Food Resources

Serving Knox County with Nutritional Support

Prepared Meals

Mobile Meals

CAC Mobile Meals is a community of clients, volunteers, donors, and staff brought together by the need to combat food insecurity among homebound and isolated older adults in Knox County. Daily, over 100 volunteers commit to delivering hot, nutritious meals to over 1,100 seniors who are unable to prepare meals and experience limited social contact. In addition to providing a home delivered meal, Mobile Meals volunteers offer friendly social interactions and daily safety checks that help clients continue living independently in their own homes. If you know, care for, or are a homebound senior (60+) or disabled person who could benefit from Mobile Meals, please call (865) 524-2786 to apply.

Providing Food and Hope Since 1971

Mobile Meals is proud to celebrate over 50 years of service to Knox County’s homebound senior population. Between July 2021 – June 2022, Mobile Meals accomplished much to promote the wellness and safety of participants:

Homebound seniors served across Knox County

New volunteers trained to deliver, all using the Mobile Meals app

Wellness alerts reported by volunteers, including health, personal safety, and/or emergency concerns

Support Homebound, Isolated Seniors in Your Community

Join our family of volunteers. Make a difference in the life of an isolated senior by delivering meals once a month, once a week, or as often as your schedule permits.

Make a gift to Mobile Meals. Every dollar goes directly to providing food to homebound seniors across Knox County.

Congregate Dining Program

Seniors Dining Together

The Congregate Meal Program offers free healthy meals, social engagement, access to community resources, and volunteer opportunities to eligible participants. Congregate meal sites operate out of senior centers, housing complexes, and other community settings. If you are resident of a congregate meal site and are aged 60+ or disabled and would like to learn more, either visit your meal site during their service hours or contact your building’s social worker or resource coordinator. Please call (865) 524-2786 for current meal schedules.

Mobile Affordable Meal Service (MAMS)

Nutritious, Affordable Meal Delivery for Seniors

MAMS utilizes the Mobile Meals delivery system to deliver hot, chilled, or frozen meals up to five days a week to Knox County residents for a fee. This service is ideal for those who are unable to cook for themselves due to illness or injury or prefer a flexible solution for meal service. Delivery can be set to your desired schedule and start within 2-3 business days from your completed registration. Call (865) 524-2786 for more information and to sign up. No in-home assessment is required.

The Caring Plate

The Caring Plate is a program for individuals currently receiving cancer treatment that have been referred by their physicians. Recipients receive healthy, nutritious meals for themselves and their family. Affiliated healthcare organizations and physicians can learn more about how to refer a patient, or about how to become an affiliated healthcare partner, by calling (865) 244-3217. Visit our partner’s site at

Supplement Program

Supplements are provided to individuals unable to meet their nutritional needs through food resources and who have been referred by their physician. Distribution of these liquid supplements is held the first week of January, March, May, July, September, and November. Applications can be requested by calling (865) 546-3500 or emailing

Summer Food Service Program

Fighting Hunger When School is Out

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) utilizes USDA funding to serve youth, 18 years or younger in Knox County breakfast, lunch or snack during the months of June and July. CAC partners with community organizations and programs to serve as meal service locations. Interested programs and camps can apply with the CAC Food Distribution Office at (865) 546-3500 or by emailing Applications are available beginning in March of each year. Visit to learn more about the federally funded Summer Food Service program.

After School Snack Program

CAC partners with Knox County afterschool programs to provide USDA approved snacks to at-risk youth in our community. Each program must complete a site application, complete required training, and submit weekly forms to participate in the program. Snacks are provided by CAC Mobile Meals Kitchen. Contact CAC Food Distribution Program at (865) 546-3500 or by emailing to begin the application process. Visit to learn more about the federally funded Afterschool Snack component of the National School Lunch Program.

Mobile Meals Community Kitchen

Serving our community one meal at a time.

Mobile Meals Kitchen prepares and packages meals for CAC Senior Nutrition Program, Mobile Meals, and for other community organizations thoughout East Tennessee. We serve over 3,000 meals every weekday.

  • Full breakfasts
  • Full lunches
  • Full dinners
  • Prepared meals (chilled or frozen)
  • After-school snacks
  • Shelf-stable boxed meals
  • Catering options, including:
    • Boxed lunches
    • Beverages and hors d’oevres
Our dedicated kitchen and transportation staff can also offer additional services, including:
  • Monthly customized menus
  • Nutritional analysis of meal items
  • Delivery services through CAC Transit

We source food resources from a variety of certified food distributors, including fresh organic produce from CAC Beardsley Community Farm located adjacent to the kitchen property.


Commodity Supplemental Food Program

In three locations across Knox County, 1-2 bags or boxes of shelf stable USDA foods are distributed every other month at no cost to Knox County residents. Recipients should be prepared to provide proof of residency and to self-declare their household income. Call (865) 546-3500 or email to learn more about receiving commodities, our next distribution date, what to do if you cannot make it to a distribution, how to volunteer, or how to become a commodities distribution site. Visit to learn more about the federally funded commodities program.

Empty Stocking Fund

The Empty Stocking Fund is a partnership between Knoxville-Knox County CAC and News Sentinel Charities, where low-income households in East Tennessee apply to receive a holiday food basket each December. Empty Stocking Fund recipients receive over 25 food items, including a 4-pound ham, to provide for Christmas dinner as well as other meals during the holiday season. Applications open mid-November each year.

Visit our partner’s site at to learn about qualifications, how to apply to receive a basket, and how you can volunteer to help. Call the Empty Stocking Fund Hotline at (865) 293-4761 with any questions.

Emergency Food Helpers

Emergency Food Helpers is a coalition of food pantries in Knox County working together to alleviate hunger in the community. Pantries that are members of the Emergency Food Helpers receive an annual distribution of shelf-stable EFSP Emergency Foods. To learn more about the Emergency Food Helpers program, please call (865) 254-5721.

SNAP Outreach Program

The SNAP Outreach Program educates adults over age 60 about how easy it is to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), dispels misconceptions they have about the program, and helps them through the application process. SNAP Outreach can also provide resources about this valuable assistance program: a speaker for your group, someone to staff a table at your health fair or community event, or an advisor to talk at your facility, church, or business.

If you would like assistance with the SNAP application or more information about the program, call the Office on Aging at (865) 524-2786 and ask for the SNAP Coordinator.

Fresh Foods

Beardsley Seed and Plant Distribution

The Beardsley program distributes free seeds and plants to Knoxville and Knox County residents each year. This program is primarily for food-insecure households. Recipients also receive gardening and nutrition information. Program sign-up begins in February and ends when supplies run out.

Beardsley Community Gardens

Many Knox County residents living in public housing communities and apartments do not have access to the land needed to grow their own food. Beardsley Community Gardens provide these residents with the space to grow fresh, healthy produce. CAC maintains over two dozen community gardens, which are located in a variety of places from city parks to public housing communities. Every year, around 150 Knox County residents are registered for garden plots and given some technical assistance as needed.

Fresh Produce Distributions

Beardsley Farm grows and procures produce from local farmers and Second Harvest Food Bank. These fruits, veggies, and eggs are packed at Beardsley and distributed to community groups and organizations to increase access to fresh produce. This bi-weekly service is coordinated by staff and delivered by volunteers. 

To learn more about Fresh Produce Distributions, reach out to (865) 546-8446 or email

Farm to Senior

During peak growing season, Beardsley Community Farm donates over 1,000 lbs of fresh produce to the Mobile Meals Kitchen. Through the help of volunteer groups, that produce is washed, chopped, and prepped for use in their daily meals, which are then delivered to homebound seniors across Knox County who lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Reach out to to volunteer with Farm to Senior.