Some East Tennessee charities say they are seeing less volunteers come through their doors now that the holiday season is wrapping up.
Love Kitchen Office Manager Jean Alexander said the East Knoxville non-profit is currently 15 drivers short of what it needs to comfortably deliver meals to people in the community. She said while the Love Kitchen always needs drivers, the holidays can become particularly tight because many regular volunteers are not available.
"Spring break, Christmas break, fall break, everybody's got kids in school or they're in UT or it's something to do with going home," Alexander said. "The holidays are just really hard."
Alexander said Thursday morning she was still looking for volunteers to deliver meals. She said without the help, about 100 people in Knoxville might not receive The Love Kitchen's food.
"People don't realize that 52 weeks out of the year we're delivering food to people, not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas," she said.
And, the Love Kitchen isn't the only East Tennessee non-profit seeing a volunteer shortage either. Mobile Meals Senior Nutrition Specialist Judith Pelot told 10News her group has been about 15 volunteers short this week.
She said it has been hard to get enough people to cover all of Mobile Meals' routes.
"We are just constantly trying to find different community groups or individuals that will help us," Pelot said.
The situation at Knox Area Rescue Ministries near downtown Knoxville is a bit different, according to President and CEO Burt Rosen. He said KARM typically sees a bump in the amount of people who decide to volunteer before Christmas. Then, following the holiday, those numbers go down, but not to an amount Rosen would classify as a shortage.
Either way, he asks that holiday volunteers consider giving up some of their time to help people in need year round.
"We come back and remind people and encourage them that we are a 24/7, 365 day a year operation," Rosen said.
If you would like to help any of these organizations, you can find information on how to do so below:
- The Love Kitchen: Call (865) 546-3248; Drivers typically work about an hour and help at about 6 to 7 homes.
- Mobile Meals: Call (865) 524-2786 and ask for Mobile Meals or email Jennifer.Oakes@knoxseniors.org