Welcome to Hunger First

About Us

Our History


Hunger First is a no-questions asked, free store founded in 1996 by Cindy Risk.  She was determined to create a nonprofit that helps everybody with no judgment.  Our name came from the fact when people struggle, the thought of hunger is always first. When Risk passed away in 2014 due a car wreck, her son Michael Gillis took over the organization.  Hunger First is committed to serving people who have fallen through the cracks or who need help between paychecks. 

Our Mission and what we do


 To educate and empower the low income, no income, and homeless.  We help provide food and clothing at no cost.  Sometimes we help people find places to live. Sometimes we help with bills or help to obtain prescriptions 

Powered through donations and volunteers


We rely solely on donations whether it is monetary, groceries, or clothing. Hunger First depends on volunteers to serve our clients. We appreciate all our donors and volunteers who are the real heroes.  

Help Our Cause

Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Our Programs


Food Pantry and Hot meals

We provide groceries to those in need free of charge.  Hunger First teams with local churches to provide hot lunches every Tuesday and Thursday. 

Clothes Closet

All clothing is free to any in need. 

Giving Back Program

Everybody gives to us all year long so we wanted to give back to the community as a whole. We do a haunted house, Thanksgiving meal, Christmas pizza party with Girls Inc., and Christmas with Santa in both Kingsport and Greeneville. All these program are at no cost to the community. 


This is a program geared toward those who need community service either voluntary or involuntary. 

Food box delivery

We deliver food boxes to those who are on disability and have nowhere else to go. We deliver to the West side, Greenwood, Americourt, Model City, and Travelers Inn. 

In the News

Hunger First Receives largest donation in 20 years


 The donation was made by McCoy’s Salvage Grocery and by Don and Pat Gray. McCoy’s Salvage matched the Grays’ donation, and altogether it added up to $13,620.07 in food, Gillis said.  Read more from the Kingsport Times-News. 

Hunger First launches website, plans homeless brunch


 The nonprofit organization announced Wednesday that it has launched a website for the first time in its history. It’s also preparing to host a new event, a homeless brunch, Saturday. Read more from the Kingsport Times-News. 

Area ORGANIZATIONS offer free meals to those in need this thanksgiving


 Hunger First in a non-profit organization that provides clothing and food assistance to families and individuals in the Tri-Cities region.  Read more at WJHL.com

Two years after Founder's death, Hunger first is prospering


 “My intention was to take Hunger First from where it is to something bigger, something unimaginable,” said Michael Gillis, executive director of Hunger First. Read more from the Kingsport Times-News. 

Food Pantry reopens after founder's death


 For 20 years Cindy Risk worked to feed and clothe people in need. She believed it was her job to help others. Read more at WCYB.com.


When you are called to serve, you must do it unconditionally. 


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Virginia Spears

 One of the most giving and NON judgmental people I have ever met. 

Suzi Nevaeh

 They helped me so much! Thank you so much for helping our family!! Couldn't have made it without you all! 

Andrea Arntz

 Thank you for helping my family with Christmas,food, and clothes. You guys are amazing people. I really appreciate everything. Keep up the good work.

Jack P. Shannon Sr.

 Hunger First is as good as it gets. It still needs food and money and clothes. Come in and take what you need. No questions asked. Need food? Ask and you will receive. 

Jason M Reynolds

 Beautiful organization that helps everyone & anyone who needs it. 

Scott Lundberg

 Honestly, Hunger First has been a blessing to me, and to our community. Michael and his crew are great! I enjoy helping them, as they help me. They really do care, with no judgements, and give selflessly. 

Contact Us

Hunger First

829 Myrtle St, Kingsport, Tennessee 37660, United States

(423) 765-1144


Drop us a line!


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