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Angel Tree, Christmas Box sign-up starts Monday, area high schools kickoff drive to fortify food bank

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Sep 26, 2018 at 9:40 PM

The Johnson City Salvation Army is asking everyone to help spread the news that registration for this year’s Angel Tree and Johnson City Christmas Box distribution is being conducted early this year and in a new location.

Signup for low-income families and seniors in Washington and Unicoi counties will begin Monday and continue through Friday, Oct. 5, at the Salvation Army offices at 204 W. Walnut St. Registration for Carter County families and seniors will be conducted Oct. 22-23 at the National Guard Armory at 128 Judge Don Lewis Road, Elizabethton.

Signup hours hours are 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. at both locations. Applicants must bring a photo ID for the person registering and identification for all children in the household ages 12 and under. Identification can be  a birth certificate, shot record or TennCare card. Proof of address, proof of income and proof of expenses, such as utility bills or a food stamp letter for those who receive food stamps, are also required.

The Johnson City Press Christmas Box board of directors will meet with Salvation Army leaders today to firm up plans for this year’s sister holiday projects and the kickoff of this year’s Christmas Box fundraising campaign.

The Christmas Box provides more than 800 area families in need with all the makings of a traditional Christmas dinner and additional staples to help them through the holiday season, grocery shopping gift certificates to about 600 area seniors, and hams for several hundred additional households served by other holiday food programs. The distribution is made possible by community donations and assistance form other area businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Chief among those helpers is Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, which plays an essential role in not only the Christmas Box project but numerous other holiday food distributions across the region.

To help fortify the food bank for the upcoming holidays, high school students from across the region this week kicked off their 11th annual Student Food Drive for Second Harvest.

Through Oct. 25, students at Providence Academy, Tri-Cities Christian, David Crockett, Unicoi County, Elizabethton, Unaka, Dobyns-Bennett, Sullivan Central, Sullivan East, Sullivan North and Tennessee high schools will be gathering donations of canned and dry goods most needed by the food bank.

Peanut butter, cereal, rice, canned meats, stews and soups, boxed meals, pasta, macaroni and cheese, canned fruit and vegetables, pasta sauce and dried beans and other dry and canned goods will be collected at each participating school.

The food bank will distribute the donated food at no cost to food pantries, churches and other nonprofit organizations that help people across Northeast Tennessee who struggle for food.

According to Second Harvest, the need for food assistance is at an all-time high in the region with approximately 69,000 people in eight-county area relying on a food pantry or soup kitchen.

Last year, the Student Food Drive raised more than 16,000 pounds of food for the food bank. This year’s goal is 20,000 pounds or more

Other high schools that wish to participate in the month long Student Food Drive are encouraged to visit www.netfoodbank.org or call Second Harvest at 423-279-0430 ext. 203 to learn more about the work of the food bank and how they can be a part of it and to receive food drive supplies to take back to their schools.

Donations to the food bank may be made at the website or by mail to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, 1020 Jericho Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663

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, slegg@johnsoncitypress.com or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

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