The phrase “essential worker” has taken on new meaning over the past several months. During this unprecedented time, we are grateful to our Healthcare Heroes and all essential workers who bravely faced COVID-19 daily to keep our community fed, healthy and safe. Every day, cashiers, grocery store stockers, utility workers, sanitation workers, bus drivers and so many others put their health on the line to keep our city moving forward.

Photo Credit: Mattheis/News Sentinel

A few weeks ago, my long-time friend Cameron Brooks reached out with an idea to recognize some of these essential workers. For many of our neighbors, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) is the only way to get to work, the doctor, or to get essential groceries and medicine. In appreciation of their efforts, Cameron suggested that we host a KAT Worker Appreciation Day on June 5th and provide free lunch to all KAT workers. Cameron set up a GoFundMe page and set our initial goal at $1,000. Thanks to the generosity of our incredible city, that goal was met within hours, and we ultimately raised $2,035.00.

Photo Credit: Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel

As we considered who could provide 200 lunches to our friends at KAT, we immediately reached out to our friend Yassin Terou, of Yassin’s Falafel House. Last Friday, Yassin and his crew cheerfully whipped up 200 gyro lunches at their Walnut Avenue location and KAT driver Ventrice Hodge helped us package and deliver the delicious food. Cameron and I are so grateful to Yassin for his kindness and thrilled that we could help support his restaurant during these tough economic times.

The greatest thing about Knoxville is our people and their genuine VOLunteer spirit. After months of being cooped up in the house and participating in Zoom-hosted City Council meetings, it felt great to spend some time downtown. Thank you, Cameron, for allowing me to be involved and a special thank you to Yassin and all our KAT workers for all you do for our community!


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