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Chester, Hardeman, Decatur, and Hardin County assistance programs.

There are many churches, charities, and government programs programs that can help low income families. Find everything from rent help to funds to pay utility or water bills (to keep the lights and power on). Or find free food from pantries in Hardin, Chester, Hardeman, and Decatur County. There are other emergency financial assistance programs as well as free resources also all listed below.

Southwest Human Resource Agency is the non-profit community action agency to call for help. The organization runs several emergency assistance and social service programs for the poor and low income.

  • Head Start is one service offered. It provides children with education, medical, dental, and nutritional health so they can get ready for school. Their parents and families can also benefit from social services and referrals to assistance programs in Chester, Hardin and other counties.
  • Save money from the federal government Weatherization Assistance Program. You can apply at the agency. It helps low-income households and the improvements can reduce their energy costs and maybe even upgrade the homes livability standards. Certain income limits need to be met based on government poverty guidelines.
  • Rental assistance and help for the homeless is offered. Some of what may available includes a shelter in Decatur Tennessee and short term transitional housing units. Support and essential services are provided including budget counseling, referrals, and employment assistance. Rent and homeless prevention services are also offered to qualified families facing eviction. Most of the funds come from the Emergency Shelter Grant and Community Development Block Grant.
  • Utility and electric bill help is offered from LIHEAP / Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. A one-time payment or grant is made to those who qualify. The regular component is open for enrollment once per year and the Crisis Assistance is for families in Tennessee facing a shut off. The community action agency accepts and processes applications.
  • Food and groceries are offered by the federal government USDA Commodities. Southwest Human Resource Agency provides government commodities in counties of Chester, Decatur, and Hardin. The agency also have locations of local food banks and pantries that people can turn to for help.




  • Another resource for children is the Summer Food Service Program. This allows students, teenagers and children to receive nutritious meals and snacks when school is not in session. It operates during vacations and the summer months. Read more on summer food program.
  • Other assistance for nutritional needs include congregate meals at senior centers, community centers, and soup kitchens. Senior citizens and the homebound can use the Home Delivered Meals program. Volunteers from the agency bring food and hot meals to eligible persons who are confined to their homes.
  • Employment assistance is offered by the WIA/Workforce Investment Act. This is a government funded training program. Assistance is for the unemployed, job seekers, youth, dislocated workers, foster care participants, veterans, incumbent workers, new entrants to the workforce, persons with disabilities, and seniors. Work with a specialist on finding a job in southwest Tennessee.

Southwest Human Resource Agency is based at 1527 White Avenue, Henderson, Tennessee 38340-0264, and can be reached at the number of (731) 989-5111. Click more details on assistance from Southwest Human Resource Agency.

Salvation Army of SW Tennessee offers rental assistance for the counties of Chester, Decatur, Hardin, and Hardeman. Dial (731) 422-1271. The agency also offers other social services and financial aid, including for food, groceries, and Christmas assistance. Case managers can direct families to thrift stores for clothing and household supplies too.





Western Tennessee Legal Services - Families can apply for emergency rent/utility assistance, food vouchers, and other support. There are also advocacy and referrals to programs for people with HIV/AIDS, including bus passes, case management, transportation reimbursement, and general advocacy/referral. Resources may also pay insurance premiums and certain medical co-pays. Telephone - (731) 423-1330.

Crisis Intervention Programs operate in many towns and counties in Tennessee. The main numbers to call are below. Funds can pay for rent, utilities, and food. The government can provide cash assistance and grants for these basic needs if you are faced with a crisis.

  • Chester County , 269 N Church St, Henderson, Tennessee 38340, dial (731) 989-3879
  • Decatur County CSC, address is 71 W Main St., Decaturville, TN 38329, telephone (731) 852-4151
  • Hardeman County, 602-C Tennessee St., Bolivar, TN 38008, main phone (731) 658-9292
  • Hardin County is supported by an office at 885 Pickwick Rd, Savannah, TN 38372, dial (731) 925-5405 for intake.

Gleaners House supports Chester County. The non-profit may have a small amount of funds for paying utility and cooling bills. 121 N. Washington St, Henderson, Tennessee 38340, call (731) 983-0377.

The Shepherd Fund is for Decatur County. Financial assistance may be provided on a case by case basis for expenses such as utilities. The location may also have food for those in a crisis. The office is at 105 Kentucky S in Parsons, Tennessee. Telephone (731) 847-7471.

Free food pantries in the region

Petra Ministries Food Pantry is a pantry for needy residents of McNairy, Chester, Hardin and Hardeman counties. Canned goods, fruits, meats, baby formula and more may be on site. They are also a partner agency of the Mid-South Food Bank. 393 S 6th St., Selmer, Tennessee 38375, (731) 434-1002

Mt. Hermin Baptist Church of Savannah can refer Hardin County residents to local churches and charities so that they can receive assistance with finding food. Main number is (731) 925-3436.

Pleasant Grove MB Church is for the Hardeman. It also covers parts of Mississippi, including Ashland and Walnut. The church may also have free clothing or other household items for the working poor and low income. The center is at 524 Hwy 57 West, Grand Junction, TN 38039, (901) 687-5500, or get details on free clothing closets.

Halal Food Pantry serves a wide territory. A regular food distribution program is offered by the organization. (901) 789-1904.





Free community health care or dental clinics and low cost medical care

Primecare Medical Center provides the public, including low income and insured, with general medical services at a discounted rate if they do not have insurance. 1 PrimeCare Dr., Selmer, Tennessee 38375, (731) 645-7932

VA Savannah Clinic - The center offers health care and behavioral health services for veterans, including group and individual counseling, nutritional education and smoking cessation programs, prescription processing, and labs for bloodwork. The non-profit clinic provides diabetic eye screening and more. (731) 925-2300.


By Jon McNamara














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