Morristown food distribution non-profit founder named WATE 6 On Your Side Hero

MORRISTOWN (WATE) – Do you know someone who always goes above and beyond to help others? That special person who gives without expecting anything in return?

WATE 6 On Your Side is celebrating those people in our community with your help. Carolyn Jarnagin is making a real difference in the lives of children and their families in the Hamblen County area.

Every Saturday morning, families flock to the Tennessee Food on Foot warehouse in Morristown. They know there will be a bag of food to get them through the weekend, but on this day, there was a little something extra. Each child gets Valentine’s candy and cards to give their classmates.

At the center of it all is Jarnagin, the heart and soul of the Tennessee Food on Foot mission. She started the program in 2007 after recognizing so many children on the free and reduced meal program at school during the week often go without when the weekends come around.

“I wanted to make a difference,” Jarnagin said. “I want to pull them out of the situations that they’re in, give them the tools to get a good education.”


In the beginning, Jarnagin got into her savings account and filled 40 bags of food, distributing them whenever she came across a family in need. Quickly, the community got behind Jarnagin. The donations started pouring in. She established Food on Foot, moved into a new building in 2012 at 1 Berkline Drive, and today gives out 700 bags each week.

More online: How to help Food on Foot

She hands out everything from food to backpacks filled with school supplies to toiletries every family needs.

“It’s a big help. It’s hard to feed this many kids,” mom Renee Vaughn said.

“When I need the help, they’re actually, they’re always here,” single mother Chaneia Coney said.

“You know, it’s a labor of love. We work hard at what we do. We go buy the stuff, or people donate the stuff, and it’s a wonderful community,” said Jarnagin.

There are no administrative costs. Jarnagin and her staff are 100 percent volunteers. Every dollar that comes in goes right back out to the children who need it.

More online: How to nominate a WATE 6 On Your Side Hero

As a mark of our appreciation, heroes will receive a gift packet from our sponsors, Ted Russell Ford, Old Mill Lodging and Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants. The gift package will include a two nights lodging in Sevier County from Old Mill Lodging, a gift card to the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants and Sevier County area attraction tickets.

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