Project Be Kind: Knoxville children start nonprofit to serve restaurant meals to first responders

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Nine-year-old Kathryn Kannard and 7-year-old Fritz Kannard were walking with their mom in a desolate Market Square — the first time the two had ever seen the popular downtown gathering spot typically filled with people, empty.

“We started to go to each little kiosk and restaurant and reading storefronts and reading the signs, ‘We’re gone,’ and Kathyrn was just like, ‘What is going to happen?’ mom Mary Kathryn Kannard said. “And Fritz was playing in the rain, and goes, ‘Well we can just feed the firefighters.’ “

9 and 7-year-old’s microproject helps restaurants feed first responders

And so nonprofit Project Be Kind was born.

The two children’s first microproject was to help restaurants feed first responders.

“I think it’s a really good idea for people all over Knoxville to help feed their first responders,” Kathryn said.
 
The two teamed up with restaurants including Oliver Royale. General Manager Sondra Richardson said they were honored to be involved.
 
“The biggest thing that is important to us in a time of crisis and everything that’s happening right now show’s community over competition,” Richardson said.

Project Be Kind fed more than 500 at hospital

The project started three weeks ago by feeding firefighters. When UT Medical Center reached out about feeding its staff this week the nonprofit fed more than 500 at the hospital. 

“We’re making their day a little bit easier,” Mary Kathryn said. “It just means everything’s a little better.
  
“That was the entire goal. It was Knoxville strong. It’s our community supporting our community.”
 
Richardson agreed, saying the area continues to show the Volunteer State spirit despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Knoxville time and time again they show community over competition,” she said. “We say that all the time but how we’re able to come together and be one. It’s important to be one unit and get through this.”

How to help

“It has been amazing,” Mary Kathryn said. “I knew Knoxville cared. I knew Knoxville was strong. It has been nothing but love to rally around everyone, from businesses who are like, ‘I’ll just donate, and I’ll purchase that day,’ to individuals. … It’s just been amazing.”

The nonprofit is asking that those who want to donate, businesses and individuals, can visit their website www.projectbekind.com to find out more and learn how they can help.

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