Geraldine Swagerty looks over the plumbing work at the Kitchen of Hope. Swagerty estimates the kitchen needs to raise between $6,000 and $8,000 to have all the plumbing fixed. Photo by David Grace.
A local organization that helps feed the hungry is asking for help from the community after a plumbing problem has caused it to temporarily close operations.
The Kitchen of Hope, located at 740 E. Sevier Ave., is turning to the community for help after some pipes burst. Pastor Geraldine Swagerty estimates the kitchen needs to raise between $6,000 and $8,000 to have all the plumbing fixed.
“We were going to close down completely, it just seems there has been problem after problem. Every year, it’s something,” said Letitia Hayes. “My mother said the Lord wasn’t ready for her to close it down, so the teamsters and her made the decision to keep it open and try to do what we can do.”
Swagerty said the Salvation Army will be providing the evening meal that Kitchen of Hope used to provide.
Kitchen of Hope opened around 13 years ago to help feed people who are hungry. The kitchen is open to everybody, but they mostly see homeless individuals come through their door.
Swagerty said the kitchen really started around 20 years ago when the Lord sent her a sign to open the kitchen. She said a woman gave a check for $25 and that was her sign to get the kitchen started.
In the kitchen’s early days, she cooked the meals herself three days a week. Over time, more people kept volunteering, and the kitchen began opening six days a week.
Swagerty said it has been a blessing to serve other people, and she said the Lord will always provide.
There is already a fundraiser taking place to help raise money for Kitchen of Hope. New Vision Youth is hosting a pancake breakfast on Dec. 28. The fundraiser will be held at Applebee’s on Stone Drive from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and all proceeds will go directly to the Kitchen of Hope.
University of Tennessee football players Devaun Swafford and Malik Foreman and UT-Chattanooga football player Brenton Leeper will be on hand to sign autographs. All three players formerly played for Dobyns-Bennett.
Tickets for the event will be $5, and the first 10 people through the door will receive a signed UT piggy bank. Call Johnnie Mae Swaggerty at (423) 429-7553 or Jaquetta Hale at (423) 579-4651.
Checks can be made out to Kitchen of Hope.