Hunger First to reopen following director's passing

Hunger First to reopen

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The region lost a warrior for the poor on January 24 when Cindy Risk died in an automobile crash. She was the heart and soul behind Kingsport's Hunger First, which helps feed, clothe, and provide for the needy.

Since her death, the question has been what would become of the non-profit agency.

Cindy Risk dedicated her life to helping others through her non-profit group called Hunger First in Kingsport.

On this day we find her son, Michael Gillis, following in his mother's footsteps, filling bags of food for those in need. Despite the funeral flowers still hanging in the window and the 'closed' sign, the need is still there and that's what motivated his mother. "I think it was she just got tired. She got tired of people of seeing people [in need] and hearing about people doing without. She was all about self-sacrifice. She put everybody else before herself," Michael said.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as her son fills another food bag for someone in need, and they remember her fondly. "She was so kind to me, she never said no. You could come down here and she would help you with your clothing, give you free food to take home, and she fed me for about three years. She was so kind," client Austin Crawford said.

Hunger First has been closed since her passing, leaving a void in the fight to provide for those in need.

So what's to become of the agency? "Mom's point was always open arms, a smile, greeting whoever came through those front doors. I'll be honest with you, I willingly take on that responsibility," her son said confidently.

In fact, it appears like he already has. Hunger First should be open for business again in about a week as they reorganize and get themselves ready to do the mission of helping the needy.

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