Cheryl Oakes Sutton is #MadeForKnoxville.
What started as a hobby has grown into an online community of over 5,000 members and counting. Fueled by her own story and compassion for others, Cheryl works to connect people to the local resources they need.
As a former health department employee, Cheryl became familiar with the needs of many Knoxvillians. She made a habit of noting helpful resources in a red book that was easy to find and accessible to everyone. In the aftermath of her son’s drug overdose, she quit her job to become the primary caretaker of her grandchildren. With limited mobility and two children in tow, Cheryl found herself in need of more support. Knowing she wasn’t alone in this experience, she poured her heart and soul into unearthing little known but much needed resources–not just for herself, but for everyone to access. In 2019, she digitized her database and created The Knox County Red Book of Resources Facebook group. Cheryl invites all local residents to be good neighbors by contributing to this ever-growing resource.
“It takes a village, truly.”
In Their Own Words…
The Knox County Red Book of Resources Facebook group is a labor of love. I spend at least 2 hours a day searching and emailing and looking for any resources the community could use. I started the book when I worked in social services at the health department in 2017.
The big places like 2-1-1, Compassion Coalition, and CAC know about the larger non-profits, organizations, & food pantries but there are so many smaller, lesser known resources available. That’s what I look for and I look for everything I can think of that people might need. You wouldn’t believe how many questions I got looking for help at the health department.
I have info on food pantries, clothes closets, blessing boxes, pregnancy, parenting, addiction & recovery, medical, housing, educational opportunities, vision, dental, HIV/AIDS, youth programs, veterans, seniors, ex-offenders, mentoring, employment assistance, cell phones, LGBTQIA, pet care, transportation, and anything else people might need help finding.
The best way to get the most from the Facebook group would be to utilize the hashtag topics search. There are a lot to browse through.
Please join the Facebook group and share relevant resources for the community.
What led to entrepreneurship:
My son od’d but lived because he got Narcan. I ended up with custody of my 2 granddaughters. I resigned from the health department in order to care for them to my best ability. I needed help & support myself. I knew that I wasn’t the only one looking for available resources. It became my mission to find what was available and to share my finds with the community. I have learned that “It takes a village, truly.”
Interested in sharing your “Made for Knoxville” story? Submit here!