Learn more about each of our pantries.
The South FISH Hospitality Pantry is inside the Sustainable Future Center at 201 Ogle Avenue, and has been serving the community since 1991.
The South Pantry combines neighborliness with an independent spirit. A number of the original volunteers and their descendants continue to staff the pantry. As South Knoxville has become a more diverse community, the volunteer pool has come to reflect that, and the operation of the pantry is in keeping with its strong value of diversity.
Sandy Monday has volunteered since the beginning. When the pantry was just getting started, Jim Wright was calling on area ministers to recruit volunteers. Sandy’s pastor at Beulah United Methodist Church couldn’t attend a meeting about the pantry, so he asked Sandy to take his place to find out what was
“I left with a key to the building,
and I’m still there,” Sandy says. She believes the pantry has been one of God’s gifts to her.
“It’s not something I take lightly,” she said. “Doing for others; that’s what you’re supposed to do. But,
it’s not just about food. We’re giving hope or friendship to the ones coming in,” she says.
The South Pantry is open on Wednesday and Friday from
10 am–1 pm.
The East FISH Hospitality Pantry, now located in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 600 South Chestnut Street, is where the FISH Hospitality neighborhood pantries got their start in 1986. It all began in the basement of the Magnolia Avenue United Methodist Church with
a hundred food bags and the realization that if pantries were located closer to housing projects and other areas of concentrated poverty, they would be more accessible to those in need
of food assistance.
Today, the East Pantry retains the welcoming and inclusive spirit of
its beginnings. According to volunteers, the years of wisdom attained at the East Pantry remain
to guide those who volunteer there. The East Pantry is where we learned to suspend judgment; to value inclusiveness; and that the insights of our guests inform our work and enable all of us together to serve the community. It’s where we saw first-hand the human dignity of our guests, and where we realized that we could be a place where people could come and not only receive the sustenance or nourishment of the food, but could feel the embrace of love and inclusion. The East Pantry has served as a model for the pantries that followed. It is the place where funders first glimpsed the work and the relationships therein.
The East Pantry is open on Monday and Wednesday from 10 am–1 pm.
The Northwest FISH Pantry
(and food warehouse) opened in
2007 and ushered in an era of abundance. For the first time, we had space for the large donations we had previously had to turn away. The 8,800 square-foot building, located at 122 W. Scott Avenue, with its large storage, cooler, and freezer capacity, meant more food for our other pantries, since food could be stored there and transported as needed.
In the first year we received 400 pallets of donated food (chicken, cheese, cereal, crackers, pasta, vegetables, and more) valued at more than $900,000. Later we added shelving to create even
more area for storage within the warehouse. In 2009, we raised funds to construct a much larger freezer unit on the west side of our warehouse. It can hold three trailer loads (72 pallets) of frozen food. We then converted the old freezer to a second cooler in order to double our refrigeration space.
In just the first eleven months since the freezer became operational we received and distributed additional perishable food donations valued at over $400,000. This allowed us to offer our guests—many of whom suffer from health problems—more fresh foods with high nutritional value. Later we built a canopied pavilion to shelter waiting guests and a parking lot to help make the pantry more accessible to those with mobility issues.
Additionally, the pantry has ample meeting space to serve as the base for all our community programs. We welcome guests Tuesday, Thursday, and every 4th Saturday
from 10 am–1 pm.
Smokey’s Pantry was opened in February of 2016 on the University of Tennessee campus where it is easily accessible to university students and employees in need
of food assistance.
The demographic makeup of
the college student population
has changed in recent decades.
More students are financially-independent, working full-time
and caring for dependents. Many college students also balance schoolwork with parenting. Overall, the percentage of college students with low household incomes has increased, and when combined with the rising cost of education, many students are struggling to make ends meet. Smokey's Pantry addresses this issue, helping to alleviate food insecurity among UT students, as well as university employees.
Smokey's Pantry is open every Tuesday during the fall and spring semesters from 4 – 6pm.