Fundraising to provide Christmas Box food for about 1,000 Angel Tree families and 600 low-income families has begun, and Angel Tree shopping adoptions will kick off in a just a few weeks at The Mall at Johnson City.
Among the hundreds of Washington and Unicoi county families and seniors who registered for help from the sister holiday projects earlier this month was Louise, a mother of three young children who has been in and out of the hospital several times in the past two months with fluid on her brain.
She had just gotten out of the hospital that morning and was scheduled for her initial appointment with a brain surgeon later in the week. Obviously ill and very weak, she told volunteers at the signup tables she thought she would come and register for gifts for her children that afternoon while she had the chance.
The medicine she was given at the hospital to control her nausea was wearing off and she was sick to her stomach. But she took a few extra minutes to share her story with the Johnson City Press after learning it is reading about the challenges families in our area face during the holidays that encourages community support the Christmas Box and Angel Tree.
Louise and her boyfriend are both food service workers, and it is difficult for them to provide all their children need even when both of them are healthy and working. The work she has missed will make his Christmas even harder, and she said she is grateful her employer is working with her during her illness.
Her children are well aware she is very sick and have not talked about what they would like for Christmas. When asked what the children need, she said clothing. And when asked about their Christmas wishes, she said, “anything.”
“That helps a lot,” she said of the food box they they will receive.
The few minutes Louise spoke were too long for her to ward off her nausea and she became sick in the hallway where she was seated. Volunteers rushed to her with a trash can and brought her wet towels to wash her face, and a soda and crackers to calm her stomach.
Monday and Tuesday’s signup for the Angle Tree and Christmas Box for Carter County families and seniors will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. at the armory at 128 Judge Don Lewis Blvd, Elizabethton.
Applicants should bring a photo ID for the person registering; identification for all children age 12 and under, proof of address, proof of income and proof of expenses such as utility bills or a food stamp letter. More information about the registration may be obtained by calling the Salvation Army at 423-926-2101.
Now in its 38th holiday season, the Christmas Box provides all the makings of a Christmas dinner and several additional family meals for household of three or more people and $30 grocery gift certificates for seniors and small households of one or two people.
The food distribution is made possible entirely by monetary gifts from individuals, churches, businesses and clubs, grocers and food distributors who donate or discount their products for the Christmas Box and assistance from key project partners including Second Harvest Food Bank.
For those who wish to give, the Christmas Box is a 501(c)3 organizations and all donations are tax deductible. Because the Johnson City Press covers all administrative costs for the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to buy food. Donations may be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605.
More information about the Christmas Box can be found at the website or at the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook, or may be obtained by calling Press Staff Writer Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538.