Knoxville group empties warehouse to help Waverly flood victims, needs help to restock

A handful of East Tennesseans jumping to help Middle Tennesseans.
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville Pays It Forward has given up its last emergency supplies to help families that lost homes and loved ones to a destructive flood in Middle Tennessee over the weekend.

“I would just like to ask that you keep Waverly, and the people here, in your prayers,” Tammy Klein Leonard, a Waverly, Tennessee resident, said.

Leonard and so many others have clinched on to their faith after losing grip of their loved ones and homes. A lot of what’s gone can’t be replaced, but the little things that can are being restored by a handful of East Tennesseans.

Kim Cantrell with Knoxville Pays It Forward is living up to the name by driving 300 miles with enough supplies to fill a moving truck.

“We are volunteers. We step up. We have to help our Tennessee neighbors. That’s our family, too,” Cantrell said. “Babies needed diapers, and food. They had nothing.”

The water, canned food, toiletries they brought in less than a day were originally for people in Knoxville, but Cantrell said there was no time to host a drive. So, their shelves now sit empty.

People from across the region have pitched in to help, including Patrick O’Neil who left Knoxville as soon as he got a call from Red Cross.

“It’s time to payback,” said O’Neil. “It’s stuff that we take for can be gone in a flash.”

He’s been juggling three jobs including helping red cross set up emergency shelters, giving nearly 100 families a safe and warm place to stay.

“We are so so grateful for that,” Leonard said.

‘Knoxville Pays It Forward’ now has to restock its warehouse while still sending donations to a church in Waverly.

You can help by clicking here.

On Tuesday, the East Tennessee Foundation said its donating grant funding to help in relief efforts.

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