Wednesday, April 16, 2014 · 3:58 a.m.

Chattanooga Community Kitchen honored with award

Organization honored for their work to keep homeless from becoming victimized

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The Chattanooga Community Kitchen received a reward for their work in the community Monday afternoon. (Photo: Staff)

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen was honored with the Voice for Victims Award by the Board of Probation and Parole for their work supporting the homeless and near-homeless population. 

The Community Kitchen was given the award Monday to mark the beginning of National Crime Victim's Rights Week, with a theme this year of "Extending the Vision—Reaching Every Victim."

"The kitchen works to lessen poverty and despair among the homeless in the area—many of whom are crime victims," BOPP District Director Gale Reed said. "It was chosen for the award because of its continued commitment to serving the community."

Jens Christensen, assistant director for the Community Kitchen, said the kitchen provides the homeless or near-homeless with job training, food, counseling and many other services in order to support them in the community. 

Christensen said he thinks the victimization of the homeless population is often overlooked, and he often compares being homeless to a disability because of the high level of victimization and the vulnerability of the majority of the homeless population. 

"It really makes it difficult to get in types of work and different professions," he said. "You don't have a stable place to be or anything that many of us typically take for granted."

Dr. Tammy Garland, a criminology professor at UTC who spoke at the award event, said the work the Chattanooga kitchen does with the homeless is vital to the community. 

"The homeless population are victims; they are victims of society," Garland said. "The community kitchen does a great job helping these individuals."

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