KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Dozens of people lined up outside the Love Kitchen on Wednesday for a chance to get a bag of groceries, exactly one year after beloved co-founder Helen Ashe passed away.
More than three decades ago, Ashe and her sister Ellen Turner set out on an important mission of love and devotion to serve their community. While their presence is sorely missed by many, their legacy burns bright.
"I always think of them today in my heart," former employee, Leroy Mundy said.
Mundy said the Love Kitchen captured his heart from the first day it opened. He started off helping out in the kitchen and eventually went on to deliver food to people out in the community.
"I was in this area on foot. If it was raining or snowing, I was moving," he said.
That was decades ago. Mundy is now 73 years old and his life is vastly different. He now received the same kind of help he used to help give years ago.
"I come here and get groceries because I'm on a fixed income," he said. " But this helped me just like it helps everybody who comes to the Love Kitchen."
In fact, Love Kitchen Executive Director Patrick Riggins said more and more people are getting the help they need.
"I would say we feed about 1,500 people in house and make over 1,000 delivered each week." he said.
It is the kind of impact Munda said has to be looked at from a spiritual lens.
"It's god's way of saying, I love thy neighbor," he said.
While both sisters are now gone, Munday said they will remain in his heart no matter where he goes.
"Some days I look back at that kitchen and it feels like I can see them doing their job," he said.