Angel Tree and Christmas Box drives enter the final stretch

Sue Guinn Legg • Dec 5, 2017 at 9:44 PM

One week out from their distribution, the Salvation Army Angel Tree and Johnson City Press Christmas Box are making their final push to provide Christmas gifts for more than 2,000 children in need and holiday food for approximately 1,100 low-income households in Carter, Unicoi and Washington counties.

At lunchtime on Wednesday, the Salvation Army reported that all but a few of 2,052 children included in the Angel Tree project had been adopted by area shoppers and gifts for nearly 900 children had been turned in for next week’s distribution.

Of the 1,159 of the children whose gifts had not yet been turned in, Salvation Army Capt. Laura Cox emphasized the deadline to return to the gifts to the Angel Tree locations or to the Salvation Army office at 204 W. Walnut St. is 6 p.m. Friday.

The Salvation Army will conduct its final count following the Friday evening deadline and begin shopping for a still unknown number of “forgotten angels” on Saturday, Cox said.

She said the Salvation Army is still hopeful all of the children’s gifts will be turned in Friday and expressed particular appreciation to 17 area businesses and organizations that adopted the Angel Tree children in blocks ranging from 20 to more than 100.

Should the drive fall short for any of the children, Cox said donations to help the Salvation Army fill gift boxes for those who are forgotten will be most efficient way to help beginning this weekend.

Monetary contributions to help the shop for any forgotten children and donations of new toys and clothing, particularly for older children age 10 to 12, may be dropped off at Angel Tree locations through Friday evening and other times at the Salvation Army office on West Walnut.

“We appreciate everyone who has helped us this holiday season. Whether they made a contribution or donated their time to help us, we could not do it without them,” Cox said.

She asked that volunteers who wish to help in the distribution — set fort Dec. 13 for Carter County families and Dec. 15 for families in Washington and Unicoi counties — call the Salvation Army for details at 423-926-2101.

With the Angel Tree gift distribution, food boxes and $35 grocery shopping gift certificates provided by the Johnson City Press Christmas Box for each of the Angel Tree children’s families and several hundred area seniors in need are also set to go out on Dec. 13 and 15.

Each household of three to seven people, will receive a large box of 45 canned and dry food items, with 10 pounds of fresh potatoes, three pounds of fresh onions, and an 11-pound ham, or all the makings of a holiday meal plus several additional meals for a family. Families of eight or more people will receive two food boxes and seniors who live alone and small households of one or two people, will receive a $35 grocery shopping gift certificate.

Fundraising to cover the cost of the food distribution is progressing with generous support from the community and will continue into the new year in an attempt to meet the estimated cost of the food distribution that last year exceeded $56,000.

Gifts received so far large include cardboard boxes printed with the Christmas Box logo and donated by International Paper Co. of Elizabethton and two large cans of yams for each of the food boxes donated by local food processing company Moody Dunbar.

Monetary gifts for the Christmas Box so far include an $8,000 grant from Speedway Children’s Charities, a $1,000 donation from Food City’s annual Race Against Hunger campaign, a $1,000 gift from First Tennessee Bank, nearly $900 from First Baptist Church of Elizabethton and nearly $600 from the local Kiwanis Club.

Individual contributions to the box, which make up the largest percentage of the funds raised annually for the Christmas Box, have also been very generous and put the total raised at more than half of the project’s anticipated cost.

For those who wish to help, the Christmas Box is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and contributions are tax deductible. The Johnson City Press covers all the administrative costs of the project so that 100 percent of all donations are used to purchase food.

Contributions to the Christmas Box may be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605. More information about the Christmas Box is available at the website and on the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook, or may be obtained by calling Johnson City Press Operations Manager Ron Tipton at 929-3111, ext. 3302.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook atfacebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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