Love Kitchen founders turning 80

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- The Love Kitchen is known for two things.

The first is serving the homeless and the homebound throughout Knoxville.

The second is the pair of special ladies, behind it all, who are about to turn 80.

Some call them the “Love Kitchen Twins.”

Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner will reach their eight decade on Saturday.

They decided to start the love kitchen in 1984, and it took two years to get off the ground.

Now it has been going strong for 21 years, and they show no signs of fading away.

"It just amazes me that I don't feel 80,” said Ellen, “I don't feel 70 and I haven't slowed down."

According to the twins, the idea for the Love Kitchen was born before they were.

"It was planned when we were to be born twins, said Ellen, “because what God put us here to do was too much for one, so he sent two of us."

Growing up, their father instilled some life-long lessons in them.

"He taught us not to take the last piece of bread from the table, because somebody may come by that is hungry,” said Helen.

Helen and Ellen now remain an inseparable inspiration after working side-by-side to serve food to the homeless and homebound for 21 years.

"My sister is my very best friend in this whole world,” said Ellen. “We don't agree on everything, but we always compromise."

"We work together and we dress alike,” said Helen. “She is my best friend, my therapist and my everything."

On Thursday, Mayor Bill Haslam paid a special visit to the twins.

"It was a surprise to see him walk in and bring us the beautiful bouquet of flowers,” said Ellen.

The sisters were quick to point out that their kitchen wouldn't exist without their dedicated volunteers.

"There's a lot of love here and they share it not only with the volunteers, but with all those who come in here,” said Larry Brice Sr., a Love Kitchen volunteer.

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