Warren, Van Buren, Cannon, Overton, Cumberland, Fentress and nearby assistance programs.

Get help from a charity, including free food or housing assistance, as well as assistance from churches and the government in Cumberland as well as Warren County and all surrounding counties. There are other financial aid programs in Cumberland County, ranging from free medical or dental care to cash aid, money to pay rent, transportation, and more.

This region of Tennessee can sometimes be referred to as the Upper Cumberland region. Several counties are considered to be part of the area, and a number of charities, non-profits, and assistance programs operate in the community.

Maybe the leading non-profit to call for help is the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency. They work with the low income and people facing poverty, and try to offer both short term assistance as well as programs to address the root causes of poverty.

  • Utility assistance is offered from Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as well as Weatherization. LIHEAP is a cash grant/payment program. As funding allows, it can pay out a once per year payment for energy and utility bills. Usually a few hundred dollars may be paid out. Low and moderate income households in Cumberland, Warren and neighboring Tennessee counties can apply. Aid is prioritized for households having elderly and/or disabled members and those with children under the age of 3. The Tennessee Department of Human Services and the federal government fund the program.




  • Save money from Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This can provide conservation to low income, including basic insulation, CFL bulbs, and similar updates.
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids Program, or HOPWA, offers financial assistance to persons affected by AIDs or HIV. Receive short-term mortgage, rent, and utility bill assistance. Additional services that may be offered include providing information and referral to local non-profits, and assisting with budgeting best practices.
  • The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency is a great place to call for Information and Referral. Experienced and highly trained staff provides residents with updated information regarding services available to them including assessing the person’s problems and capacities, linking persons to the proper assistance programs, and try to help ensure people receive the help they need.





  • Comprehensive Emergency Assistance is a federal government program for the low income, and can provide homeless prevention assistance, free emergency food, shelter, energy, and prescribed medications. Click here for more on prescription programs.
  • Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program provides surplus government foods to low-income and senior households in Dekalb County and the Cumberland region.
  • Home Delivered Meals may be available for persons age 60+ and/or the immediate family member or spouse of someone 60+. This can include a free noon-time meal.
  • The Caregiver Meals Program can help people who are considered caregivers of a senior 60 years of age or older. Grandparents or other senior relatives who are primary caregivers of children in counties including, but not limited to Pickett and Overton may get support too.
  • Transportation is offered from the Job Access Program. Low income families and individuals who do not have any other means of transportation may be able to get help. The applicant needs to use the service in order to get to and from their place of employment.
  • Head Start Program is run by Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency. Among other things, it will help prepare children for kindergarten. Children enrolled in Head Start will receive screenings from health professionals across Tennessee, including free dental exams and eye /hearing screenings. Children enjoy a free, healthy nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack prepared fresh daily on-site.
  • Mental health, checkups and other services are available for children and families of Head Start.
  • Parents can benefit too. Head Start offers families and the child’s parent access to services such as training classes on many subjects from parenting skills to learning about nutrition, utilizing community resources. Head Start also offers qualified Tennessee families help with getting their GED.

Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, 580 South Jefferson Avenue, Suite B, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501, dial (931) 528-1127

Cannon County EMA Food and Shelter Program - Provides emergency food, meals and shelter for Cannon County residents, houses families that have suffered losses due to fire and natural disasters. Limited financial assistance for paying utilities and rent in emergency situations available on a one-time basis. Call the Liberty TN agency at (615) 563-2026.

Salvation Army Social Services is available in the Upper Cumberland region. May be able to help with electric bill assistance, prescription medicine, and other emergency services. Distributes EFSP funds for Warren, Van Buren, and Cannon Counties as well as other regions. It also operates a food voucher program, furniture, clothing closet and gives emergency food from pantry. Have to have a cut off notice for electric bill assistance. Call 305-6200, or learn more.

East Sparta Church of God - Provides financial assistance to be used to pay for utilities and energy bills for those in need in White County. 515 E Bockman Way, Sparta, TN 38583, call (931) 837-3356




Good Samaritan of Crossville – Both rent and utility bill assistance may be offered for Cumberland County families. 281 10th St, Crossville, Tennessee 38555, telephone (931) 484-3225

BVH, or Buffalo Housing, offers support to people facing eviction as well as families looking for affordable homes to live in. Case managers can direct families to programs for paying security deposits as well as back rent. They also offer support for the disabled from section 202 and will work with other tenants to find additional forms of assistance. Click more information.

Food assistance programs and pantries

Westwood Church of Christ – Provides free food and grocery boxes provided to individuals in need in Warren County. Call (931) 473-8434. Or read more food banks and the services offered at many pantries.

Warren County Food Bank
201 Locust St, # 16
Mc Minnville, TN 37110
(931) 473-6652

Lending House - Provides a food pantry for Van Buren County residents, including Christmas, Thanksgiving and holiday meals and baskets. (423) 881-5182

Lighthouse In-Home Ministry – Free or low cost food is available for DeKalb County residents in need. 7292 McMinnville Hwy, Smithville, Tennessee 37166, phone number is (615) 597-6635

West Sparta Church of Christ is a food pantry for people in White County Tennessee. Address is Sparta, TN, dial (931) 836-3790

East Sparta Church of God – Covers White and Fentress County. Phone (931) 837-3356

Bread of Life Homeless Shelter and Clinic – Anyone who needs help can get food from this Crossville Tennessee center. Dial (931) 707-0503

Good Samaritan of Livingston - Food Pantry
116 N. Spring St.
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
(931) 823-6445

First Christian Church Overton – Emergency food boxes and meals for Overton County residents. Main number is (931) 823-2413

Byrdstown Family Resource Center supports Pickett County low income families and seniors. Call (931) 864-6940





Church of the Harvest - Provides a free or low cost food pantry to individuals and families in need in Fentress County on Thursdays 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. May only use the pantry once per month. 5212 S York Hwy, Grimsley, Tennessee 38565, phone (931) 863-4663

Fentress County Food Bank, which operates from Fentress County Fairgrounds in Jamestown, TN. Will have groceries and perishable items for people who only receive food stamps.

DeKalb County food banks - There are a few centers to turn to. They are located at churches or families living in poverty can apply for social services. Locate information on everything from free Christmas meals to where to get a box of groceries from. Read more.

Clinics and health care centers

Bread of Life Homeless Shelter and Medical Clinic - Doctors and nurse operate from this location and provide free medical and dental care. They are usually available on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm for area residents who do not have any form of health or dental insurance. 281 W Fourth St., Crossville, Tennessee 38555, call (931) 707-0503

The Community Clinic Livingston – Offers basic family medical practice needs such as women's health, pediatrics, and geriatrics, for Overton County low income qualified residents. Call (931) 823-5861 for intake.


By Jon McNamara

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