Grandmother appreciates the help the Johnson City Press Christmas Box has given her family

John Thompson • Updated Dec 9, 2017 at 11:32 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Amy (not her real name) has a lot of love to go around.

She has to.

She is raising her six grandchildren, and also chose to adopt a child who would have been aborted if she had not talked the mother out of it.

When she was just a mom, Amy was very proud of her beautiful daughter, who was diagnosed with a form of autism.

"She was a bit slow and her friends could talk her into doing things," Amy said. Even though Amy tried to instill a sense of responsibility into her vulnerable daughter, it didn't work. Her daughter became a mother at the age of 13. The father was only 12.

"It broke my heart," Amy said.

She was disappointed with her daughter, but the most important thing in Amy's eyes was that she now had a grandchild who weighed 3 pounds at birth and whose parents were still children. She took over all the responsibilities of raising the child.

Unfortunately, the pattern would be repeated again and again. Amy always found room in her heart for one more child. She received help providing things for the children, but she made sure they understood and appreciated those who helped them.

"My grandchildren are very well mannered. Children today don't show a lot of respect, but I have raised my grandchildren to be respectful. I try to raise them with old-fashioned values."

She already was raising several grandchildren when she met another test of how much love she had to give.

One day she agreed to give a young girl a ride to a doctor's office. As they were riding along, Amy learned the girl was not going to the doctor for an ordinary appointment.

"She told me she was pregnant and she was trying to get an abortion. I told her I could not be responsible for taking her to an abortion. I told her if she would show that baby a few months of love and bring it into the world, I would show it 18 years of love and raise it.”

The girl agreed and after the child was born, Amy adopted him.

Amy laughed and said that does cause some arguments among the children.

She has taught all of her grandchildren to refer to her as their grandmother, but her adopted son calls her "mom." She said they have argued often about which is better, a grandmother or a mother.

With so many growing children, some of them becoming teens, Amy appreciates all of the good food that is packed in the Johnson City Press Christmas Box.

"I want Christmas to be very special for them, and the Johnson City Press Christmas Box helps," she said.

At final count, 2,052 children and more than 1,100 households in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties are registered for help from the Angel Tree and Christmas Box this year. In addition to those, several hundred area seniors in low-income senior housing developments in the three counties will also receive food assistance for the holiday from the Christmas Box.

For each household of three to seven people, the Christmas Box provides a large box of more than 40 canned and boxed food items, fresh potatoes and onions, and a festive meat — or all the makings of a holiday meal plus several additional meals for a family. For families of eight or more people, the Christmas Box provides two food boxes.

For seniors who live alone and small households of one or two people, the box provides a $35 grocery shopping gift certificate. And with that, the Christmas Box also provides 600 hams for families in Johnson and Unicoi county who are served by other nonprofit holiday food programs.

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

Contributions to the John- son City Press 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 can be found 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.

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