Angel Tree, Christmas Box in final stretch

Sue Guinn Legg • Dec 10, 2012 at 9:45 PM

With less than 10 days remaining until the Johnson City Salvation Army’s distribution of Angel Tree gifts to 2,707 area children in need, about 120 children from Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties were still available for adoption on Monday.

“They’ve been flying off the trees. By tonight, we expect we will have 110 to 120 (Angel Tree children) left,” Captain Fallyn Garrison said Monday afternoon. “Thirty-four are from the two counties (Washington and Unicoi) and the rest are from Carter County. We’ve moved them all to the (Angel) trees at the mall (at Johnson City) and Walmart in Elizabethton. Those are our busiest trees and they are the only locations where the Angels will be available.”

Gifts for the children are due back at the trees on Thursday and with more than 100 children yet to be adopted, Garrison said the Salvation Army has initiated its appeal for donations of extra toys and clothing to provide gift packages for “forgotten Angels.”

“We have some toys, but our workshop is looking pretty bare right now and we are pushing our need for extra toys and for clothing at this time. But we have faith in the community and faith that they will take care of it,” she said.

Donations of new toys and clothing to provide gift packages for children who are not adopted from the Angel Tree and to supplement the packages of children who receive only toys or only clothing, may be brought to the Angel Tree locations or to the Salvation Army offices at 204 W. Walnut St. The Salvation Army’s greatest clothing need on Monday was for girls and boys’ toddler sizes.

Contributions to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box to provide holiday food boxes to the families of the Angel Tree children and food shopping gift cards for low-income seniors have also been generous during the past week, with more than $7,000 in donations received since Dec. 4.

However, donations for food distribution are now running nearly $10,000 behind where they were at this time last year and because of increases in food prices the cost of the food will be about $20,000 more than in 2011.

“We’re down to just 10 days before the distribution and we’re still running very short,” Christmas Box Chairman Art Powers said.

“In order for us to meet our goal, the community will need to step forward as they have in the past. And we expect the community will be generous as they have always been.”

Gifts for the Christmas Box received in the past week include a donation of more than $1,400 from the Food City “Food for All” drive conducted at the stores’ check-out counters, and a $750 contribution presented by Preston McKee of Morris Baker Funeral Home.

While every gift for the annual food distribution is appreciated, Powers noted that the majority of the Christmas Box contributions continue to come from individual givers.

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

Donations to the Christmas Box are tax deductible and because the newspaper covers all administrative costs,100 percent of every gift is used to purchase food. Donations may be mailed to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box of Northeast Tennessee, P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605. Or, more information about how to help with the project may be obtained by calling Ron Tipton at the Johnson City Press at 929-3111, ext. 302.

Angel Trees decorated with paper ornaments bearing the first names, clothing sizes and gift wishes of local children in need are located outside JC Penney at The Mall at Johnson City and at Walmart in Elizabethton. Unwrapped gifts are due back at the trees on Thursday. For more information on how to help with the Angel Tree or to adopt a group of children to shop for, call the Salvation Army at 926-2101.

To help Good Samaritan Ministries’ provide Christmas gifts for the teenage siblings of the Angel Tree children, call the ministry at 928-1958. Tax deductible donations to the ministry earmarked for “Teens Christmas” may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN, 37605.

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