Jobless dad determined kids will have Christmas

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 27, 2013 at 7:34 PM

After bouncing from one temporary work site to another since the Magnavox plant in Greeneville moved overseas nine years ago, what David wants most for Christmas is a job.

His last temporary position at a local greeting card company ended a few weeks ago and the toll of his loss of employment is already beginning to be felt.

Despite his wife’s 48-hour work weeks as an in-home caregiver, her minimum-wage job will not cover the more than $1,200 they pay each month for utilities, groceries, two car payments, hospital bills and a consolidated loan.

If his car is repossessed, that’s fine. The 44-year father of 9-year-old twins, said his children come before the bills and he is determined they will have a Christmas.

For the first time, David’s twins are registered for Christmas gifts from the Salvation Army Angel Tree shoppers and their family will receive help with food for the holiday from the Johnson City Press Christmas Box.

“It’s means the world,” his wife said of the help they will receive from the sister holiday projects.

The $103 in monthly food stamps the family is receiving have not been enough and if not for the monthly food box they are receiving from a Jonesborough church pantry, things would be worse.

The couple have listed their children’s Angel Tree Christmas wishes as a remote control car for their boy and a My Life Outdoorsy Girl for their girl.

If shoppers adopt the children from the Angel Tree and return their gifts on time for the distribution, their chances of receiving those gifts are good.

If not, the Salvation Army will put together supplemental gift packages of clothing and toys for the children.

Either way, David has his eye on a couple of nice gifts for the both of them. His car payment will go begging, he said. And if his car goes with it, he and his wife will be riding together until his next temporary job comes along.

For those who wish to help David’s family and nearly 3,000 others in the Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties who are also facing hardships this Christmas, the Angel Tree shopping adoption project will run through Dec. 13 at The Mall at Johnson City and at all Walmart stores in Johnson City and Elizabethton.

The gifts will be distributed Dec. 19 at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray for Angel Tree children in Washington and Unicoi counties, and Dec. 20 at the National Guard Armory in Elizabethton for Carter County children on the Angel Tree.

For each of the children’s families and hundreds of low-income seniors in the three-county area who likewise struggle to meet the high cost of groceries, there will food for the holiday from the Christmas Box.

Each of the more than 1,700 families of three or more people registered for the holiday projects will receive a 15-pound turkey, a 3-pound canned ham, 10 pounds of potatoes, three pounds of onions and large box containing an estimated 45 canned and box food items — enough for a complete Christmas dinner and several additional meals.

For each of the more than 600 households of one or two people registered, including many area seniors who live alone, there will be a $35 gift certificate to supplement their holiday food shopping.

For those who wish to help, a $35 donation to the Christmas Box will provide the all makings of the Christmas meal and additional staples for a family of three or more people or a $35 grocery shopping gift certificate for a household of one or two. Because the Johnson City Press covers all the cost of holiday food distribution, 100 percent of all donations will be used to purchase food.

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, call Ron Tipton at the Johnson City Press at 929-3111, ext. 302.

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