Love Kitchen sisters honored with lifetime achievement award

Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner said, "This is a big deal! A lifetime? A lifetime!"
Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner said, "This is a big deal! A lifetime? A lifetime!"

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knoxville YWCA is hosting its annual 2012 Tribute to Women Thursday night at the Bijou Theatre. More than a dozen women will be honored for their achievements.

Among them are Lifetime Achievement Inductees Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, better known as The Love Kitchen Sisters. Their tireless service of feeding the hungry in Knoxville is once again putting them in the spotlight.

We’ve so often seen Helen and Ellen in the kitchen doing what they do best, serving those who might otherwise be forgotten in our community.

“Since the Lord gave me this in a dream, it keeps us going. We love it. We love every minute of it,” Helen said.

Sometimes it’s hard to get the 84-year-old twin sisters to sit down and take it easy, but they will get the chance to slow down and be recognized by the YWCA for their tireless work feeding Knoxville’s needy for more than 26 years.

Their initial response to the honor was amazement. “This is a big deal! A lifetime? A lifetime!” they said together.

Chances are, you’ve heard their praises sung by everyone from local politicians to Oprah Winfrey, where they graced her show with their charm in May 2011 and even received surprise donations.

When the duo are home alone, they have a little fun. “Ellen and I like to watch TV together, don’t we Ellen? The game shows, that’s relaxing to us,” Helen said.

But Ellen was outed for some habits of her own. “That’s what she does, eat animal cookies and look at TV,” Helen said. “Don’t forget my bacon,” Ellen told her. “Oh my goodness, yes,” her sister said, laughing. “She loves her bacon.”

They smile so easy now because they’re able to help countless others. “This is God’s ministry and we just thank him every day of our lives for sustaining us to be able to help these people,” Helen said.

Ellen’s health isn’t the best right now so she is taking it a bit easier than Helen. While she may sit out a few events like award galas, nothing keeps her from going to the Love Kitchen twice a week.

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