Family Promise of Knoxville

Our mission is to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence.

Family Promise – FPC Knoxville from FPC Communications on Vimeo.

We recognize that poverty is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted response. We respond by integrating educational outreach, smart programming, effective policies, and the hands-on work of thousands of volunteers. We provide food, shelter, and support services for homeless families. We provide advice and advocacy for at-risk families to prevent their becoming homeless. And we educate people about poverty and the means to combat it.

Family Promise began accepting families in Knoxville on July 1, 2005.  

Since that time we  have provided shelter services to over 125 families.

  • One out of every four homeless people are children.  
  • 42% of homeless children are under the age of 6.

Families come into our program situationally homeless.  Something has happened in their lives to cause them to become homeless, this is not a choice they have made consciously or easily.

In today’s economy, the majority of Americans find themselves 1 or 2 paychecks away from being homeless also.

Click here to learn more about Family Promise of Knoxville

First Presbyterian Church will be hosting Family Promise families starting again in February 2018!   Volunteers are needed to fill a variety of needs.  Please contact Britton Leitch at or (865) 789-3651 for more information and to sign up.


Volunteer Ministry Center

VMC BuildingAbout The Volunteer Ministry Center

Agency Purpose and Mission
The Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) was established in 1987 and offers specialized services to the homeless and those within our community who are in crisis.  VMC’s programs support its two-fold mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness.  

VMC operates four main programs:  The VMC Resource Center, The Bush Family Refuge, Minvilla Manor, and The VMC Dental Clinic.  The goal for all clients is housing.  Utilizing case management and the ‘Housing First’ approach to ending homelessness, VMC assists individuals into permanent, supportive housing and provides the resources necessary to maintain housing.  Once housing is achieved, the case management relationship continues until a level of self-sufficiency is reached, thus ensuring success.

Agency History
The Volunteer Ministry Center was founded in 1987 by downtown churches in response to the need for a daytime shelter for the increasing number of homeless persons on the street.  In 1991, VMC was joined by the Refuge, a volunteer operated homeless prevention program.  In 1992, VMC constructed the Jackson Apartments which offered housing to 16 formerly homeless men.  Clinic services were added on a part-time basis in 1998.  In 2007, VMC began an emphasis on offering permanent solutions to homelessness rather than simply offering emergency care.  In March of 2009, VMC relocated from its original building downtown to a new facility at 511 N. Broadway.  In November 2010, the Jackson Apartments were replaced by Minvilla Manor, a 57 unit rent subsidized permanent supportive housing facility.  Clinic services were expanded as VMC welcomed Cherokee Health Systems to offer medical and mental health services; VMC retains the dental clinic function.  All services are offered on-site.

First Presbyterian Church has several Good Humor Teams who prepare and serve meals each month on a rotating basis.

Click here for information about First Presbyterian Good Humor Teams


FISH Pantry

Hospitality Pantries: Places of Hope and Promise

Fish Hospitality Pantries

According to the CAC, in Knox County, 57,000 people live at or below the poverty line, more than 25% of them children. Many thousands of additional people live very near the poverty line and are struggling to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families.

In the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee – a community known for its hospitality, we at FISH Hospitality Pantries welcome people to a place where they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve as members of the human family, a place where body and spirit are nourished and people are affirmed, a place where people from different ethnic backgrounds, religious traditions, economic circumstances work side-by-side for the communal good, a place where we create true community across all the barriers that separate us.

We seek to create a community where everyone has plenty to eat and the strength to use their talents and gifts, a world where we can fulfill our common destiny.

First Presbyterian Church’s FISH Pantry is open the first Tuesday of each month (except when it falls on a major holiday) at 9:00 a.m.  Volunteers are available to take calls for food that can either be picked up or, in most cases, delivered if necessary.

For more information, please go to the website:

Al-Anon Family Groups

al anon logo
Al-Anon/Alateen, known as Al-Anon Family Groups, is an international “fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. “They “help families of alcoholics by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.”

Al-Anon Meets at First Presbyterian Church each Monday at 12:00 noon in the Jesus’ Friends Classroom.

Alcoholics Anonymous

AA logo

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m.  and each Friday from 6 – 8 p.m. followed by an open meeting from 8 – 10 p.m. in the Jesus’ Friends Classroom.

Vacation Bible School

Pastor William leading music during VBS

Vacation Bible School will be held June 2-5, 2019

This year we will be running the incredible race around the world as we learn about how everyone has differences, where they came from, and how the Gospel unites us all! While the children (nursery through 5th grade) are learning through stories, recreation, music,  and science, the adults will have their own class learning the same stories from 5 of our Church members. Youth will be modeling God’s Love and patience by helping lead the children’s classes. Registration is now open at . We also will need lots of help from set-up and decorating (and building a few things) to teaching and leading and then clean up. ADULTS: there is a registration form for you too for both attending class and volunteering! Find that here:

Please see Alex for more information or email at


Wednesday Night Programming for Children

Dinner begins at 5:30pm with programs from 6:15pm to 7:30pm.

Under 3 years old: This group will play and grow in the nursery with Ms. Lauren (Nunn) as well as several other childcare workers and volunteers!

Ages 3 – 4 years old (preschool): This group will play, learn Bible stories, enjoy crafts, and learn songs/instruments to share with the congregation at special worships like the Christmas Pageant with Mr. Raymond (McCord) and Ms. Sharon (Patton) and a few other adults at times too!

Kindergarten through 1st Graders: This group will play, learn Bible stories, have recreation, enjoy crafts and well-loved songs with Ms. Celeste (Whaley) and Ms. Jane (Armstrong)!

2nd through 5th Graders: These two groups will be with Ms. Brianna and other dedicated adults while learning about a wide range of topics, including worship, the Bible, the Church and more.  Activities include crafts, talking, and playing.

We would LOVE if you want to join us as a child student or an adult helper. We have LOTS of fun and LEARN so much each week!

Pre-school Program

Twos and Younger

TwosSpencerAfter the kids have eaten dinner  there is supervised free play on the big play equipment in Fellowship Hall until 6:30 p.m.. This is followed by caring child watch with supervised play for all kids two and younger in the Parents Day Out classrooms.

Threes and Fours

AbbyThis is where it all begins, as our youngest believers begin to acquire basic knowledge and skills of being Christian. These children go with Ms. Sharon and Mr. Raymond for Bible stories, hands-on activities, snacks and singing in the Children’s Area. Ms. Sharon and Mr. Raymond have taught this class for over 20 years and this is truly a special highlight each week for these kids. Ms. Sharon and Mr. Raymond teach children stories of Jesus, sing children’s songs (“This Little Light of Mine” is a particular favorite), practice ringing bells to songs, watch Christian videos (a weekly of the claymation David and Goliath classics), and share a snack (often times they make they own snack) . Each Christmas, these children sing prior to the Christmas Pageant; it is always a hit!