A new census report shows Cocke County to be the poorest in East Tennessee.
A new census report shows Cocke County to be the poorest in East Tennessee. Stores and organizations in the area are reaching out to those who need help the most.
Until earlier this year, one part of God's Storehouse in Newport operated as a food pantry.
"We started out with a food pantry. We were feeding somewhere between four and five thousand people a month," said Cocke County Pastor, Jeff Speers.
The demand became so high they couldn't afford to keep it going. Now the business is just a thrift store.
"The need is great. People need everything...furniture, clothing," said Speers.
They said because so many people in the area need help they end up giving away items instead of selling them.
"If a mother comes in and she has four dollars but has three children and wants to clothe all of them what we found out is we can just give," said Speers.
"When we have people come in with absolutely nothing...those items we give to them," said Robin Huskey, God's Storehouse Store Manager.
They offer discount specials once a week. Every Friday, customers can fill a bag full of clothes and pay $9.00.
They're not the only store in the area that sees the need to offer these kinds of specials. Discount stores are doing it too.
"The ten dollar box. I can fill it up to the top take it home. I don't have to pay 25 to 30 dollars for a bag of groceries," said Jamie Ellis, Store Manager at a discount store in Newport.
Store Managers said discount stores are popping up all around the area. In order to help those who need it most.
"It seems like this county needs a lot more help," said Ellis.
"It's a difficult time, but I also think it's a great time for the community as a whole to come together," said Speers.
"There's not a day goes by...that somebody doesn't come here needing something and it's sad, but we got to pray and hope that it gets better," said Huskey.
East Tennessee Counties ranking high in poverty on the Census Report:
Scott County 31.9%
Hancock County 30.9%
Scott County 27%
Union County 26.4%
Claiborne County 25.1%
Fentress County 24.4%
East Tennessee Counties ranking low in poverty on the Census Report:
Roane County 15.2%
Blount County 14.0%
Knox County 12.9%