New Labor of Love Project to help Childhelp Tennessee

6:59 PM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
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In April of 2011, the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville revealed the first of two Labor of Love home renovations to Love Kitchen co-founder Helen Ashe. Her sister Ellen's home would be revealed two months later.  That same month, East Tennessee was hit by two damaging storms. 

The storms did considerable damage to the Childhelp Tennessee building in Knoxville. Childhelp is a Children's Advocacy Center that helps with child abuse cases in the Knox County district.

"We provide a kid-friendly location for children to come here, visit with our forensic interviewer," said Childhelp Tennessee director, Hugh Nystrom. "We'll find out exactly what happened in the case."

Nystrom said Childhelp had to patch the roof following the 2011 storms. However, that was a quick and temporary fix.

"We had a roofer come out and lay down some patches on top of the building just to keep the rain from coming in. As we went through inspecting the roof we found a lot of other structural damage, we've got some bricks on the exterior wall that are starting to peel. We have bricks dropping down which is a safety issue in addition to a structure issue that we found over the course of getting the roof repaired," Nystrom said.

Enter the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville, who were approached about Childhelp's damaged building.

"It was a total gift out of nowhere," said Nystrom. "Between the gifts from the community, our donors and some of the insurance that we got, combine (that) with the home builders, and we're just thrilled that we're going to be able to get this place safe and secure."

"We'll be physically stripping off the entire roof and replacing the existing roof as well as the wall on the far east side of the building, the brick facade is pulling away from the building" said HBA of Greater Knoxville Vice-President Scott Davis. "We'll also do a significant amount of structure work to the outside of the building as well as a lot of trim work, paint, and bathroom renovations on the interior part of the building."

The work is scheduled to begin the week of December 3 and should last at least a couple of weeks. They're asking for volunteers and material donations.

"The Home Builders Association would love to have financial assistance for Childhelp, labor assistance, material assistance, folks who are technically savvy who could help re-wire some of the building," said Davis. "Material resources for ceiling tiles, brick and possibly heat and air services and trim work."

Davis said replacing the roof is the highest priority. After that, they'll remove the brick facade.

"We're just really excited about the opportunity to help Hugh Nystrom and his folks here.," says Davis. "The HBA feels very committed to reaching out to the community. We did a great job last year with Helen & Ellen and the Love Kitchen and we look forward to helping out this year."

How you can help


Volunteers are needed for general clean-up and labor beginning They're also looking for experienced electricians to do wiring in the building. Volunteers will be needed starting December 4 and lasting up to two weeks. If you can help, please email (Please include days and times you can help out and a daytime phone number where you can be reached).

Supply Donations

Right now these are the most needed items for roof repairs

  • Large tarps
  • Contractor bags (huge trash bags available at Lowe's, etc.)
  • Gloves
  • Eyewear protection
  • Dust masks
  • Orange vests

Childhelp Wish List

These are some of the things Childhelp Tennessee would like to have to take care of some cosmetic issues in their building.

  • Paint
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Trim
  • Windows inside the building
  • New Television with built-in DVD player
  • Storage
  • Kitchen Counters

To donate the items call the Home Builders Association at (865) 546-4665 x25 or email or visit

How to help Childhelp Tennessee

Right now their most critical need is for Foster and Adoptive Parents. For more information on the organization visit or call (865) 637-1753.

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