Charity Work At The Love Kitchen, Traveling, & The Red Rooster! (TN) “DAY 276” – 4/6/11

April 8, 2011 - 11:50 am - (NC) “DAY 276” - Week 41 - State 37

I woke up this morning a little later than wanted to (11 am) because I stayed up until 3:30 am listening to the reality Re-hab channel that was happening outside my Motel 6 door.

The reason this affected me was because I had to be out of my room by noon and on top of that, I wanted to try and do some charity at the Love Kitchen which opens it’s doors this morning around the same time I woke.  Basically what I’m saying is... I gotta get a move on. 🙂

Leaving Motel 6
My plan for the day is this... I hope to get to the Love Kitchen sight unseen and do some charity work for the day. (This might be tough as most places around the country want you to register, fill out more paperwork, and etc. before you can volunteer.)  We’ll see, but at least I’ll try.

Then, after I leave the Love Kitchen (whether I do charity work or not), I’m heading to Nashville which is 3 hours away where I plan on spending the rest of my week.  I may have places to stay there through Conner (who I met in Dallas at the Super Bowl) but even if I don’t, there is a hostel in town for $25 a night.  That’s the plan.

Arriving At The Love Kitchen
I got to the Love Kitchen shortly before noon and was happy to see that today they were open. (The sign said it would be but you never know.) 😉  After checking out the outside of the building, I walked inside to see if I could help out somehow today.

The Love Kitchen
When I entered the building it was packed with people who were there for meals as well others who were there to help.  Nice!  I can already tell this place is very functional and well received by the people of Knoxville. 🙂

Then, as I was looking around to see who I needed to speak with, I saw a sign that was slightly discouraging for me.  Basically it said, in order to volunteer you had to schedule it though Helen.  Since I hadn’t spoken to anybody, I might have problems.  We’ll see though.

Meeting Helen & Ellen
Now, I didn’t know who ran this place or who was in charge at all.  All I knew about the Love Kitchen is what Lambert (hotel owner in Cherokee, NC) told me the other morning.   (That this place was on a reality TV show recently and he liked what he saw.)

Anyway, there I was standing outside of the main office waiting patiently to talk with somebody about helping out today. (I didn’t even know who to approach at this point.)  Then, as I was waiting, a lady started to thank a older woman sitting in a chair by what seemed to be the main front desk.

After seeing that exchange, I knew that the older woman had to be someone important here, so I walked up to her and introduced myself.

Meeting Helen
I don’t want this to come off wrong, but she was very old and I didn’t even know how lucid she would be.  None-the-less, I started to tell her my story and what I found out was... she was sharp as a tack!

This lady was something else as with-in seconds I could feel her positive loving energy. I know I’m sounding like a hippie right now, but sometimes people just have a good aura about them and this lady was one of them.  She was super cool! 🙂

During our conversation I found out that her and her twin sister Ellen (who was sitting next to her on the phone working) have ran this place for the last 25 years helping out the community of Knoxville.  Amazing!

Helen Puts Me To Work, Nice! 🙂
After speaking with Helen about my journey as well as hers for a few minutes, she attempted to introduce me to her sister (Ellen) but she was so engulfed in her work, she didn’t even notice I was taking a picture with her. 🙂

Then, since Helen is 5 minutes older than her twin sister, she told me she was boss and made an executive decision. (These ladies were funny!) 🙂  Helen told me that of course I could stay and help out as she called in Greg to put me to work in the kitchen.

Learning More About The Love Kitchen
Before I was put to work in the kitchen (making and serving breakfast), Greg showed me around and told me more about what they do here.  Now Gregg told me a lot of stuff, but the thing that resinated with me the most was the amount of meals they serve here a week (over 2,000).

The way it works here is the actual facility is only open 2 days a week.  But... in those two days they make meals that will last a family all week. (They give 7 individual meals to each person in need to take with them when they leave.)

Also, they serve breakfast from 12-3pm-ish on Wednesdays and lunch on Thursdays. (That’s what I’m doing today, serving breakfast to the people who come here to have a meal in the Love Kitchen.)

So, between the meals to go and meals ate in house, they serve over 2,000 meals per week in just two days of work. (They do work 14 hours days during those two days to make it happen.)  Needless-to-say, all the people that work here work hard and the best part is... they do it with a smile on their face! 🙂

Working In The Kitchen
I could get into all details about what I did today but basically I helped out wherever I was needed.  That being said, my main job was serving breakfast to all the people that came in for a meal.

But, I wasn’t working alone as there were a group of people I worked with all day to make it happen.  First, there was Diane who I spoke with almost the whole time I was there.  She’s a great woman with a superb outlook on life.  It was great meeting you Diane. 🙂

Then, there were 3 girls from the local school for the deaf who came down to give back today as well. (They plated all the food that I handed out to the people.)  I didn’t have any problem communicating with them as they must understand New Jersey hand gestures. 😉

Other than the people I just mentioned, there were many others who helped out in order to make everything run as smoothly as it did during the time I was there.  I had so much fun with everybody there that before I knew it, the breakfast they served was over and it was time for me to go.

Saying Good-Bye To The Sisters
It was after 3 pm when I walked back into the Twins office to say good-bye and thank them for letting me help out in their kitchen.

F.Y.I. - I didn’t know it before I got here but I was real lucky to meet the sisters today because they have been sick recently with the flu.  Consequently, this was just their second day back to work in 6 weeks.  I was also told that many people have come here to meet them recently but they weren’t able to.

Anyway, when I entered the office this time, Ellen wasn’t as busy, so I was able to talk with both sisters at the same time.  The women are so funny because they still act like 18 year twin sisters in they way they act toward each other.

What I mean is, they still compete with each other, they still pick on each other, while having an amazing zest for life!  Here’s an example of their personality.

These 83 Year Old Twins Are Funny
After speaking with the sisters for a few minutes, I was getting ready to leave so I asked if I could take a picture with both of them.  Then Ellen looks at me from the desk and says, “You wanna make an Oreo cookie with us Rooster, you got it!” LOL  This coming from an 83 year old women.  So funny! 🙂

The Sisters Give Me A Present
After being the creme in the best Oreo cookie around, the sisters then each handed me a different Love Kitchen t-shirt to take with me on the trip.  I gotta tell ya, these women were just to funny as they did almost everything at the same time.

For instance, after the picture I took of them handing me the shirts, they each began to fold it for me the same way at the same time. LOL  So cute!  Thank you so much Helen and Ellen! 🙂

Leaving The Love Kitchen
It was now after 3 pm and since I had 3 hour drive ahead of me, it was time go.  So I said good-bye to everybody again and gave the sisters a hug.  They were just so amazing... I had to!  Thank you all, this is a memory I will never ever forget! 🙂

Traveling To Nashville
The ride wasn’t a bad one as anything under 6 hours to me feels like it’s just around the corner by now.  Along the way nothing to exciting happened, so I arrived at the hostel I was heading to in Nashville around 6 pm.

F.Y.I. - I thought I arrived at 6 pm but it was actually 5pm because somewhere in the middle of Tennessee you enter the Central time-zone.  Huh?  I thought I was done changing time-zones...

Nashville International Hostel
I got this hostel (my 6 or 7th this trip) and it looked the most normal house I have been to yet.  Well... the hostel Boise had a homey feel too.  Anyway, as soon as I walked in I met John and John. (Two guys who were staying here.)  One John was leaving and the other was drinking. 😉

After that, I met Phil (the guys who works here) and we sat on the porch talking for awhile after I paid my $25 for the night.  Phil’s a very cool spiritual type guy as we spoke about cause and effect, taking and receiving, as well as a bunch of stuff that related to those topics.

By the time Phil and I were done talking, it was close to 8pm and since I hadn’t eaten all day long, it was time to hit the town and get food. (Love Kitchen offered me food but I don’t like to take food that’s meant for the real needy as I am a homeless traveler by choice.) 😉

Chili’s Across From Vanderbilt U.

Even though I was tired from what was already a long day, I still had to eat so I headed to the nearest Chili’s which was near Vanderbilt U.  I choose Chili’s because I still have$10 left in GC’s from the amount I got in Arizona many many weeks ago.

My time Chili’s was uneventful as all I did was order, eat, pay, and leave.  Like I said I was tired, but on the other hand,  I was in Nashville for the first time in my life.  Huh?  What to do???

Driving Around Town
After thinking for a minute, I figured I’d just hop in my car and drive around town checking out what Nashville had to offer. (At least in this part of Nashville.)  I drove around for a little bit and didn’t see much.  But, as I was leaving to head back toward the hostel, I spotted a gigantic Rooster statue on the street.  I’m stopping for this. 🙂

The Red Rooster
This massive rooster and his twin brother (there was two of them) stood out in front of a bar called “The Red Rooster”.  Even though I wanted to go home (the hostel), I had to go inside and check this place out first.

As I was able to see, this bar wasn’t busy tonight.  None-the-less, it was a real cool place and it wasn’t just because it was Rooster themed.  They had a stage where bands played, they had good beer specials, the bartender was hot, and they even had the leg lamp from the movie “A Christmas Story” on the bar.  Priceless! 🙂

Hanging At The Red Rooster
Even though I had every reason to want to leave (the place was dead, I was tired, etc.), I had to stay and have one beer in a bar that had a 20 foot Rooster out front. 😉  There weren’t many people there, so the bartender (Whitney) and I talked for awhile.

At first Whit was a little standoff-ish, but once she realized I wasn’t hitting on her and was just a guy who like t talked to everybody, she warmed up.  Also, my unique adventure seemed to interest her.

Anyway, she was real cool as we talked for awhile about both our lives.  After hearing her story, I told to follow her dreams and open the business she has been debating upon (it’s a good idea so I won’t say it on my site.)  Other than that, it was fun enough to have intelligent conversation with a cool person. 🙂

Whitney Gives Me A Present
It was close to midnight and the bar was closing soon, so I asked Whitney if she would take a picture of me out front by the huge rooster statue.  She said no problem and after the picture was done, she walked back inside and handed me a Red Rooster t-shirt for the road.  People are so fricken cool!  Thank you Whit! 🙂

Funny Story Kinda
After leaving the Red Rooster while I was driving back to the Hostel, I saw a guy hitch hiking on the road a few blocks from where I’m staying.  Now, I don’t even think picking up hitch hikers on my journey, so I just drove right past him.

But then I stopped because I thought I recognized the guy hitch hiking.  I was right as it was John from the Hostel (I met him earlier).  I asked him what he was doing but he couldn’t respond to well, so I told him to hop in the car and I’d drive him back to the hostel. (That’s where I was going anyway.)

The funny thing is... we were just blocks from the place and he was willing to jump in anybody’s car to save himself a 1/4 mile walk.  So crazy!  That was the end to my night as all I did after that was lay on the couch on watch TV until I passed out.

Thanks for reading!


Comments (2)

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  1. Dad says:

    I remember seeing the ladies from the Love Kitchen on TV a while back. 2000 meals a week is a lot.
    Giving time and love makes everything seem OK.
    Nice job Dave. Great story.
    As for the big Rooster, did you notice the chain around his leg?

  2. tom buckley says:


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