‘ARM’ing Up For A New Era: Fritts assumes role as director of Assistance & Resource Ministries

Published 5:51 pm Monday, July 17, 2017

Even though it is a new title, it is nothing too surprising for Robbie Fritts.
The Carter County native officially shed the title of interim director of Assistance & Resources Ministries (ARM) June 15 and has been hard at work since replacing former director Nikki Jones – who resigned from the facility earlier this year.
“I was on the board with ARM and was approached by a few of the board members about accepting the role as director,” Fritts said Monday during a tour of the facility located at 714 West C Street in Elizabethton. “We’ve had a lot of good directors in the past and Nikki really raised the bar. We want to continue from there and have tried every way possible to make this a seamless transition.”
The new director credited the board, Jones, and assistant director Leonard Carver for the help with the transition.
ARM is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:45 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The facility offers assistance to residents by providing clothing, emergency assistance with bills, baby supplies, Thanksgiving boxes and more.
Fritts is a 10-plus year veteran of the Hampton Fire Department and Carter County Sheriff’s Office. It was during his stint with former sheriff Chris Mathes that he got heavily involved with ARM.
“I got involved when I was with the Sheriff’s Office several years ago,” Fritts said. “Libby Harvey was the director here and Danny Smith used to pick up the food from Second Harvest Food Bank and deliver it to ARM. There were a lot of older residents that were helping so Danny reached out to Sheriff Mathes to see about getting some help. I was able to help with Libby and Danny with the inmate program during that time.”
Fritts, who added the Sheriff’s Office got involved roughly six to eight years ago, went on to thank Dexter Lunceford and his staff for the continual use of inmate volunteers at the facility.
“Without the inmate labor, it would be difficult for us to survive,” Fritts said.
Another key donor for the pantry is Wal-Mart.
“It’s a substantial amount food that Wal-Mart donates,” Fritts said. “We’re blessed with the donation.”
With a surge of momentum, the director alluded to the fact the facility is looking to grow its operation by involving more volunteers and getting more engaged with the community.
“There are people in the community that doesn’t know ARM exists and it has been around for 25 years,” Fritts said. “There are families that can benefit from this service. To me, it’s all about helping people. You see people come in and that smile on their face or their kids’ faces makes it all worthwhile. We’re able to help around 700 to 900 families each month.”
Residents can apply for assistance from ARM by filling out an application.
For more information or learn how to get involved, visit during regular business hours, email armfoodpantry@yahoo.com, call (423) 542-0919 or visit the ARM Food Pantry Facebook page on social media.

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