Our Story

How it all started...

Even though the Knoxville Dream Center started in 2014, it has its roots in a ministry that started 30 years ago.
In the early 90’s, Maxine Raines launched Lost Sheep Ministry.  Growing up homeless herself, Maxine wanted to give back.  She wanted to see the homeless in Knoxville cared for and find faith in Jesus Christ.

Armed with bologna sandwiches, Maxine served the homeless from the trunk of her car and never looked back!  Eventually finding a “home” under the I40 bridge, Lost Sheep Ministry has served the homeless every Wednesday night for close to 30 years...not missing one Wednesday during this time!
As the homeless gather every Wednesday night, they can always find a hot meal, clothes, medical treatment, blankets, dental services, prayer, and conversation with some of Knoxville’s finest volunteers.

On March 4th, 2020, Maxine Raines passed away.  Even though many people around the city miss Maxine very much, we know that she is not only in a better place, but she left a legacy of love, compassion, and a determination to see the least of these in Knoxville served in a way that would bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ.  The Knoxville Dream Center keep that torch lit everyday.

Expanding the vision...

In 2014, the Knoxville Dream Center is born.  As Maxine approached the age of retirement, she wanted to hand off Lost Sheep to those who loved who she loved, and served who she served.  Enter Park West Church and Pastor Paul Harris.
Pastor Paul Harris, who was running the Benevolent Ministry at Park West, took over the day to day operations of Lost Sheep and saw an opportunity to serve Knoxville’s poor and disenfranchised in deeper and wider ways.  With the expansion of Food Truck and a Title-One School program (Make a Teacher Smile),  KDC still serves those who are homeless, but also looks to offer solutions to prevent it.

Our mission is to offer good food, authentic faith, and opportunities for a brighter future for those who need it most.  

We would love for you to come and check out what we do!  Come volunteer, or book a tour of our facility.  We would love to share more about who we are and perhaps, you may find yourself being a part of the Knoxville Dream Center story!  

What we do and Where we are headed...

The Knoxville Dream Center is always looking for ways to make deeper impacts in the city..  Not only do we offer Food Trucks and Make a Teacher Smile, but we have an after school hot food program called Dream Eats, Fresh Start clothing store, Book Mobile, which is a mobile Reader's Theatre experience., and online surplus store called KDC  Surplus!

The only way we make a difference is through strategic partnerships.  We empower the city-wide body of Christ to reach out to their community.

In 2019, we acquired 'Nehemiah Projects'.  Nehemiah Projects is a ministry that provides home assistance and repair for widows.  In the future, KDC looks to do provide disaster relief.  

With deepening partnerships in the medical community and other faith based organizations in the city, the Knoxville Dream Center is poised to not only answer the growing need of care among Knoxville's most vulnerable, we are positioned to help the wider body of Christ answer Christ's call to reach out and impact the city.

Ideas?  We are always open to see where KDC can "fill in the gaps" of need that are both recognizable and unrecognizable in our city.  If you have an idea, or a ministry opportunity, let us know.

Be a part of our story...