KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Food and fellowship are two big elements of the Kitchen of Hope in Kingsport that visitors receive when they visit.
The volunteer organization that literally started in a kitchen, provides meals for those who need a little extra help. This past year, they had to switch to a to-go-only service, but they are still providing a good meal and kind words to those who need it.
Holston Medical Group team member Deana West has used the Mission Into Motion program to continue to serve at Kitchen Of Hope, of which she’s been a part for more than 20 years.
Deana said, “We cook the same thing every eight weeks. We cook homemade vegetable beef soup, and whatever side we have to go with it. Bread, crackers, cornbread, grilled cheese, whatever we decide to cook.”
Though the pandemic has changed their strategy, they still serve around 160 meals a day.
“It’s really just people trying to stretch a budget, stretch their food stamps, stretch their money. If they can come and eat there for free, then that saves their money for something else. That really impacts me, that we help all kinds of people,” Deana said.
Nellie Valk-Roberts started volunteering at Kitchen Of Hope, and never left.
“Here it is 18 years later and it’s a bigger part of my life than it ever has been, and I ever would have dreamed it would be,” Nellie said.
Relying solely on the generosity of others, Kitchen Of Hope has seen its share of miracles. Deana recalls a particularly busy day when she didn’t think her team had enough food.
“But every time we went back to replenish the warming table where we serve from, the soup level never seemed to go down,” she said. “My whole team talked about it. We said it was like the loaves and five fishes, you know!”
But to some, the miracle is not only the blessing of a meal, but a dash of kind words, and a sprinkle of hope.
“That’s what our acronym is,” Nellie said. “The ‘Hope’ in Kitchen Of Hope means ‘Helping Other People Eat’. And that’s what we want to do.”
Kitchen Of Hope relies solely on donations. Whatever money they receive is the money they have that month. You can help by joining or forming a cooking team, donating food for the pantry, or making a monetary donation.