With only eight days until the deadline for Salvation Army Angel Tree gifts to be turned in for distribution to 2,827 children in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties, an estimated 350 of those children remain in need of adoption by charitable Christmas shoppers.
Processing of the Angel Tree packages began Monday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray and Capt. Fallyn Garrison estimated gifts for between 300 and 400 children have been turned in so far.
“There’s a lot more out there but there’s still time,” she said. “They can still adopt and if people still have them out, I encourage them to get them in. The deadline to return gifts to the Angel Trees is Dec. 13.”
With only a few hundred paper Angel Tree ornaments remaining, Garrison said all the children’s ornaments will be consolidated on the Angel Trees at The Mall at Johnson City and the Walmart Super Center in Elizabethton beginning today.
Those who wish to help an Angel Tree child who cannot afford to provide the suggested package of new clothing, shoes, a coat and toys, may donate individual clothing items and toys at either of the Angel Tree locations or at the Salvation Army’s office at 423 W. Walnut St. The Salvation Army will use the individual gifts to provide packages for forgotten Angel Tree children whose gifts are not turned in and to supplement those who do not receive full packages.
Groups who wish to adopt multiple children to shop for may call the Salvation Army at 926-2101.
The American Red Cross is rallying U.S. citizens everywhere to join in its Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign: An annual collection of cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer for active and veteran members of U.S. armed forces and their families, including those who will be far from home and in harm’s way during the holidays.
Michelle Hankes, CEO for the East Tennessee Region of the American Red Cross, said the campaign is an effort to encourage people to “give something that means something” for the holidays. “All you need is a pen and a piece of paper to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military make to protect our freedom,” she said.
Cards may be mailed to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791 for Red Cross delivery to veterans, military families and active duty service members at military installations and hospitals around the world. All submissions postmarked by Friday will be delivered before Christmas.
The program is intended to provide a welcome “touch of home” for the troops but is not meant to foster pen-pal relationships. The Red Cross requests all cards be signed but discourages the inclusion of the senders’ address or phone number. Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through the program. All envelopes will be removed and all cards and contents screened.
For the first time this year, the annual Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign is also welcoming social media messages to the troops, including photos and video, at www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes.
Instagram, Vine and Twitter users may tag their photos or video with the hashtag #HolidayMail for inclusion in the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes blog viewed by service members around the world.
All social media messages will be posted at the Holiday Mail for Heroes page for viewing at any time and for streaming at military hospitals, installations and veterans centers the world over.
Tuco O Tapa Mixed Martial Arts will host its second annual Toys for Tots martial arts festival on Dec. 14 from noon to 4 p.m. at its studio at 604 Rolling Hills Drive.
The festival will include seminars from the area’s best jiu-jitsu, boxing and judo coaches. The cost for admission is a new, unopened toy for donation to the Marines Toys for Tots distribution to needy children across the local region.
For more information about the festival, contact Brenden and Stephanie Bohannon at Tuco O Tapa Mixed Martial Arts at 306-5406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at email@example.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.