possibly imagine. Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, the founders, welcome each and every new person coming to the Love Kitchen as if you are visiting them at their home.

The Love Kitchen provides meals, clothing and emergency food packages to homebound, homeless and unemployed persons. We work with local agencies to provide meals, secure used clothing, and donate services in the hope of promoting the self-sufficiency of those we serve. The organization has no paid staff; all donations go to those who need it most. Our ultimate goal is to provide nourishment for anyone who is hungry and to establish a community center to serve as a safe haven supporting area children and their families.”

For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, please

Helen and Ellen were recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show, unknowingly there to meet a secret millionaire who donated a large sum to the Love Kitchen.

The Love Kitchen really needs people who would like to volunteer to deliver meals to our elderly, disabled, and homebound recipients. The meals are delivered on Thursday afternoons and a route usually takes about an hour to complete. You will be providing much needed food to people who cannot get out and cannot cook for themselves. You also get to see the "magic" of the Love Kitchen firsthand through the eyes of those who need it most. Many of our recipients have no visitors other than the once-a-week meal delivery driver. You can make a BIG difference in someone's life by providing that cheery greeting and nice smile each and every week. Please think about it and if you are interested, click on the "Volunteer" link in the menu at the left and let us know (we also provide complete maps so you won't get lost)