Help families in the holidays

Johnson City Press • Oct 9, 2019 at 5:15 AM

Starting soon and through the holiday season, our staff will be introducing you to several families in need.

We do so each year as part of the Johnson City Press Christmas Box effort that provides holiday food for low-income families and seniors. The Christmas Box is coordinated with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree gift program for children.

The goal of both programs is to make the holidays a bit easier for families who sometimes struggle to make ends meet. Neither could happen without financial support from readers like you.

So we personalize the need.

At this time last year, we helped readers get to know “Teresa,” a mother and grandmother in her 50s who took in the baby of an extended family member coping with drug problems. While her limited income covered her essentials, she would have nothing left for the holidays.

Readers also met “Mary,” a woman in her mid-60s who had always been able to earn enough to pay the bills and provide for her family. But she recently had been awarded custody of three children under the age of 10 because their mother had been sentenced to a long prison term. The children were extremely malnourished and had been sleeping in cars. It took all of Mary’s pension to provide the food, clothes and care they needed.

And there were “James and Kelly,” who were raising two boys. Their lives were upended when medical bills and lost wages from an illness broke the bank.

These are just a few of the families who could use a simple bright spot in the holidays. You’ll meet more in the coming weeks. If it seems as if we are trying to tug at your heartstrings, it’s because we are. Many of us could find ourselves in similar situations — when stability gives way to uncertainty through unexpected circumstances.

We estimate the Christmas Box will need more than $60,000 to cover the costs of food for the thousands of people it serves. The Christmas Box is a 501(c)3 organization, and all donations are tax deductible. Because the Johnson City Press covers all administrative costs for the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to buy food.

A $35 donation will provide a ham, 10 pounds of fresh potatoes, 3 pounds of fresh onions, all the ingredients of a holiday meal and several additional meals for one family; or a $35 grocery shopping gift certificate for a senior living alone or a small household of one or two people.

Contributions may be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to Johnson City Press Christmas Box, P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army’s list of Angel Tree children in need of gifts will be available in mid-November.

Although registration in both programs for families in Washington and Unicoi counties ended last week, eligible Carter County families still have a chance to sign up. Registration will take place Tuesday, Oct. 22, and Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the National Guard Armory in Elizabethton.

Please do what you can for these families. Even giving to just one child or donating the funds for one food box will make a difference.

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