KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Kingsport's Kitchen of Hope feeds hundreds of people daily, but due to repairs that won't be the case for awhile. In the meantime, the Salvation Army is helping take on the extra load.
"The mission of the Salvation Army is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination," said Anthony Baso.
Major Anthony Baso is the Commanding Officer for Kingsport Salvation Army Core and he tells News 5 helping the hungry became even more challenging a couple of weeks ago when the Kitchen of Hope temporally closed its door for major plumbing repairs. "We serve breakfast and lunch," said Baso.
"During the evening meal Kitchen of Hope normally covers that meal," said Baso.
People arrive at the Salvation Army about 45 minutes early to get for their meals; now with the Kitchen of Hope under repair they'll now show up for three meals a day.
Baso tells News 5 the Salvation Army is picking up the extra meal that the Kitchen of Hope normally provides. "Rather than having our normal amount of people for an evening meal again, which are those who are staying at our shelter, between 50 and 60, we're having those as well as 120 to 130 people who will be coming for dinner now," said Baso.
And the costs are racking up. Baso tells News 5 each meal costs about $5 per person. For just one meal they are spending a total $750 more than budgeted to help feed people like Sherri Knight. "A lot of times this lunch is my breakfast, then I go up there to eat a lunch-dinner combination. With them closed there right now, until they get their repairs made, this is where you've got to go. This is where it is if you're going to have something to eat," said Knight.
Baso tells News 5 that's why he will carry out their mission. "We don't have an option. These are people that are hungry, a lot of them are homeless, and the Salvation Army will be there to help them," said Baso.
The Kitchen of Hope should reopen in three to four weeks.
The Salvation Army tells News 5 they're seeing 700 to 1,000 more people than they did this time last year.
If you would like to help, the Salvation Army says they will accept prepared and unprepared food from anyone. They also say you are welcome to make a monetary donation.