Silent Suffering: Food Insecurity & Lacking Basic Needs

People in our community face food insecurity and lack the basic necessities needed to live a healthy life. In fact, many of our neighbors are vulnerable...

The problem of food insecurity and lacking basic needs doesn't just impact people in poverty.  We have found that financial indicators do not always represent the complete picture. In Knox County, at least 40% of our population is the working poor and 25% are over the age of 65, many on fixed incomes. In some parts of the county, over 50% of children live in households that rely on SNAP, WIC, or other benefits to survive. We believe many more families face food insecurity in our community than what statistics or reports show.  Underemployment, illness, or other factors often place our neighbors in urgent situations because their dollars simply won't stretch to cover the cost of living.


  • the single mother making $15/hour and working long hours, yet having to choose between paying her electric or buying food.  

  • the grandparents who are unexpectedly raising their grandchildren but living on a fixed income.  

  • the couple who reduced their income to one job and are paying high medical bills because a spouse is fighting major illness.​

  • the college student trying to get an education so they can have upward mobility, but are stretched to cover both tuition and to meet their basic needs.  

  • the young professional that graduated college, but cannot find a job that covers both student loan debt and living expenses. 

  • the child who comes to school without having dinner the night before and only receiving a sugary snack to start their day.

  • the elderly person whose pet is their companion and best friend, so they share their limited food supply and go hungry to ensure the pet can eat too.

  • the man who wants to get a fresh start but cannot find a steady job that pays enough to support his family because of past convictions and a felony on his record.

  • the homeless man who feels beat down and struggles with mental health issues and addiction, but cannot get into a stable and safe place long enough to regain his health.

  • the retired person who worked hard for many years, but wasn't able to save sufficiently for today's cost of living.

  • the parents who sacrifice to ensure their children can have a better future.

  • the worker who makes over 50,000 per year, yet brings home less than $3000 a month due to necessary deductions for things like health coverage and taxes.

All of us need support at some point in life, and asking for help isn't always easy. Many of our neighbors that we work with indicate they are embarrassed about their situation. Yet, systematic economic or social issues vs. personal choices are contributing factors or underlying reasons why they need help. Some of our neighbors have told us that they haven't shared their needs because there are others around them that are in worse situations and they don't want to be a burden. Some have shared that they don't tell their church friends, even when their church has programs or resources that could help. Every day, people in our community suffer in silence. Our neighbors who have great needs work with us, go to church with us, sit next to us in classes, drop their children off in our schools, and interact with us in everyday life.

Life can move so quickly that it is easy to miss signs that someone around us has needs. If you or someone you know has a need, please reach out to us. We care and want to help...

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