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Single mother raising three children in a pinch

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 4, 2017 at 10:01 PM

If working a full-time job and carrying a full-time student load at college weren’t hard enough, Ali, not her real name, is doing it as single mother with three children under age 12.

As a one-income family, the four of them qualify for food stamps in an amount Ali said “does not even come close” to meeting their need for groceries.

Add to that all the other financial responsibilities of being her family’s sole provider, Ali said, and “it’s hard making ends meet.”

So she said she stretches what they have and they make it by “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” and living most months in “a real pinch.”

This is the second year Ali has registered her children for gifts from the Salvation Army Angel Tree. And she feels relieved to have lined up those gifts and the special holiday food and extra groceries from the Johnson City Press Christmas Box that goes to all Angel Tree families in the Johnson City area.

“I just want to make sure they get a good Christmas,” she said. ”What shopping I will be able to do is going to be slim pickin’s.”

All told, 2,026 children and 1,088 households in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties are registered for help from the Angel Tree and Christmas Box this year. In addition to those, several hundred area seniors in low-income senior housing developments in the three counties will also receive food assistance for the holiday from the Christmas Box.

For each household of three to seven people, the Christmas Box provides a large box of more than 40 canned and boxed food items, fresh potatoes and onions, and a festive meat — or all the makings of a holiday meal plus several additional meals for a family. For families of eight or more people, the Christmas Box provides two food boxes.

For seniors who live alone and small households of one or two people, the box provides a $30 grocery shopping gift certificate. And with that, the Christmas Box also provides 600 hams for families in Johnson and Unicoi county who are served by other nonprofit holiday food programs.

For those who wish to help provide food for Christmas food for each of those households, the Christmas Box is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and contributions are tax deductible. And because the Johnson City Press covers all the administrative costs of the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to purchase food.

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

More information about the Christmas Box can be found at the website and on the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook, or may be obtained by calling Johnson City Press Operations Manager Ron Tipton at 929-3111, ext. 3302.

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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