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Chattanooga Community Kitchen

May 21, 2013

Tennessee – Tuesday, May 14

I finished the drive through Georgia, and entered Tennessee by way of Chattanooga, and I hit the ground running! I had already done my homework, and had read about Chattanooga’s big soup kitchen, which was called The Community Kitchen. I had talked to someone there this morning, and had already shopped for items on their wish list. Since they’re a big organization, they asked for the big #10 size cans of baked beans and vegetables, and big sizes of oatmeal and grits since one or the other is served every morning. And that’s what I had shopped for. I found the place pretty easily, and a pleasant young man helped me carry in the bags of food. The Chattanooga Community Kitchen first opened as a feeding program in 1982, and over time has grown to cover a city block offering other services for needy people, such as showers, laundry facilities, clothes, and help in trying to move forward. The volunteers at the community kitchen provide 3 meals a day, every day of the week, 365 days a year, and their mission is “to work to lessen the struggle and despair of the homeless and needy without expectation of recompense, but out of love and compassion for human kind.”

The soup kitchen was only a couple blocks away from the Chattanooga Veteran’s Cemetery, so after I made my donation, I started my Tennessee walking there in the shade of trees. There were lots of workers out – I imagine they’re sprucing the place up for Memorial Day remembrances.

Then I drove to Chattanooga’s riverfront, where we got out for more walking. There was a nice riverfront walkway, but it wasn’t real long, so we continued on the sidewalks, and found a long pedestrian-only bridge across the Tennessee River, into the north shore part of town, where there were more parks to walk in. The Delta Queen riverboat was tied up at one of the docks and is now a hotel, and they let visitors on board in some of the front rooms. Between the riverfront walk, the pedestrian bridge, and the parks on the north side of the river, I was nearly able to finish off my walking for the day. It was a pretty city for walking since both sides of the river had good things to see.

Then I wanted to figure out what the Chattanooga Choo-Choo was. It seems to be a historic train station and hotel complex, with old train cars parked on the tracks behind the hotel, and it looked like some of them might have been converted to hotel rooms. Chattanooga has some interesting hotel options with the Delta Queen River Boat hotel and Chattanooga Choo-hoo hotel! I wandered around that train complex a bit and finished my walking.

On the way out of town, I stopped at Hillbilly Willy’s to get a BBQ pork sandwich. And I talked with my old childhood friend Linda, who lives in Nashville, and we made arrangements for meeting up tomorrow. Then I headed out of Chattanooga and admired all the green mountains and bluffs as I drove toward Murfreesboro, where I stopped for the night.

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