33rd annual Christmas Box drive kicks off

Sue Guinn Legg • Oct 21, 2013 at 7:20 AM

To share the blessing of a Christmas meal with more than 1,900 area families and seniors in need, the Johnson City Press is kicking off its 33rd annual Christmas Box campaign today.

The holiday food distribution will once again be conducted in partnership with the Johnson City Salvation Army’s Angel Tree shopping adoption project for low-income children in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties. Sign-ups for help from the sister projects will begin on Monday.

As it did last year, the Christmas Box will once again provide a large food box including a turkey and a ham to approximately 1,150 low-income families of three or more people, and a $35 grocery shopping gift certificate to more than 750 seniors and households of one or two people. The Christmas Box also will provide hams for an additional 650 households in Unicoi and Johnson counties included in other holiday food distributions.

Because of the community’s generous support of the Christmas Box, this year’s food boxes will include more food than in any previous years, including all the makings of a holiday meal and enough staples for several additional family-size meals.

“I expect it will be another outstanding year,” Art Powers, president of the Christmas Box board of directors, said. “I don’t anticipate it will be anything other than another year that we exceed what we did last year.

“The committee has learned the need will be as great as its ever been and we are sure the community will step forward again so that over 1,900 families can have a wonderful Christmas,” Powers said.

Johnson City Press Publisher Justin Wilcox said, “The Christmas Box program is a much-needed resource to the community. Without our great group of volunteers, we would never be able to accomplish what we do year after year.

“The need keeps growing and fortunately the generosity of the community has as well,” Wilcox said. “We thank the community for its continued support and hope that they can find it in their hearts to help us grow again this year.”

The Salvation Army will register low-income residents of Washington and Unicoi counties in need of Christmas Box food and Angel Tree gifts for their children from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Appalachian Fair in Gray.

Carter County residents in need will be registered between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Oct. 28-29 at the National Guard Armory located at 128 Judge Don Lewis Boulevard, Elizabethton.

Those registering for assistance should bring a photo ID, identification for everyone in their household over age 12, proof of birth dates for all children age 12 and under, proof of home address, such as a utility bill, proof of income, and a food stamp letter if they receive food stamps.

The Salvation Army expects to serve more than 2,700 Angel Tree children in the three counties. The shopping adoption project will kick off at area retail centers in mid-November.

Angel Tree gifts and Christmas Box food will be distributed Dec. 19 at the fairgrounds and Dec. 21 at the armory in Elizabethton.

For those who wish to help, a $35 donation to the Christmas Box will provide all the makings of a holiday meal, a ham and a turkey, 10 pounds of potatoes, three pounds of onions and enough staples for several additional meals for one family, or a grocery shopping gift card for a senior or a household of one or two people.

The Christmas Box is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and all contributions are tax deductible. Because the newspaper covers all administrative costs, all monetary gifts go directly to the purchase of food.

Donations may be mailed to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box of Northeast Tennessee, P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605. For more information about the Christmas Box and how to help, call Ron Tipton at the Johnson City Press at 929-3111, ext. 302.

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