KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — More than 230,000 East Tennesseans are at risk of hunger. Many of them are the state’s youngest and most vulnerable. A local credit union is helping put food on the table of homes across the area. 

When you think of a financial institution you think of checkings and savings, but for the workers at Y-12 Federal Credit Union, they are also known for writing a check that puts food on the table of those in need.  

“We are impacting child hunger every day. This year was our biggest grant cycle to date. We just gave out a little over $534,000,” said Alicia Strange, executive director of Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation. 

Hundreds and thousands of dollars are gifted to local charities through the Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation to fill the gap of food insecurity.

“And so, we have partners, I will use Second Harvest for example. They reach the end user. They are giving food and putting food on plates. We are the conduit between that, that supplies grant money,” Strange said.

33 local groups were cut a check this grant cycle alone to bring food to children. The Gives Foundation says one in four children in East Tennessee is at risk of hunger.

“So, as you know, food is the bedrock of our needs. You wake up, you’re hungry and affects your whole day. Well, imagine being hungry day after day. You’ve got school or you’ve got work, extracurricular activities. So, we decided kids are our future, and this is the fundamental need,” Strange said.

Since 2017, The Gives Foundation has awarded $1.2 million in grants.

“You see their faces … I’ve got to meet some of the children that we impact and to see those faces and to know that there’s a meal coming, it changes you way down deep,” Strange said.

That’s more than 138 local organizations that were able to set the table for our area children.

To support the Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation’s efforts such as their upcoming golf tournament in October, check out their special events page,