A big crowd was at the entrance to the store, including the Elizabethton High School Choir and members of the school’s student government. There were also several members of the Carter County Car Club, who always adopt more than 80 Carter County Angels.
The choir serenaded the morning Walmart shoppers with Christmas carols. Singers took a cue from the Betsy Band and began marching through the aisles, making a complete circuit of the store as they sang such Christmas favorites as “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “Let it Snow.”
Salvation Army Capt. Michael Cox welcomed everyone and thanked them for the efforts they were making to allow the community’s neediest children to have a Merry Christmas. Cox said there were 1,500 needy individuals in Carter County this holiday season.
That includes those receiving food through the Johnson City Press Christmas Box program and 612 children who will be receiving new toys, clothes and other items through the Angel Tree program.
A few hours after the kickoff in Elizabethton, another kickoff was held at The Mall at Johnson City for Washington and Unicoi counties. There are 2,321 individuals in those counties seeking help from the Johnson City Press Christmas Box and the Angel Tree — 1,180 children in the Washington County/Unicoi County Angel Tree program.
As is the case every year, the Carter County Car Club was the first to shop for children in the Angel Tree Program, taking advantage of Carter County’s early kickoff. Car Club President Ron McCloud said every dollar made by the club during the year goes to local children’s charities. One of the biggest beneficiaries is the Angel Tree program.
This year, the club plans to adopt more than 80 angels. Club members roamed through the store, finding the items on each child’s wish list and filling shopping carts to the brim.
The Salvation Army makes it easy to be a part of the program and make sure that one local child has a memorable Christmas.
It has already received the information on the wants and wishes of each child, and also the child’s age and sizes. All this information is printed on the Angel tags on the Angel trees.
All Angels need to do is select a tag, then have a great time shopping for a child who otherwise might not have anything for Christmas. Once finished with the shopping, Angels should return the unwrapped gifts and the angel tag to the Salvation Army at the Angel Tree, or to Salvation Army at their Johnson City office at 204 W. Walnut St. The Salvation Army will take it from the there and make sure that every gift goes to the right child.