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Number of those needing Christmas box lower, but the need is just as great

John Thompson • Oct 24, 2018 at 6:44 PM

ELIZABETHTON — It may be a sign that the economy is improving and there are a few less people in need. That is the hopeful way of interpreting that there are a few less applications this year for the Johnson City Press Christmas boxes and Salvation Army Angel Trees.

Applications were taken Monday and Tuesday for the Carter County portion of the charitable event and Salvation Army Capt. Laura Cox reported that applications for food only amounted to 131 cases started for the Christmas Box. That involved 245 individuals for food only.

Cox said there were 240 more cases that included the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Those cases involved 590 angels and 1,093 individuals.

“That is a little short from last year,” Cox said in a text. “Washington County was a little down also,”

But those numbers mean there would be more than 1,200 people in Carter County who wouldn’t have any Christmas celebration this season. It means one out of every 50 people in the county are in serious economic hardship.

Those who filed their applications came early to the National Guard Armory, where the applications were accepted. Volunteer workers said there was already a line of about 50 people when the process started at 8 a.m. Monday.

While the numbers may have been down slightly this year, there were many new applicants.

There were many reasons why the families are seeking help. One couple in their 60s gained custody of their grandchildren a few months ago and are sorting out their finances and rusty parenting skills to take care of these needy children.

Another family with five children and stepchildren is working to get back together after the couple separated a few years ago. The dad moved out of state. He is still searching for a job that will allow them to feed, clothe and house his large family.

But for whatever reason a family may be down on its luck, the Christmas Box and the Angel Tree are working to make sure these families do have one bright and happy day in their dark year.

For those who wish to give, the Christmas Box is a 501(c)3 organization 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 purchase 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.

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