Project Be Kind Helps Local Workers; City People Helps Downtown Arts

There are as many ways to help as there are people and businesses hurting during the current pandemic. One of the beautiful things that happens during a crisis is the ways that people and groups think beyond themselves. Our connections are sometimes made stronger in a bad situation.

Last week I reported last week on Project Be Kind. The project started as a simple idea developed by Mary Kathryn Kennard and her two children, K.T. and Fritz. Donations are solicited and the money is used to purchase food from restaurants to provide meals for front-line workers, first responders and displaced service industry workers.

Even as some service industry workers return to very different workplaces, Project Be Kind, thanks to a very generous donation from Northwestern Mutual/Axiom, 400 restaurant workers will get food and a cocktail on May 27 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the patio outside the Oliver Royale.

Four restaurants, Oliver Royale, Balter Beerworks, Sapphire Fine Food & Fancy Drinks, and OliBea, will prepare the meals, while partners Knoxville Beverage Company and Sazerac Rye Whiskey will provide the beverages. All restaurant and essential workers and furloughed employees are invited. Everyone is asked to wear a mask and to practice social distancing. Project Be Kind has raised over $10,000 from donations and fed over 1,500 meals in its efforts so far.

Rendering of the Old City Performing Arts Center (Courtesy Smee and Busby)
Rendering of the Old City Performing Arts Center (Courtesy Smee and Busby)


In addition to generously helping with purchasing downtown gift cards for giving away (see below), City People made the decision to release money in the form of mini-grants to downtown arts organizations. They’ve given $250 each to the Old City Performing Arts Center and to Theatre Knoxville Downtown.

Joshua Peterson, founder and Artistic Director of the River and Rail Theatre at the Old City Performing Arts Center said,

River and Rail Theatre is deeply honored to be selected by City People to receive a mini grant to help support our theatre company and our home, The Old City Performing Arts Center, as we weather the challenges presented by the Pandemic. River and Rail is staying up to date with both the City and County plans and we look forward to opening up when the time is right.

At Theatre Knoxville Downtown, the grant came at a good time as they are fund raising to meet their obligations while they are closed. Bonny Pendleton said:

Theatre Knoxville Downtown would like to give a sincere thank you to City People for including us in the COVID-19 relief grant program. We appreciate the help in these difficult times.

While we are still unsure about the late July opening of our next season, TKD needs your help right now to sustain our operations. Because we experienced a COVID-19 interruption and cancelled performances for March through June, our income has stopped. As an all-volunteer organization, we are fortunate not to have payroll to meet. We do, however, have ongoing operating expenses (i.e., rent and utilities). We urgently need your help to cover those expenses until income from ticket sales starts flowing again. The
Show Must Go On!

You can make a donation to help them either on their website  or on their Facebook page.

City people said, “It delights us to support other non-profits whose mission, like ours, is to enhance downtown Knoxville.”

This Week’s Giveaway!

This week City People has purchased a $25 gift card to Downtown Wine and Spirits and a $25 gift card to Knoxville Soap Candle and Gifts. To enter send an email to with the subject header “Downtown Wine Gift Card Giveaway” or “Knoxville Soap Candle and Gifts Gift Card Giveaway,” depending on which you want to enter. The deadline to enter is midnight Friday night.

Same rules as before: “like” Knoxville Page on Facebook, or City People to help us help local businesses and donate at least $10 to something supporting COVID efforts or to someone impacted by the pandemic. Confirm in the email that you’ve done both and tell me how much and to whom you donated. Each entry requires its own donation. If you cannot donate at this time, enter anyway and just say so. It’s all good.

In the meantime, if you’d like to have access to multiple local gift card purchase options at once, visit Knoxville Page. If you’d like to have your business’ gift cards represented there, send me an email at and I’ll connect you up. During this difficult time, all money for gift cards goes directly to the business you choose to support.