Knoxville — With a Facebook status asking for help, Knoxville Pays It Forward can make the pain hurt less for people facing unexpected adversities.
"We all have those things that happen and to know that other people who live exactly like you, who could be your neighbors, are here to help is very comforting at that time," said Kim Cantrell, the founder of Knoxville Pays it Forward.
A warehouse full of donations and official nonprofit status isn't what Cantrell dreamed would come from the small Facebook group she started nearly a decade ago after feeling inspired by a visit to help homeless people.
"I was the most selfish, spoiled, materialistic person ever. Then, I went under a bridge one day with Lost Sheep Ministries, and all that left," Cantrell said.
The group grew to thousands of members willing to donate furniture and toiletries as soon as Cantrell writes a status that they need items.
While the shelves in the warehouse are normally stuffed with toiletries, Cantrell said their supply is running lower than normal after a string of fires last week stretched their resources.
"We were scrambling in here the very next day to get the baskets ready for 11 families because we had an apartment building, that was 8 families in one shot," Cantrell said.
While the cycle of tragedy never ends, now neither will this cycle of helping one another.
"The most beautiful thing is when you see those people come back after you've helped them, and now they're coming full circle," Cantrell said.
You can CLICK HERE to join the Facebook group.