History of the Morristown Hamblen Central Services
The history of the first agency to provide assistance to the needy in Hamblen County began in the 1930’s as an effort to organize local businesses and churches to meet the needs of a family whose home had been destroyed by fire during the holiday season.
As a result of this effort, a volunteer agency known as Federal Emergency Relief-Tennessee Commodities and Welfare emerged to assist needy families with food and other necessities.
By the early 1950’s, the organization was given the name Central Charities, employing a bookkeeper and an outreach worker and operating on a $900 monthly budget, financed in part by the new United Fund Campaign. In the late 1960’s, several other independent services were brought in under Central Charities’ umbrella and on October 1, 1969, the agency was chartered by the State of Tennessee, changing its name to Morristown Hamblen Central Service, Inc.
Prior to this, the organization’s efforts had been conducted without the benefit of an office, but in this same year, the county offered space in the basement of the courthouse for a desk, and the food pantry found a home at the Rose Center.
This arrangement served the agency until 1985 when the office was moved to a small house across the street from the courthouse. The agency outgrew the space and in 1990, it was able to unify all of the services at one location at 314 North Cumberland Street.
In 2007, Central Services moved to a 44,000 square foot building with five acres of land that offers even more potential growth.
The agency has evolved over the years, adding new programs as the face of poverty continues to change in Hamblen County. The agency currently administers over 20 different programs. With the constant support of the community, a volunteer effort to help a needy family 70 years ago has expanded into an agency that provides vital emergency assistance to thousands of families each year.