Press kicks off 39th annual Christmas Box drive for Salvation Army Angel Tree families & seniors

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 29, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Now in its 39th year, the Johnson City Press Christmas Box drive to provide holiday food to approximately 1,400 area families and seniors in need is underway.

Conducted in partnership with the Johnson City Salvation Army Angel Tree program for low-income children in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties, the Christmas Box provides all the makings of a holiday dinner and several additional family meals to each of the Angel Tree families and $35 grocery shopping gift certificates to more than 600 low-income seniors in the three counties.

Registration of Washington and Unicoi County residents in need of help from the sister projects will begin Monday at the Salvation Army office at 204 W. Walnut St. and continue through Friday, Oct. 4. Sign-up for Carter County residents will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 22 and 23, at the National Guard Armory in Elizabethton, located just off Highway 91 at 128 Judge Don Lewis Blvd.

Signup hours will be from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at both locations. Applicants should bring:

• A photo ID for the person registering and identification for everyone in the household over age 12;

• Birth certificates and custody documents, if applicable, for all children age 12 and under; and

• Proof of address, proof of income and proof of expenses such as utility bills or a food stamp letter.

The Angel Tree shopping adoption season will get under way in mid-November at area Walmart stores and The Mall at Johnson City. The fundraising drive to meet the approximate $60,000 cost of the Christmas Box food distribution officially opens today and will continue through the December distribution.

Last year, about 2,000 children, more than 700 families and nearly 650 seniors were included in the sister holiday projects. A series of stories anonymously profiling local families and seniors who will be assisted this year and the challenges they face at Christmas will run in conjunction with the Christmas Box drive.

Since its inception, the Christmas Box has been made possible entirely by the contributions of community members, businesses, churches, clubs and other local organizations that lend their support to the holiday food distribution and Christmas Box Board Chairman Tom Harris is happy to see program roll out again this year.

“We’re excited about our upcoming campaign,” Harris said. “We hope to be able to help a lot of people. It’s a joint effort of the whole community that comes together to make it happen and we are pleased that the Johnson City Press is able to play a part in this important effort.”

For those who wish to chip in, donations to the Christmas Box may be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605.

The Christmas Box is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible. And because the Johnson City Press covers all administrative costs for the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to buy food.

A $35 contribution the Christmas Box will provide a large food box with all the makings of a Christmas dinner, including a ham, 10 pounds of potatoes, 3 pounds of onions and more than 40 canned and packaged food items for a family of three or more people, or a $35 Food City gift certificate for a senior or small household of one or two.

More information about the Christmas Box can be found at the website or at the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook, or may be obtained by contacting Senior Reporter Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com or 423-722-0538.

More information about the upcoming registration and this year’s Angel Tree program may be obtained by calling the Salvation Army at 423-926-2101 or on the Johnson City Salvation Army Facebook page.

This story has been revised to correct the dates of the Carter County Angel Tree and Christmas Box registration days.