Working mom doing all she can for children's Christmas

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 16, 2019 at 9:17 PM

A working mom with one child in middle school and another in kindergarten, Danielle, not her real name, cleans houses full time to keep them all afloat.

If her child support payments came as they should, her little household would be self-sufficient. But they do not and they will not because the children’s father is prison.

So Danielle and her kids live in public housing, qualify for a small food stamp benefit and use every dollar she earns to cover their basic expenses.

For the holidays, she is considering a small Christmas loan.

“I’ve done that before and I can feel it coming on,” the 30-something mother said as she waited to register for gifts from the Salvation Army Angel Tree for her youngest and a holiday food box from the Johnson City Press Christmas Box. 

For the first time last year, she said, the sister holiday projects helped her and her children “tremendously.”

“All their clothes fit and their shoes. Everything (needs and Christmas wishes) that I wrote down, they got.”

And then there was holiday food from Christmas Box, a ham and all the makings of a Christmas dinner, which Danielle took to her parents for their larger family gathering. The supply of extra groceries that came with the box stayed at her house and helped her children through the end of December. “It was very helpful. I was impressed,” she said.

While her middle schooler is now too old for the Angel Tree, another ministry will help her with gifts for the 13-year-old this year. She’ll be working. And short of any unforeseen expenses, she may be able to give her a good Christmas without going in debt.

For those who wish to help the many local parents and seniors who struggle for food throughout the year and even more at Christmas, donations to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box are tax deductible, and can be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN, 37605.

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 to the Christmas Box will provide a large food box with all the makings of a Christmas dinner, 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 living alone or small household of one or two people.

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

The Christmas Box food distribution is conducted in partnership with the Johnson City Salvation Army Angel Tree shopping adoption program for children in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties. Angel Tree shopping adoptions will kick off Thursday, Nov. 21, at The Mall at Johnson City and Friday, Nov. 22 at the Elizabethton Walmart. For more information about the Angel Tree, call the Salvation Army at 423-926-2101.