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Volunteers find joy in helping low-income seniors

Gary B. Gray • Updated Dec 6, 2016 at 3:47 PM

Beeson Hall was abuzz Tuesday with volunteers unpacking and sorting food and household needs that will be delivered to the doors of 210 low-income seniors just before Christmas.

The Johnson City Senior Center Foundation’s annual Christmas Box Program brought together dozens of city workers, firefighters and others, who happily chatted it up while organizing the goods.

Long tables were stretched across the former boxing gymnasium and stacked with soups, vegetables, peanut butter, oats, tuna, stew, water, cereal and many more consumables to be delivered Dec. 15. Recipients also will get aluminum foil, toilet and facial tissue, dish soap and other daily needs.

“They’ve been doing this for about 25 years,” said Rebecca Hennessee, Christmas Box Program chair. “We work with the federal National Council on Aging. They screen the people that will be receiving the boxes, and they all are low-income seniors in our area. The volunteers come from all over the community.”

Hennessee said volunteers will be assigned routes in an effort not to duplicate services. They will use their own vehicles and receive no compensation. Volunteers will line up Dec. 15, receive their allotments, deliver the packages and return for more.

“I’m a member of Central Baptist Church, and we do this every year,” said Christine LeBron. “I think they (recipients) are absolutely appreciative of this. They know it’s coming from somebody’s heart. I’ve never been on that end of it, and it certainly feels good to be able to give.”

The Johnson City Senior Center Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit. It also is involved in providing bus services and programming to seniors through donations and sponsorships.

Johnson City’s Senior Services division is home to Tennessee first nationally accredited Senior Center. The center serves as a resource for information on aging, training, professional leadership, volunteer leadership and development of new approaches to programs for the aging population.

To contact Senior Services, call 434-6237 or visit www.johnsoncitytn.com/seniors.

Email Gary Gray at ggray@johnsoncitypress.com. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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