Sequatchie Valley Community Kitchen: The ‘Go-To’ Place for Help
The Sequatchie Valley Community Kitchen grew out of the missions of the Sequatchie Valley Baptist Association. When the association purchased the former Cornerstone Baptist Church in Jasper, Richard Lewelling, director of missions since 2010, thought, “What are we going to do here with all this space?”
“Now, we wonder where we are going to put everything!” he says. “Our mission in all that we do here is to meet the needs — material, physical and spiritual — of the people of the Sequatchie Valley.”
“What I like best about this program is that it is the community helping the community,” says Dave Berry. “It’s not a soup kitchen or a homeless kitchen; it is a community kitchen. We want to make people feel they belong. That is our goal.”
Following is a listing of the services offered to those in need of a helping hand and facts about the center and the programs that are helping “build a brighter Tennessee.”
· About 1,000 hot meals and 300 blessing boxes are distributed each month at the Cornerstone building.
· Meals and blessing boxes are delivered midmonth to senior apartments in Whitwell, Jasper and South Pittsburg.
· The clothing closet provides all kinds of clothing and some household items for those in need.
· A list of larger household needs is kept. When an item becomes available, those in need are contacted.
· While the program is faith-based and most of the volunteers are people of faith, it is a nondenominational program, and there are no requirements to participate in community services. Prayer requests and requests to pray with individuals are fulfilled.
· Court-mandated anger management and life skills classes are held on Wednesday mornings along with a free hot breakfast.
· Free adult education is offered as well as a remedial education program for those in need.
· Recover All, the expanded program to help recovering addicts get back on their feet and find jobs, is located at a separate “neutral” location on Main Street in Jasper.
· The community kitchen group also runs the Celebrate Recovery Program, Narcotics Anonymous program, and Champion Recovery for women.
· Other organizations use the Cornerstone location’s resources to fulfill their community aid programs. SETHRA makes commodity food distributions there, and the Marion County Give a Kid a Chance backpack and school supply program is held there as a joint project with the Marion County Health Council.
· Volunteers are always needed. Court-ordered volunteer hours and Tennessee Promise hours are honored
· Donations of any kind and any amount are always welcome and appreciated. There is a convenient PayPal link on the Sequatchie Valley Community Kitchen Facebook page if you would like to make a donation. You can also visit the page to learn more about the organization and its projects.
300 Cornerstone Drive, Jasper — 423-942-0070 Search “Sequatchie Valley Community Kitchen” on Facebook