The Salvation Army is making an 11th-hour plea for Angel Tree shoppers to bring in their gifts.
With the Angel Tree gifts and Johnson City Press Christmas Box holiday food set for distribution Monday in Elizabethton and Tuesday and Wednesday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray, the agency will be making pick-up runs to the Angel Tree locations three times daily through Saturday.
Of the more than 2,700 children included in this year’s Angel Tree project, volunteers at the distribution sites at the fair and at the former Magic Mart building on West Elk Avenue in Elizabethton are anxiously awaiting gift packages for the final 600 children to be turned in for processing. Lead volunteer Mattie Mullins urged shoppers to drop off their gifts at any Angel Tree location, at the Salvation Army office at 423 W. Walnut St. or at the distribution sites as soon as possible.
For others who wish to help, Mullins said the supply of bicycles for the Angel Tree children is limited this year with no extras to fill special requests made during the distribution. For more information about the project or to help, call the Salvation Army at 926-2101.
Holiday food boxes for the families of each of the Angel Tree children are packed and ready to roll out Monday along with grocery shopping gift cards for hundreds of area seniors also included in this year’s Christmas Box project. For those who wish to help provide the makings of the holiday meal to local households in need, tax-deductible donations to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box of Northeast Tennessee may be made by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605. For more information about the Christmas Box or to help, call Ron Tipton at the Press at 929-3111, ext. 302.
A Johnson City family who lost their home and all their possessions in an August house fire brought in a letter to our editor last week expressing their gratitude to everyone who helped them through the tragedy. “There were so many people, people we don’t even know, who helped us. We want them to know we greatly appreciate all that was done,” David Hutchins said.
In an update on his family’s progress since the fire, David said he and his wife, Ellen, and their children, Andrew and Santana, are still staying with Ellen’s mother and still making plans to start over at the site of their former home near Cherokee School. The lot has been cleared but because they were without insurance, David said they are “far from ready” to purchase the mobile home they plan to place on the site of the frame home they lost.
David, who is recovering from a two-year battle with cancer, is now cancer-free but his illness and treatment have taken a toll on his strength and his earnings. Damage to his back caused by radiation led him to shut down his roofing business, sell his equipment and apply for disability benefits. His hope is to use any disability settlement he receives to put his family back under roof.
Meanwhile, an account set up to help the family after the fire remains open at all area Green Bank locations. Donations to the “David and Ellen Hutchins Account” may also be made by mail to the attention of Wayne Lewis at Green Bank, 2710 S. Roan St., Johnson City, TN 37601-7656.
The Athletics Department at East Tennessee State University will host a five-game ETSU Hoops for Hope halftime benefit for the local Court Appointed Special Advocates program for abused and neglected children beginning Monday at ETSU’s match-up with Milligan. Donations of $10, or $5 for students, will entitle fans to one free halftime shot from the 3-point zone. Everyone who makes the 3-point shot will receive a free halfcourt shot at a $500 cash prize and a chance to take part in a progressive shot challenge for a $25,000 grand prize to be awarded at the fifth and final game in the benefit series Jan. 21. For a $25 donation to CASA made during any of the first four games in the series, fans may automatically enter the $25,000 progressive shot challenge Jan. 21. All proceeds from benefit will go to CASA of Northeast Tennessee to help in the fight against child abuse in the local community.
The Wellness Center is planning a Christmas Eve “Freedom Run” 5K and one-mile dog walk to help the international fight against human trafficking. The road race and dog walk will begin at 8 a.m. Dec. 24 in the Wellness Center parking lot on Med Tech Parkway. Entry fees are $30 for the run and $20 for the dog walk for those who register early or $40 for the run and $30 for the dog walk on the day of the event.
All proceeds will go to Operation Mobilization’s “Freedom Climb” up Mount Kilimanjaro to be held Jan. 11. The 45 women who will make the climb include Holly Harris, a group fitness Instructor at The Wellness Center, and Kimberly Bradley of Gray. The Freedom Climb’s goal is to impact the lives of 10,000 women through micro-loans for education, job training, protection from exploitation and other projects that break the cycles of poverty, slavery and despair.
Freedom Run participants who raise $50 or more for Operation Mobilization will receive a $10 discount on the entry fees. For more information about the benefit, email Holly Harris at email@example.com, call The Wellness Center at 431-6668 or visit www.msha.com/wellnesscenter. For more information about the Freedom Climb, visit www.thefreedomclimb.net.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.