Love Kitchen founder dies at 89

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Update: Funeral services open to all have been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Fifth Ave. Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at the church. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary.

The Love Kitchen will remain open this week, feeding the hungry and caring for those in the community who need it most – “as Helen would want,” according to a Facebook post from the organization on Tuesday.

Helen Ashe, co-founder with her sister, passed away in her sleep this morning, the message stated. “We will post more information about the memorial service and other arrangements as we receive them from the family.”

Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner were twins – both had careers in nursing; both had operated restaurants. In retirement, when Helen felt called to establish an East Knoxville food pantry, she immediately recruited her sister. The women launched The Love Kitchen in 1986, according to their website. They served 22 people from the basement of a small church.

The sisters worked tirelessly, growing the organization until it now operates from its own building at 2418 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., serving some 3,000 people each week. The business office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Volunteers serve breakfast and pack emergency food bags on Wednesdays; they serve lunch in-house and deliver food to shut-ins on Thursdays.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said Ashe and Turner “led by example” and were cherished nationally for their selfless giving. “As many people have said many times, the Love Kitchen feeds both body and soul, providing not just meals to the hungry but comfort and love.”


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