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The Love Kitchen receives new van and more than 7k ahead of 35th anniversary

The Love Kitchen began on Valentine's Day in 1986, when twin sisters Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner served 22 meals to people in need.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — The Love Kitchen is turning 35 on Valentine's Day! 

In honor of its anniversary, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs on Friday delivered its canned goods and $7,428.49  in donations, collected from 2020's Festival of Lights.

RELATED: 2020 Festival of Lights sets new record for non-perishable donations, more than 7k raised

Additionally, Rusty Wallace Nissan donated a passenger/ cargo van for the non-profit. 

The event will took place at 11 a.m. at the Nissan dealership at 4515 Clinton Highway. 

Executive Director of the Love Kitchen Patrick Riggins said the public's donations and the new van will allow the Love Kitchen to continue to provide more meals to the Knoxville community. 

“The Love Kitchen has a long history of service in Knox County,” said Riggins. “The support we receive from the community—both from individuals and businesses—is what continues to make it possible.”

The non-profit continues to provide meals, clothing, and emergency food packages for the homebound, homeless and unemployed. 

Volunteers serve more than 3,000 meals per week and deliver more than 80 percent of those meals to the elderly, disabled and homebound. 

“In the year of COVID-19 a lot of things changed, but not this,” said Mayor Jacobs. “The Festival of Lights is an incredible community tradition, and the Love Kitchen is a great organization. I’m grateful for the generous contributions from so many who were able to enjoy it and help out.”

The Love Kitchen began on Valentine's Day in 1986, when twin sisters Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner served 22 meals to people in a small church in East Knoxville.