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Angel Tree shoppers needed as holiday distribution nears; Youth Villages searching for Holiday Heroes

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Nov 29, 2017 at 9:26 PM

The Salvation Army Angel Tree shopping season is entering its final week with about 400 of the 2,052 children registered for help from Johnson City area shoppers still in need.

Paper ornaments with the first name, age and Christmas needs and wishes of each child are available at Angel Trees located at The Mall at Johnson City, Walmart stores in Johnson City and Elizabethton and Barberitos Southwestern Grille.

Gifts for the children are due back at tree by Friday, Dec. 8, and scheduled for distribution in Carter County on Dec. 13 and in Washington and Unicoi counties on Dec.15.

Salvation Army Capt. Laura Cox said at the pace they are being adopted, all of the Angel Tree children are expected to be matched with shoppers by Monday. The challenge will then become getting their gifts returned and processed in time for the distribution, she said.

So far only a few hundred Angel Tree packages have been returned. Cox said the Salvation Army is already preparing to make up the difference for children whose gifts will not be turned in and those that come in too light and in need of supplemental clothing, shoes and toys.

“What we’re asking (shoppers) is to meet their needs (for clothing) before their their wishes (for toys). Anything they can do beyond that is great. And if they can’t do that, any extra clothing, shoes or toys they can give will help us fill out their boxes.”

Donations may be dropped off at the Angel Trees or at the Salvation Army offices at 204 W. Walnut St.

The Salvation Army is also in the midst of its largest fundraising drive of the year — the bell-ringing Red Kettle campaign that provides the lion’s share of support for year-round operation of its emergency shelters and kitchens.

Volunteers who would like to help ring the bells at Red Kettle stations set up at shopping centers across the Tri-Cities may select the location and time slot of their choice online at RegisterToRing.com or by calling the Salvation Army at 423-926-2101.

Like the Angel Tree, the nonprofit Youth Villages organization is on a quest to find “Holiday Heroes” for more than 100 children in the Johnson City area who are in special need of help at Christmas.

The Holiday Heroes program helps meet the needs of children served by Youth Villages who have experienced trauma or have a history of emotional or behavioral health issues.

Those who wish to be a Holiday Hero for a local child or children in special need — individuals, families, businesses, church groups or entire congregations — may request their Christmas wish lists or make a donation to Holiday Heroes online by selecting “East Tennessee” at www.youthvillages.org/holidayheroes or by visiting the Youth Villages Johnson City office at 3915 Bristol Highway, Suite 101.

While a $100 donation will cover a child’s complete holiday wish list, Youth Villages is thankful for any amount donated. Gifts to the program must be received by Dec. 15.

More information about the Youth Villages and Holiday Heroes may be obtained by calling Betsy Lambert at 423-283-6509 or by email to Elizabeth.lambert@youthvillages.org.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538 or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

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

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