Knoxville's Immigration Services

Coming to the United States with little-to-no knowledge of how things like renting apartments and finding a job work is tough. But Knoxville is home to several organizations that aim to help people transition to their new lives much easier.

FISH Hospitality Pantry

FISH Hospitality Pantry is a local faith-based nonprofit whose goal is to keep families fed and to foster nonjudgemental communities. They're primarily a food bank, and they rely heavily on volunteers to operate their three pantry locations around Knoxville. They receive food and clothing donations from individuals, churches, and other organizations (their clothes are sold for $1 or less). But another one of the organization's goals is to be a place where people of all races, religions, creeds, backgrounds, and economic statuses can work together to improve their communities. In addition to providing food and clothes for those in need, they also host language and culture exchange classes, where groups can learn English (and other languages) together. They have a language-enrichment class for children who come with their parents to learn English. FISH Pantry also has opportunities specifically for women to learn leadership skills, and how they can help improve their communities.

Northwest Knoxville

122 West Scott Ave., 865-971-4000

Food Pantry Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, and every fourth Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Community Chest Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1508 N. Central St., 865-971-4000

Community Chest Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

East Knoxville

St. Luke's Episcopal Church (600 S. Chestnut St.), 865-522-3474

Food Pantry Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

South Knoxville

Vestal United Methodist Church (115 Ogle St.), 865-577-9600

Food Pantry Hours: Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bridge Refugee Services

"The Bridge" was started by Barbara Mozingo in 1982, who moved to Oak Ridge from Minnesota, where she'd helped many of her Norwegian family members get settled into life in America. She saw a need for simple services for refugees specifically, who have left their home countries for fear of persecution. Today, the Bridge offers case management, which includes help with renting an apartment, basic home furnishing, pick-up from the airport, referrals to various services, refugee and home safety orientation, health screenings, and financial management; pre-employment training, which addresses the benefits of working, realistic job expectations, job search essentials, interview skills and dress, job etiquette, wages and taxes, job safety, and budgeting; and English language training. The Bridge also helps its clients apply for green cards and to become citizens.

7035 Middlebrook Pike, Suite #A, 865-540-1311

Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition is focused on social justice for immigrants and refugees. They work to help organize a coalition of immigrants from all over to encourage civic engagement, promotion of certain legislation, and create welcoming environments for immigrants. They also assist with citizenship applications, legal assistance, and they now help clients applied for deferred actions for childhood arrivals. Its main office is in Nashville, but there are employees here to help. Call (865) 264-0604 for more info.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee's mission to assist the poor and vulnerable people of the area, regardless of their religious affiliation. They provide help for abuse and neglected children and at-risk youth, counseling and education, housing assistance for vulnerable adults, families, and seniors, and immigrant services (which include citizenship applications, work permit application, immigration document replacement, and petitions for family members). The immigrant services office is located at 119 Dameron Ave. Call (865) 971-3550 for more info.