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Food pantry reopens after founder's death

By Angela Yingling
Published On: Mar 04 2014 03:52:59 PM CST
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

For 20 years Cindy Risk worked to feed and clothe people in need.

She believed it was her job to help others, including Eric Macklin.

"I’ve had rough times in my life where I’ve lived on the streets and she brought me out of that. She helped me a lot with food and clothing, not only that she helped my family too," says Macklin.

Risk died in a car accident in January leaving behind Hunger First, the non-profit she worked so hard to build.

Now, just a few weeks later, he son Michael Gillis is working to carry on her mission.

"It's going to be run the same way she runs it. We’re going to take care of the people the same way that she took care of the people," adds Gillis.

Gillis is working to collect donations and serve others. Tuesday was the first day hot lunches were back.

They’ll be served here three days a week until the group can work back up to five days a week.

“If we all work together we can take care of a lot of people and make a huge difference and that was her way of thinking," adds Gillis.

In addition to a hot meal, there's canned food, clothing, and other items that Gillis says anyone can come get.

There’s no process to go through or paperwork here, the goal is simply to serve others.

"The phrase pay it forward, she thought she could have a ripple effect by what she did, that it would actually reach out to other people to do the same thing," adds Gillis.

Now the same people she helped serve, like Eric Macklin, are now working to help others and pay it forward, something the woman behind this worked so hard to achieve.

Risk's two other children are also pitching in to help her son Michael get their mom's food pantry back open five days a week.